Monday, December 30, 2013

New Years Resolutions

I'm usually anti-resolution, thinking that no one ever keeps them.  But looking back, I've been reasonably successful with my resolutions over the last few years.  Lose some poundage, get more organized, do a long course tri... All check.  Which makes me think that maybe I have been setting my sights too low. 

For Christmas, M got me a new Road ID- the Slim, for which he also got me the 70.3 badge.  So I've proven to myself that I can survive stuff like this.  Maybe it's the year to step it up. 

Matt Frazier, of No Meat Athlete, has written about having a goal that seems unattainable. It motivates you, he says, especially if you tell the world.  Well, then, world... I have a few things I'd like to work on this year.  

1) strengthen my core.  This is easily my weakest area and it shows. When I'm working my core, I notice my run form is stronger and I'm faster on the bike.  So I want to get strong enough to hold a two minute full plank by next December.  

2) run a half-marathon.  And not amble it or survive it. I'm experienced enough by now to know that I can survive these things. It's time to try running it. An actual run.  This means run training.  

3) pay down debt.  We have done pretty awesome with staying on track and afloat with stuff despite some pretty challenging circumstances (blown up car engine, layoff, internship, separation, car crash and total, new car, and moving across the country to reunite...).  This year, I want us to regain our stability.  My normal goal will be 3,000 in savings and a 50% reduction in my highest interest debt.  My stretch goal will be that, plus paying off the high interest debt, paying off our (new, replacement) car, and ending the year with enough money for a vacation-vacation.  

4) RIde my bike! My BMC will get some aerobars and I plan to put my Oregon-strong legs to good use.  I would like to do a century or two, The Nation's Tri, the Richmond 70.3, and maybe one more if I can fit it in.  I think it would also be fun to take the W&OD to the C&O canal and ride out to Harpers Ferry some nice spring day. The MTB and Hybride Tank need some bike love, right?  

Those are my big four.  I also have to do normal moving things like finding a new spiritual director and doctors and vets.  And getting the damn car registered.  Those little errands are such a pain! 

I am exploring a few apps to track my resolutions (things like Lift and Everest), but I think I might go with a paper training journal.  I made one for last summer and it was really motivating for me to physically write stuff down.  I also felt better about reorganizing workouts when I could look back and the week and realize that if I didn't get all three bike rides done, that I might have gotten an extra swim done and I did more mileage overall than my goal.  It kept me honest and less anxious. Sadly, that masterpiece got lost in the move.  So I think I'll be making a trip to the bookstore soon, or just Amazon shopping!  

I think I'll also add a 5)... Work on my writing! I think I might be making this blog a little more public since it's so helpful to connect with other triathletes and to hear their stories.  And because I have a secret project that is in the works and I am going to make myself a deadline to submit the first phase by February!  

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Exciting Cooking News for Slacker Triathletes

Oh, how I need a race to prepare for!  We think we are going to try and get into the DC Rock and Roll Marathon and Half Marathon, but I have not signed up yet.  I was waffling for a while on Marathon v Half, and while I think I COULD complete a marathon, I don't think I would complete it happy.  I want to have a happy race.  So I think we will try for the half.  

So in exciting news…

A few weeks ago, got our Vitamix!  When I left St. Mary's, they gave me a very generous going away gift, and part of it took form as a Vitamix.  It is red.  We have been wanting one for a long time, so we are very excited.  The smoothies. The soups. The almond milk!

We noticed right away how ultra-smooth it makes our almonds as it pulverizes them.  Almond milk used to be an overnight event of soaking, several minutes of blending, and then straining.  With the Vitamix, all we do is throw in the almonds and dates and blend away. We don't even strain out the meal anymore.  I used to think how odd it was when raw food it's would drink the almond meal, but the Vitamix makes it so smooth and creamy it really is drinkable.  It is awesome in granola.  

We've also made a number of soups and smoothies. Everything comes out super creamy. I made a hummus that used only about 1 tablespoon of oil (and some water), but which turned out as creamy as store bought.  Just today, I made my very skeptical father his first green smoothie.  The family had bee teasing him that he'd spend his weekend trip drinking green smoothies and eating tofu. There was no tofu served, but he did have three helpings of the green smoothie. (Collard, parsley, banana, green apple, and a small dollop of local honey.). 

All in all, we really like that Vitamix so far! It's been so cool for our nutritional goals.  

Friday, December 13, 2013

Interesting Settling In Note

Yesterday, on my way home from work, I stopped at Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get a humidifier.  Our new apartment is a flat, instead of a townhouse.  I'm a little giddy with all the space.  Who knew that   staircases took up that much space?  (The cats have been much more active, too.  I guess they like the floor space for wrestling!)

On the other, very dry, shriveled up hand,

The heating is EXTREMELY effective.  The room we chose for our bedroom is the warmest room of the apartment.  It means that every morning, we were waking up feeling like jerky!  Hence, the humidifier.

As I walked through the store, I also bought jewelry cleaner.

As I cleaned today, I was really surprised.  I had cleaned my Pandora bracelet in Oregon several times, but I had not cleaned many other pieces.  I just hadn't worn them.  As a result, there were layers of tarnish that came off.  I was shocked at how light most of my silver really was.  And I started to wonder…

Why did I have these pretty things, and not wear them?  Was I too busy riding bikes?  (A real possibility, as many days, I went biking right after work).  Was I just too busy, overall?  I remember many days feeling almost too tired to even brush my teeth.  (I always rallied for that, though.)  Was I maybe a wee bit depressed during the long months of separation?  Without M to dress up for and go out with, maybe I fell into a comfort zone with friends of warm and cute, but not sparkly.

It's interesting to contemplate.  What is it about Virginia that brings out the sparkle? I've always said I'm not the sort of girl who NEEDS a significant other.  But I am rather attached to the guy, and I enjoy his company.  I'm feeling a sense of relaxation and easing of anxiety that I haven't felt for so long, I'd forgotten how keyed up I had felt for so long.

I'm enjoying having sparkly things again.

I also wonder about the home-of-the-soul question.  I'd always known that CT was not my home, even though I grew up there.  Every time I've left, for travel, for school, for good, I've never felt that I was missing out on something.  I don't mind going back to see people, but if my family didn't live there, I'd probably not make excuses to visit CT.  I have never once dreamed about CT.

When we lived away from VA, we did make excuses to visit VA.  Triathlons.  Visits to the Seminary.  Visits to friends.  Visits to Maryland family (and of course, we'd stay in Virginia).  Virginia showed up in my dreams at night.  Every week that I didn't live here, I felt like I was missing out on something.

I loved Oregon from the moment I set foot there.  But I never stopped reading the Washington Post and I always felt like VA was "home home".  I did always feel like I was missing out on stuff when friends cheered "Nat-i-tude!" or went to events on the Mall.

But now…
I'm wondering when I can make an excuse to go visit Oregon.  Oregon has made friendly visits in my dreams at night.  And I feel like I'm missing out when friends post about going to see the Portland Gay Men's Chorus or to Powells or to dinner at the Lab.

It's odd.

I'm comfortable, and I'm happy here.  I love DC and I love being able to jump on a bus or take the train home.  I am doing things that make me feel like myself that I haven't done in a long, long time.  Like cleaning my silver jewelry and wearing cool shoes and making sure my bag doesn't clash.  But I'm also surrounded by chain stores- I could walk to the Cheesecake Factory, but I haven't yet found the funky neighborhood pub with the microbrews or the small restaurant with the affordable happy hour.

I miss the giant trees and the silence, even as I love the energy of the city and the sparkle of other apartment lights.  I miss knowing that I could go run up to Spencer Butte if I want to feel like I've left the world behind, even as I love grabbing the WaPo on Sundays and being able to go see the art exhibits listed that very day if I want to.  

[It is possible that we are just living SMACK IN THE MIDDLE of the most commercial of all the white bread commercial districts within the Beltway, and…I'm not really a white bread sort of girl!]

And yet... deep down inside, a tiny little gremlin in my soul is wearing handmade shoes, wearing a vest and a scarf, and ordering a second historical drink for $6 from the newest cool pub.  Even though I had to drive there, and the dark nights of winter start at 4PM and the sun doesn't dawn until after 7.  That gremlin still loves the giant pines.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding the Gym and Maybe Creating A Pain Cave

I've never really liked the idea of "The Pain Cave".  Unlike most of the sensible universe, I really don't mind my trainer all that much.  (A trainer is a tripod sort of thing that you lock your back wheel into).  It helps me keep my fitness up over the winter, and has been invaluable for things like single-leg drills.  Plus, I don't feel guilty about catching up on TV.

Disclaimer, however: if you have the flu, or food poisoning, or a bacterial infection, and the doctor (i.e., a person with a medical degree and a lab coat to whom you give money in exchange for that person caring for your health) tells you to rest, moving the trainer to in front of the TV is NOT the same as resting.  What the doctor means by "rest" is "lie down on the couch".  Public service announcement, folks. 

So we have two much larger bedrooms here than we had in Oregon, meaning I have multiple options for where I could set up my trainer.  I do have access to a fitness room with dreadmills, ellipticals, and weight machines.  We have gone down a number of times so far.

But overall, I really enjoy the work of Barre3 which suits my body type, and the humming sound of my trainer.  So I think I will be setting up a room here that'll serve as a study/trainer room.  (Bonus: you can't skip your workout when you don't even have to go outside!)  Whether it's an all-the-time set up like the Holy Roller was last year, or an ad hoc thing remains to be seen.

In other news, settling is happening.  Everything is unpacked and we are slowly organizing things.  I just did the study this morning, meaning I am writing this from the comfort of my desk while the computer sings me songs via the computer speakers.  Functional space, hello there.

We have started cooking again.  Our kitchen is smaller than before, and we lost mostly counter space, meaning we are negotiating how one cooks efficiently in such a small space.  However, we did discover an Asian Market nearby and M is enthralled with it.  So far, in addition to a number of slow cooker and stovetop soups and granolas, we are also eating exotic greens salads like chrysanthemum and marinating chayote and boiling fuzzy melon.  I made the black garbanzo bean hummus.  So it's all getting there.  It definitely feels good to have veggies on hand.  Although- after a few months of chaos, I find my body is screaming for cheap carbs like the bread and bagels and stuff I grabbed while on the go.  It's a challenge to re-train my body for the veggies!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Manchester road race report

This'll be a quickie.  Since my last post, we did the Trees for Tilori race which was a HuGe success, and I definitely plan one final blog about that. But the day right after the race, I had a whirlwind final day at St. Mary's and then hopped in the car for a five day drive across the country in a VW Beetle with a husband and two cats.  It was a little chaotic! The cats did not handle it well this time.  They are much happier to not be driving anywhere.  

We have been unpacking boxes in our new place and I'm busy crying over how to fit all our books in. What I really need is floor to ceiling bookcases on an entire wall.  

Anyway, on Thanksgiving, my sister and I ran the Manchester Road Race, one of the oldest and most popular road races in the country. It draws 15,000 participants for the 4.7 mile run.  The info packet says, quaintly, to not expect to run one's best time due to the crowding.  That was certainly true! We had to do so much dodging and slowing in that mega crowd.  

But it was ok.  Thanks to the move, I have not been running in nearly a month. On one hand, I'm glad that I am capable of throwing down a five mile run without any really training, but on the other hand, I am also glad it was a nice slow pace!  I think we were running 11 minute miles which is much slower than either of our normal paces, but I was fine with it.  I take about three miles to warm up anyhow.  My sister was perky from the start, but I'm a cyclist, not a runner.

I actually had a great run up to the last quarter mile when I totally cramped up. I got the worst side stitch I can ever remember- it was hard to even walk!  So my triumphant end was more of a grunting stumble.  

On the bright side, for once, my clothing plan worked brilliantly.  There's a very long standing around period before the race, and it was super duper cold- 27 degrees and windy!  I knew I'd warm up in the race, but if had to be ready for a long stand and wait.  So I came up with the idea of wearing my old quilted cheerleading jacket. I figured if I could handle football games in a miniskirt, I could handle this race.  So it was cheer jacket, fleecy tights, base layer, long sleeve tee, and beanie hat.  All together, I was just right.  

Super cold!
Looking backwards from our start point. 


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Not A Bike Ride, and Good for the Soul Anyway

We have resumed our practice of Friday Adventures.  I have already told the Spouse that I intend to call these outings Friday Adventures regardless of the day on which the Friday Adventure occurs.  So we might have Friday Adventures on Monday.  It drives the Spouse nuts.  It's fun already!

We went on a hike to Blue Pool- one of the headwaters of the mighty Willamette.  Way up in the mountains, a long ago lava flow rolled over the Willamette and buried the river deep underground.  Blue Pool (aka Tamolitch Pool) is one of those places where it emerges.

This is a lovely, easy hike.  We started on Trailbridge, a trailhead about 10 miles northeast-ish of the Willamette Ranger Station.  There's no significant climbing and it was just a wee bit muddy.  The walk started off cold (I was actually perfectly layered, but my furnace of a spouse started out in shorts and was a little chilly!) and turned out to be just right once we'd warmed up.

We met a few mountain bikers and took turns taking photos of each other's groups, leaving me with my favorite unintentional selfie ever.  I don't know who these guys are off the trail, but they are sure fun.

Yeah, he was a little cold.  (Layers, my dear.  Layers.)

In front of the pool!

A better shot of the blueness of the Blue Pool.  You get your money's worth from Blue Pool.  

Two of our MTBer friends learn how to work an iPhone.

Then today, after dealing with stressful moving stuff all day, we met up with friends for a nice dinner at home and then we took them to the movies- one of our favorite second-run theatres was having a fifth anniversary party, so we went to see Pacific Rim. These friends are awesome for many reasons, but one of those reasons is that my friend's wife and I have exactly the same taste in movies.  Our idea of how to end a stressful day includes a stiff drink and a movie in which lots and lots of stuff blows up and hot guys take off their shirts.  Pacific Rim had both of these things in spades.  We both approved heartily, and both our spouses put up with their wives.  Hey, we figured thin and predictable plot line, hot guys, and plenty of explosions.  Everyone wins, right?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Treading Figurative Water

Ah, yes, life has been a little overwhelming.  While it is nice to have the Spouse back full time, and while it is super-nice to know that we won't have to split up again in a few weeks, things have just been busy busy with the move coming up and the race.

It's tough.

On one hand, I am so deeply sad to leave this community.  The sun hasn't been rising until after 7 lately, so when I get up, I can watch the sky dawn over the hills and it is a spectacular fall.  Even the foggy days are shot through with color.

On the other hand, I have been so busy I haven't had a spare moment to get out to do things like the last bike rides I have wanted to do.  And my shake-it-out running plans to be ready for Manchester?  Forget that.  I think we'll just focus on calm and easy.  I'm going to shoot for 180 steps a minute so at least I'm following SOME part of a running plan!

But everything else?  I am letting things slide.  I'm focusing on eating as healthy as possible given that I am having final lunches and dinners almost every meal, and at home we are trying to eat down the fridge.  It means a lot of creative mystery dinners.  "What's this?"  "I think it's spaghetti squash.  Maybe I can make a topping for it... like something with these clams..."

As a race director, my life is consumed by a lot of "Hurry up and wait" right now.  Hurry up and advertise, and wait for the people to sign up!  Hurry up and get awards... and hang on to them.  Hurry up... and wait.

Finally, I am getting excited about the move.  It's an exciting place I am going to and the work will be an interesting challenge.  It's a year of work and trust that we'll be going into.

I don't know if I'll have much time to post between now and when we get settled.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Adventures in Race Directing

Let it be known that over the last few years, I have come to accept an essential truth about myself.  Namely, that I am rather tightly wound.  I used to think I was mellow and laid-back and easy-going and able to roll with the punches, but the truth is I like to make things happen.  

This is a terrible thing if you are trying to vacation with me on a beach in Maui.  I'd last about five minutes, and you'd stab me with your little beach umbrella and tranquilize me on the sly. 

This is a great thing if one is organizing a race. 

I have a great volunteer team ready to roll.  

I have a fantastic finish line: namely, InStove, the company that makes the stoves that will be sent to Tilori, Haiti, is lending us a few stoves.  One of our volunteers will make cocoa on the stoves!  This shows that the stoves are extremely cool, for not only can you cook a lovely beans and rice stew, but you can also make delicious cocoa.  Hurrah!  Besides, cocoa, in November, in Oregon?  WIN! 

And the best part: awards!  After a few weeks researching medals (and discovering that finish line medals cost $2.50 and up!) I opted to go for donated gift cards for the top winners, and ribbons for all age group winners.  So y'all come on, and win prizes now. 

Mostly, at this point, I think we are in great shape.  We are waiting to hear on a few sponsorships, but my biggest worry right now is getting folks to sign up!  I know that the majority of people sign up within a week or two of the race (especially for a little one like this), but boy, does it make me nervous!  

All I want is 55 runners... that means we break even, and turn a little profit!  

So if you are in Oregon, come on out and race on Nov. 9!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Zombies, Run!, and then I cook

I ran away from work today. The weather has been awful- huge storm cells rolling over town and dumping inches of rain on us.  So when the sky cleared and the weather report showed a lull, I grabbed my gear and ran for it... Literally! 

I just discovered Zombies, Run! Basically, if you ever wanted to pretend you were in a zombie apocalypse and running for safety, this is your chance.  Charming British voices narrate the story in between songs, and off you go.  You "pick up things" like first aid kits and clothes, and get chased by zombies.  I escaped one mob, and then I got killed about five times in a row.  It is hilarious, especially when certain songs come on.  Like right after the voice tells you that the zombie chasing you is just 50 feet away, Katie Perry comes on singing Firework.  I wonder what song Taylor Swift would write about the tragic zombie relationship...

I think it'll be a fun running game to play!

I'm also doing a four week fall challenge through Barre3. My goal is to reintroduce a regular stretching and core routine.  So I commit to five Barre3 workouts a week.  The program also includes a nutrition plan (which I don't follow slavishly, but I get inspired by it and pick out some recipes to make). 

Tonight, I focused on some food prep. I picked out a few recipes and headed to the store with a mission plan.  During that mission, I had one of my many mishaps with the bulk bins. Seriously, why put fast-flowing beans up high? Inevitably, I mis-pull and spill beans everywhere and the grocery store guys have to come clean up.  And tonight, another shopper glared at me and huffed the entire time I was in the bulk aisle.  I have reason to think it wasn't just me spilling beans , but it was hard to. to take it personally!  

After the discovery that my iron levels were down in the dumps, I've been tracking food and nutrients. Sadly, I discovered that even with kale and spinach and collards, and every food combo known to vegetarians, plus a multivitamin, I never came close to hitting my daily value for iron.  

I decide some meat eating during recovery wouldn't kill me. I've had to do this before, and I didn't like it. I just don't really like meat.  But this time I have a slow cooker and a bunch of recipes that are veggie heavy, so maybe this time it'll be different. Overall, I think I just prefer vegetarian living.  It suits PMS.  And I've trained for major events while eating 100% vegetarian in the past. It's just this year, so etching didn't click.  When things settle down in my life, perhaps in the spring, maybe I can consider doing some work with a nutritionist.  But for right now, I am going to focus on using recipes from athlete sources I trust to make some good, reliable, well rounded meals with a minimum of stress and prep work. 

Tonight, I made a turkey-kale-beet-quinoa dish that I think is sorta stew like. It was all stovetop, but I think it would translate well to the slow cooker.  It was yummy!  I used golden beets, since I still dislike red beets.  I ate one serving, and popped the rest all assembled into baggies and threw them in the freezer.  
I flattened these for freezing since they are all cooked.  I figured flat packs would thaw and reheat faster.  

I also prepped a beef chili, and used Frayed Laces's trick of putting in the freezer in a rounded shape. So whenever I want, I can pull it out and plop it in the slowcooker for the day. 

I also brined some beans and am cooking those right now.  I love having beans handy.  Normally, I always have beans and rice in my freezer, and greens in my fridge.  I have found that to be a great #1 snack.  It helps me with my emotional eating- With the beans prepped, I can ask the question "do you want your beans and greens or do you want the cookie?" If I want the beans, I figure I'm really hungry. If all I want is the cookie, I'm not physically hungry. Sometimes, I still have the cookie after all, but it helps to know what purposes I'm really eating for.  

Finally, I made this amazing pumpkin ginger smoothie.  I had no almond butter so I used peanut butter.  Let's not make that substitution again.  But it also has blackstrap molasses (excellent source of iron!) so I had a way to get extra iron in my system. 

I prepped ingredients for future smoothies by measuring them out and putting them in the freezer in baggies.  So in the morning, if I think a smoothie is a good idea, it's no thinking, just drinking.  (After a little whir in the blender of course!) 

In all, I figure I have prepped over 21 meals tonight, for a total of about $3 a serving for these dinners.  This included my bottle of Merlot and the Deschutes Obsidian Porter that I got because I'm on a porter kick right now and wanted extra liquid for the meat dishes.  That's right,  I was thinking of the chili.  

And now, between the turkey and the iron, I'm feeling properly sleepy. So off I go! 

Monday, September 30, 2013

Not Exactly the Workout I Expected

So I pulled out the trainer today. Between really starting to feel better and all the rain, I have a bit of an abundance of energy at moment.  A few people have commented on my improvement in perkiness, so I guess all the clam soups and clam pasta sauces are helping.  (My fondness for the Spiralizer continues apace. No zucchini is safe around me these days! OOoo, maybe I'll make a raw sauce for lunch tomorrow...) 

As I was setting up the trainer, I headed downstairs to change into bike clothes.  I flipped on my bedroom light.  And there, in the corner, near my BED, was the largest, blackest, hairiest spider I have seen inside in Oregon.  

I may have shrieked a little.  

Ok, I screamed like a little girl.  

And then this is where I usually call M to save me.  Unfortunately,my amazing brave triathlete spider-saving spouse is out of town being a dutiful son, so I was on my own.  

This involved more shrieking and a large shoe and some pounding.  The body was so big it was still lumpy. So I sprinted upstairs and grabbed my vacuum.  And I vacuumed it up, and then dumped it into a garbage bag, and put it into the garage. And then I vacuumed the house and the stairs. 

I know that plenty of people wish I would save spiders, and honestly, I've come a long way from "squish and scream". Now it's scream and hope for my manly man to save me.  Spiders are good for the world, but I just can't handle them in bed with me!  

After all that, I decided maybe save the bike for tomorrow, since what with the screaming and vacuuming, it took about 45 minutes plus time to scrub the kitchen.  

What? I find kitchen scrubbing to be good therapy! 

Friday, September 27, 2013

First Run Back

So I went for a run, because I was getting curious to know how my iron plan is working. 

First of all, it's not surprising that my iron was down in the dumps.  I've been tracking my food for a bit using a new app called My Fitness Pal.  While it has a slightly dorky name, it tracks more nutrients than LoseIt- such as iron.  Basically, even WITH spinach, kale, a multivitamin, and every iron-rich veggie I could think of, I don't come near the RDA of iron.  

So on a day when I added a clam sauce to that mix... I came within 20% of the RDA of iron.  So I am adding iron-rich food as much as possible, and if this keeps up, I may consider a small iron supplement or changing my multivitamin to one with more iron in it.  Clearly, my body needs it. 

Today's run was actually pretty good.  For most of the run, I felt pretty strong.  My heartrate, in particular, was almost 20 BPM lower than my summer runs, for the first half of the run!  Clearly, the extended rest is doing something.  

I did get tired much more quickly than normal, so I pretty much pooped out on my second half.  So I guess I"m rebuilding.  It would help if I have something to rebuild FOR...

So now I have a goal!  My sister and I have agreed to run the Manchester Road Race in November!  It's a huge, famous race on Thanksgiving Day in Connecticut, and since we all decided to go to Connecticut this summer (because all the family will be in town and we want to meet my cousin's new baby, arriving any day now!), and my sis has run Manchester before, we thought it sounded fun.  It'll be cold!  So I will need my thermal tights, and might have to find a nice thermal sweater. 

But I think I should wear my Ironman 70.3 finisher hat, don't you?  

I am going to work on the running for a week or so before deciding what I want to shoot for in terms of pace.  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Spicy Lentil Stew

So over the weekend I got one of these at the church parking lot sale.

My dear mum had given me one when I was in seminary, but it was a super mega size one that could cook for about 20 people.  I gave it away to my church secretary several parishes ago because she was cooking for soccer teams, literally.  

But then I spent the last two years blowing things up in the pressure cooker, and cooking beans in my rice maker, and then I read an article about a slow cooking triathlete. With my long work hours plus my training time, I want good healthy hot meals when I get home from rainy training runs or rides.  And M likes to cook but not all the time. He'd like easy hot magical meals sometimes too.  So when I noticed this one, I figured it was worth the $5 at half price time.

Today, I made this. It is clean out the fridge time at our house, aka the end of the month when I decide to eat down the fridge and pantry before I do a stock up grocery run.  I try to use all the odds and ends I can. I had a recipe for a goodness soup, and a recipe for spicy lentil stew, so I decided to combine them and eliminate the dairy ingredients to see what happened.  

Worst case scenario, I figured we have great vegan pizza in this town.  

It started like this.

It came out like this.

This is my story.  

2 cups lentils.
Roughly chop all these veggies into chunks. I peeled them too.  
-3 stalks celery, two carrots. 
-Half onion. 
Enough water/stock to just cover the mixture.  I used Better than Buillion made slightly weak.  We are scientific here.  

Cumin, sage, oregano, and chili flakes, about a fat tsp of each.  I like spicy, so you can add more or less spicy according to taste.  I didn't need salt, but I did add pepper.  
You could add miso at the end if you like. I like miso, myself.

Optionals: (these were in my fridge- you can add any, all, or none of these.) 
I fennel bulb.  
Zucchini. (Half ish? I used the leftover ends after I was done spiralizing my lunch zucchini.)
Beet.  (I know, I hate beets, but I had one and I figured i wouldn't see it in the end product). 
Napa cabbage (about 1 c?) 
Bell pepper end (the rest was in my salad). 

Cook on low all day. Try not to freak out like I did.  The house won't burn down.  Trust the slow cooker.

About an hour from dinner, taste things. They should be cooked but not totally mushy. Crank that puppy up to high.  

15 minutes before dinner, purée the stew.  I used a separate blender, but smarty pants people say it's ok to use the hand blender.  Next time, I'll do that.  

Serve with crusty roll or in my case, a quick vegan stove top dumpling.  I bet if I had thought of dumplings earlier, I could have puréed the soup and added the dumplings when I got home. As it was, I used a stovetop griddle to cook them like wet sloppy English muffins. You could also put it over brown rice or maybe quinoa, if you like. 

I kept one serving of soup for tmrw, and put five into the freezer.  I had two servings tonight. I'm calling a serving four of my 1 cup ladle scoops (so four cups, or one big soup bowl), and my recipe calculator says that is 131 calories, 62% of your RDA for vitamin A, 6% of calcium, and a whopping 16.8% for iron.  You get 1 gram fat, 507g for potassium, 23.2 g carb, and 9 G protein.  

Next time, I think I will add some fat like some olive oil or coconut oil.  It was massively tasty just as it is, but I had this as a main supper dish.  Obviously, this is way low in fat, and as an athlete, I find my body really needs those extra fat calories. (I had two servings, and I'm stuffed, and still 500 calories under my "limit" for today. I need more!).  This would also be great for adding ribbons of dark greens- I might do that for Lunch tomorrow.  Just make ribbons of dark greens and stir them into the puréed stew.  Pretty, AND vitamins! Maybe I'll add that drizzle of olive oil tomorrow, too.  

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Climbing Steep Things, And Why I Bought Canned Clams And A Slow Cooker

So far this week, I had friends to visit from Back East, so I took them all over Eugene.  We explored a new way up Spencer Butte. I had been told of a second, higher parking lot route to the top of Spencer Butte.  All this time, I had thought that the only way to get the reward of the view at the top of the Butte was to HIKE THERE, as in, from a trailhead on Willamette Street or Fox Hollow, or for the punishment-loving, as a trail run/hike from Martin Street for more than four miles of super-steep pizza-earning motion.  

Turns out there is actually a huge parking lot, just up Willamette Street.  The trailhead in question has portapotties and two options to walk to the top of the Butte.  So all this time I thought that all Eugenians were badasses: well, most of them are slackers who start at this high trailhead.  The first option is 1.3 miles of a nice gradual (I guess) climb.  

The second option is ".6 miles- steep", according to the trail marker.  Guess what way we went?

You know what?  They aren't kidding about the steep part. 

The lower part of the trail had staircases built in.  Here, it was too steep for staircases!

The walk concludes with a scramble up this.  And then we watched sunset approach before we opted to book it down before darkness completely overtook us.  

My hopes of doing the descent with my dignity intact faded as we found a shortcut.  Two of the three of us, including yours truly, opted for the kindergarten-style crabwalk AKA "scooting down the mountain on your bottom".  It was highly efficient, if highly undignified.  Thankfully, the parking lot was deserted enough that I could safely drop trou and change my pants into a clean pair of trousers that I had in my Beetle!  

Oh, the shame.  

In other news, I think my attempts to get more vitamin D and iron into my poor flagging system is going well.  I've been informed that one should not take one's calcium supplements too close to an attempt to get iron into one's system.  I had been taking my calcium supplement first thing in the morning with my spinach smoothie- so my attempts to be good and follow doctor's orders was actually foiling my attempts to get all my nutrients through food.  So I started delaying taking my vitamins until lunch time, and at breakfast, I'm noshing on things like a spinach smoothie or some cereal with apricots and dried mangoes chopped up (fruits with lots of iron).  

I also started drinking OJ, because the Vitamin C helps one metabolize iron.  

I also got these bad boys, and am trying to work them in once or twice a week.  These are reportedly LOADED with good-for-you iron. 

In addition to all that, I'm back to doubling up on my vitamin D.  I spend so much time outside, that I stopped taking it when I ran out of it, and as my doctor reminds me, due to my indoor job plus my dwelling in Oregon plus my faithful application of sunscreen, I just don't get nearly enough vitamin D.  

Since starting the Vitamin D again, plus changing the time I take my vitamins, plus adding the extra foods, I have started sleeping a bit better (always a challenge for this chronic insomniac!), waking UP better (as in, waking up feeling like I've rested, plus waking up pain-free), and have noticed my swollen feet finally returning to size.  That's right- after TWO MONTHS during which I had loosened the straps and laces on all my shoes to accommodate my first-injured-then-swollen foot, I was just yesterday able to cinch my shoes tighter again!  

I noticed on our recent hike up the Butte and then on our walk around at the Dee Wright observatory that I feel like I can breathe better.  I don't feel like I'm gasping for air.  I wish I had been wearing my heart rate monitor, because I feel like my heart rate is spiking less.  Best of all, my hands and especially my feet are getting warm again!  My feet had been both swollen and achingly cold for the last two months and suddenly, they are warm and toasty again!  

I think it was a good thing to get the blood test from the doc.  It sure got me some good answers!

I think it'll be time to start working in some bikes and runs this week to see if the iron and vitamin D are really helping.  Hopefully, it was just a nutrition problem!  Maybe I can spend this fall dialing in my nutrition so I can focus next season on speed goals. 

At the church Parking Lot Sale today, I scored this puppy: 
One of my new favorite bloggers is Frayed Laces, who seems to eat pretty much like I do, and suffers similar body issues to me (low iron and such!) and she posted a delicious looking set of FOUR slow cooker recipes, including two vegetarian ones!  So I am going to try them out to see if I like slow cooking.  I'm also going to try beans in it.  I love keeping beans in my freezer, but I hate using the pressure cooker.  After 2 years, I am still blowing up beans no matter what I do.  Another famous bean method involves the slow cooker... so we shall try this and see what happens!  If I hate it, I've only spent $5 on it! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Iron solutions

So at the end of the story... 

My iron levels are low, but not so low that I need to do artificial supplementation.  I need to be careful to add extra iron into my diet and see how that goes.  So starting as soon as I can muster up the energy to go to the store, it's clams and molasses for me for a while and seeing if that can boost my iron levels back to where they should be.  

It's not the iron that's a problem, so much as the ferritin. If I understand this correctly, ferritin carries iron around and puts it where it needs to be when you need it.  Low ferritin is kind of an endurance athlete problem, or at least one we should be aware of.  

So I'll be eating lots of clams for a while and stuff and we shall see how things progress. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lining up Volunteers, Sponsors, and The Spiralizer

This week, I started lining up sponsors.  Some are big, some are small, and I'll be super excited to have them all! I also gave out a ton of reminder cards at the Pearl District Block Party, and hope that many of those people will sign up.  Not many people have signed up yet, but I usually wait until the week of a 5k to sign up myself, so I don't blame them for waiting.  I'm hopeful that this late season race will bring some interested parties in.  

I also got part of my already-amazing volunteer team confirmed.  Water stops. Finish line.  We are almost entirely good to roll, volunteer wise! Volunteers have lined up the Tshirts and are checking their schedules to see if they can be bike chasers.

What, bike chase?  What is this, a real race? Oh, yeah.  We are so legit. 

In other news, it is kind of hard to type with a 15 lb cat draped over your arm, but he is purring, and otherwise so miserable.  M is out of town, and this cat pouts SO MUCH without his Big Cat, M.  

In recovery related news, my tests came back with a few low levels, especially of things like iron, which explain the near-constant fatigue.  So I get to follow up this week to see what exactly I do about this, because psychologically, I'm done with the resting stuff. 

I also bought a Spiralizer this month.  It's a kitchen gadget that turns veggies like zucchini and carrots into long strips, like a veggie pasta.  It's very big in the raw food world, and I've been intrigued by them for years.  I just never got around to actually buying one.  

Until I did.  


It's about 1/2 a zucchini in each photo.  (And less than 1 carrot).  
This is my biggest mixing bowl! 

A raw "pad Thai" with a peanutty sort of sauce and tofu. It fills up my generously sized salad bowl.   I left out the cabbage from the recipe.  Then I ate this for three days straight.  It's that good.  I got this recipe off, who is an awesome triathlete and genius (she does have a PhD, in fact).  I wish I could link to it, but I think that the Blogger app does not allow me to link just yet. 

So then I made a hot sauce with veggie sausage (tofurkey), canned tomatoes, and rawmesan cheese.  It works beautifully.  I've been eating this since yesterday, and pouted my way through my delicious califlower "rice" stuffed peppers at lunch because I am so obsessed with the zucchini stuff right now.  

So new tool, new toy.  Look for me to start inventing recipes soon!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Race directing, volunteers, and WTF, heart rate?

So race directing is clipping along.  We have a great Tshirt guy, a wonderful volunteer committee, and some sponsorships being lined up.  So cool.  

Registration is now live!

Now I gotta work on race photos! 

In recovery news, things are going well.  I got a little lazy about checking all ingredients (I think I got nailed with b
y a  bread or by some buttered potatoes, so I am accepting this game is not over yet with the dairy issues.  

Oddly, I have been noticing that running and biking is both easier and harder. The physical exertion doesn't feel that different, but the
Heart rate and exhaustion afterwards is crazy weird.  Basically, my heart rate is spiking much higher, much faster, and taking longer to come down.

I have a follow up this week to get some bloodwork, but I suspect I'll be told to continue taking it easy. 

With that said, it's off to get some eggs.  I never get tired of eggs.  

Friday, September 6, 2013

One bike

Today I went for my first bike ride since the race. I must be cruelly unfashionable right now and wear tall socks so that no seams rub against the tender pink new skin that is patchworking my heel.  That was sure a very deep blister!  

The bike was lovely.  Humid, of course.  We had a ton of rain yesterday, but the weather is still warm and we live in the Willamette Valley, so air just sits.  Very brown, since we are in the brown season.  Stinky at times, because I ride by sheep farms and sheep are very, very smelly.  But overall, I had a magical tailwind most of the time and held a 17mph pace.  Even the hill climb to get home wasn't bad- I granny geared it, of course, but my heart rate didn't spike through the roof and I did not feel as though instant death awaited me with every pedal turn.  

Maybe the month-plus resting has been good?

My tummy felt mostly ok, though I was craving kale throughout the ride.  Guess the body wants more greens for breakfast. So I'm going to make myself some kale chips for later. I've realized that I still must be super careful about the dairy issues.  There are no signs of resolution so far, so I am not going to be one of the fast bounce-back-to-normal people.  I got a little lazy last week about checking ingredients, and got nailed by something (probably a burger bun or a sauce).  It's just not worth the GI issues or the stuffy face or the heartburn that comes with my body's freak out.  So yesterday at the Italian place, I had to change my order. The waitress discovered that they make the gnocchi with cream, so I had to change to a penne.  Deep sigh.  But the sauce was delightful and spicy, and awesome if you are used to a spicy bite when you go Italian. (Says the Italian girl.). 

I'm off to make some miso soup and drink all the Gatorade I didn't drink on my ride and hydrate myself.  It was a good ride, and I am happy that I don't seem to have lost any speed, strength, or fitness in my month of total slacking.  

One run

The other day, I went out for my first run post-race. I guess I'm finally feeling not-burnt-out. 

I headed right back in to change my socks to high-waters. All the new tender pink skin on the back of my heel does not like anything rubbing right now. 

It was a slow run, but I didn't feel wrecked.  It was ok.  

Now it is time for some biking! 

In race organizing news, registration is now up! You can make donations as well as register to run or walk. So exciting!  Need a link? 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

More adventures in Race Organizing

Last week, my trusty T Shirt volunteer and I headed out to get some Tshirt prices!  Then I informally polled other runners to decide on a price, and opted for low pricing to make more people interested in running or walking.  

I hope to have a link to our registration site very soon!  

So much of the work right now has been behind the scenes, but very soon I will be shifting into public, visible work and announcements will be comings like wildfire!  

My most exciting sponsor is still Road ID, but I hope that we will have other sponsors that I can publicly announce very, very soon! 

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Returning to Working Out

So I'm not sure if its just dust and ragweed allergies, smoke from the forest fires, general poor air quality in the Willamette valley, symptoms of overtraining, a random cold, or just plain old stress, but I've got a lovely minor head cold.  

It started with a junky nose (and I swear I thought it was smoke).  Original plans had been to do some camping this weekend, but M is still in Maryland, so no sweet little backpacking trip after all.  By Friday, I had swollen ankles, which I thought was odd.  I'm recognizing that water retention is how my body says it is way over tired, especially these last few months.  Of course, the really deep blisters are finally finishing up healing.  Without being graphic, let's just say it was like having burns on my feet.  Things are better now. But I only just started doing regular Barre3 workouts again.  It's not like I was doing backflips and really stressing out! 

I. Am. Frustrated! I hope that it's just stress.  I'll scale back the Barre3 from 40 minutes to 20-30 minute sessions until this passes. 

From the reading, what I've been going thru in recovery does sound a lot like what others describe in overtraining (that led to development of food allergies,) and I know the only cure for that is rest and patience.  But darn it, I'm not doing any more races this year! I'm just doing core work and stretching.  

I hate being patient and relaxing.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Whoa, yeah, so, new car!

So I don't know what you have been doing, but my last few weeks have been a little whirlwindy. 

I bought a car.

It was unexpected, to say the least.  

Long story short, this happened to my beloved Beetle.  

It was not our fault.  It was totaled. No one was injured, thank goodness. And of course, that's the most important thing.  Thank you, solid Beetle, for being so supersafe 

But then there is me needing a decent car. We are going back to one car, and if you are going to be a one car couple, it needs to be awesome.  Our dodge was not awesome.  It was driveable, but I didn't feel comfortable in it like I did my Beetle.  Meanwhile, I hate, really hate, car shopping.  I don't like the notion of having two car loans.  And here we were trying to sell our Dodge and keep our reliable Beetle as our one car.   

So much for that bright idea.  (I drove the Dodge for a few weeks.  I prayed a lot.)

After several weeks and lots of negotiating, here he is: 

So shiny! 

Important things to know about car buying:

1- if you hate the redesign of your favorite car model, you will be buying used.  I drove nine other models of cars, but nothing drives like my Beetle.  I do hate the redesigned Beetle, so I knew I'd be looking at older ones, and I was ok with that. 

2- Certified pre owned is the only way to go. I have a power train warranty on this hottie. My previous Beetle-CPO, 10 years, and no problems. Here's to 10 years with this one!   

3- you can have your own mechanic check it out.  Sure, it cost me some change, but at the end of the day, the inspection warned me off one car that had $1400 in critical repairs needed, and alerted me to the one problem with this (it was missing a fender liner, which the dealer is replacing).  Totally worth the price.

4-walk away. The power of walking out is huge.  I walked out of dealerships several times.  You don't have to take anything less than the deal you want.  Hang in there. You are the consumer, and you have the power. Also, if you are hungry, go get a sandwich. Do not test drive or negotiate hungry. 

5-not every used car salesperson is smarmy.  I ended up really liking the guy I bought from.  I felt respected. He wasn't pushy.  Near the end, his manager was pushing him to close the sale for higher than I wanted.  I was getting close to walking.  My sales guy got some numbers for me, signed in the car as a loaner, and had me take it for the entire afternoon, solo.  I got to talk to some friends without any sales guy breathing down my neck, do some paperwork with the bank so I knew my exact terms (file under 'knowledge is power'), and drive it like I owned it. I came back and the salesguy gave me the deal I wanted. That solo ride sealed the deal.  

At the end of the day, I'm sorry that my faithful old Beetle was squashed.  I realized I missed it.  I lucked out in finding this one, and am very thankful to have what should be a trouble free car for a number of years. 

I just wasn't ready for my Beetle days to be over.  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Did Spanish make me healthier?

When I first got to Oregon, I did not speak any Spanish.  I only speak a teeny amount now, just enough to manage a service and say hello, but that's about it.  But still.  I embarked on a mission to learn Spanish. 

Last fall, I went to Mexico for a language immersion and learned a TON.  It definitely helped me make a leap in my Spanish comprehension- I finally "got" the idea of verb endings- and helped me really start to understand the culture.  On the downside, I picked up a bug and came home with E. Coli.  Several weeks of antibiotics later, my tummy was free of bugs. 

Around then, my GI issues flared up with a vengeance.  For a long time,  I was managing with Lactaid, antacids, allergy meds, and decongestants, desperate for relief.  Everything from lactose issues to tooth cavities to IBS to an ulcer was tossed around.  

By July, after some fun rounds of tests, my doctor had diagnosed a dairy allergy.  He thinks I had a natural, mild intolerance that was severely aggravated by the food poisoning and perhaps a little over-training.  

Since then, I have noticed a host of things.  I haven't had a single episode of acid reflux since July.  I have stopped taking allergy medicine.  I have developed this weird super-smell sense, which actually isn't that great of a super-power when one must walk through downtown, but it's pretty cool when sitting on the back deck of your house.  

Most interestingly, I have always had issues with backwards bending yoga postures.  Usually, anything involving back bending or inversions gave me a problem.  I'd get queasy at best, and at worst, would have a big surge of acid reflux.  Usually, I'd also get dizzy.  

As my body heals from the tri, I've been doing Barre3 to regain flexibility and maintain strength, and have tried a few back bending postures.  No problems at all.  Even things like triangle postures, are having zero effect on me.  I am not sure if it's that I can breathe so much better all of the sudden, or that since my body isn't busy fighting off the dairy anymore, it has the energy to devote to things like balance and digestion.  

It's pretty neat, all the subtle ways I'm finding my body is healing itself.  I still hold out hope that I'll be one of the people who heals all the way and is able to tolerate dairy again some day, because there's a lot of delicious ice cream out there.  But I'm really grateful I had the doctor who got the proper diagnosis and told me to not eff around with this.  It's been a struggle, but things are really looking up for my poor gut.  

The way I figure it, if I had never studied Spanish, I'd never have gone to Mexico. I'd not have gotten E. Coli, and I wouldn't have gone to the doctor.  I wouldn't have gotten tested.  So, indirectly, studying Spanish made me a healthier person.  

Gracias, espanol.  

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Life Stress

So, you know how I mentioned that Life Stress might have been a factor in my body freaking out and developing a dairy allergy?  

Life stress is hardly abating! 

I have learned that developing food or skin sensitivities is actually a known issue with endurance athletes, whether we are training to do an Ironman or to climb Mt. Everest.  A sweet high-level athlete has also shared that for her, her pregnancy was the thing that pushed her body into a gluten intolerance.  It is sometimes a symptom of overtraining, so I think I really need to commit to a nice gentle fall.  I rode to and from work yesterday, and was all tuckered out, even though the riding weather was perfect.  

So for this fall, my commitments are to get my body used to its new diet, and stretch and lengthen and do all that good Pilates and Yoga stuff.  And slowly, ease back into the biking.  

As for Life Stress... 

The shortest version of the story is that my beloved Beetle is no longer with us in this world, and now I must car shop. 

Car shopping is one of my two least favorite things to shop for, the other being trousers.  When shopping for trousers, I always have a terrible time finding cuts and fabrics that make me look lean and strong.  Most trousers are not cut for muscular women, and my mighty biking legs end up looking like chubby sausages.  Considering that I have actual, visible muscle, I KNOW I'm not a chubby sausage, but it is so hard to believe that when the mirror screams otherwise.  That is why I haven't bought new trousers to replace the ones I bought three years ago when I weighed about 25 pounds more, and it's getting awkward when female friends remark on how loose my clothes are and I can grab whole handfuls of extra fabric.  

Car shopping makes me feel like that.  Despite the fact that we have weathered this recession and this layoff reasonably well (without getting behind on a damn thing and managing to save every month), this extra expense makes me FEEL POOR.  I hate this recession, and I have been calling it a DEPRESSION for a long time.  In a good world, I would want people who have been through awful circumstances: chronic illness, layoffs, emergencies- to have a few years of GOOD LUCK.  We need some jubilee, where everything is forgiven.  And I guess that we need to start with forgiving ourselves, and accepting that less-than-ideal terms right now will be better in a few months.

But in the meantime...

I keep thinking, "What kind of roof racks will I need on the new car, whatever it is, so I can rack the bikes?"  

Do I have my priorities straight, or what?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Race directing

I am feeling a little like a super-powered race director right about now.  I started my morning with a green smoothie that any race director would approve of (bananas, almond milk, and collard, if you would like to know.)  I have a potential announcer on the line, and I should have my official approved permits in hand any day now.  I am working diligently on getting announcements ready.  Tomorrow, I call about those permits and get my route ready, and next thing, it's working with the race company to create a registration website.  All this has been single-person, behind-the-scenes work, but soon I will be about to roll into stuff that will be publicly visible.  

This might be the single most exciting thing I've gotten to do for a non-profit organization.  I've RUN charity races before, but to organize one?  Whew.  It's wild.    

I now have actual volunteers for my Race Day Team, so I think I am going to get them VOLUNTEER shirts so they can be extra cool.  Soon, it'll be time for our first Team Meeting.  Oh, yes.  There will be an agenda.  When I ran my first meeting at St. Mary's for parents of our pilgrims, I handed out an agenda. I thought I was going to be canonized on the spot.  My people love organization and agendas and getting things done.  

Like a RACE BOSS.  That's me.  

I've started having urges to ride bikes again.  I still think I'm on a break from running, but I am getting back in the saddle, as long as I am careful about that left heel.  It's healed, it's just new skin and I should be careful with it.  

Today I learned the sad truth that Sriracha potato chips, which I love dearly, are made with a large amount of dairy products.  I gave them to a fellow sriracha lover, and mourned their departure.  

So I made cheesy tofu bites and a sushi rice roll for dinner to soothe my sorrowing soul.  Yes, yes, even I recognize how lame that looks in writing, but it was much tastier than it sounds.  Trust me.  

In interesting news, I have learned that apparently, late-onset food allergies are not uncommon.  I am grateful to know that I am not a freak of nature.  In fact, it seems that it is a known phenomenon among endurance athletes, especially those who train through illnesses or major life stress or who are pushing for their first major event.  It's not exactly common, but it happens: the athlete develops an intolerance or allergy to a previously tolerated food.  So between Leadman, separation, food poisoning, flu, and Ironman, it makes sense that my body figured out a way to rebel.  

That's the good news.  And many people do recover fully, although it takes a very long time- typically eight months to a year.  The bad news?  Many other people find this is a life-long change.  Only time will tell with me! 

Monday, August 12, 2013

A Nice Slow Weekend, Race Plans, and BIke RIde

We've had a bit of craziness in my house lately, so M has been doing some solo running while I have been concentrating on starting to do some stretches.  It's only been the last few days that I have started to feel like I had my old energy levels back. 

I'm going to work on getting my new nutrition rules in order, which means working really hard on upping the protein without any dairy help, and focusing on getting my carbs from veggies.  Still, a huge change.  

I led a lovely field trip yesterday for my parish to The Grotto in Portland.  It is best known as a Catholic shrine and home to a monastery, and also a place where they put on an unbelievable Christmas Lights display.  However, it is one of those places that transcends religion.  You can get plenty of RC stuff in the bookstore and they do have a number of services, but I do not feel at all out of place wearing my collar or just being on the grounds.  I went to walk the labyrinth, and M and I walked to the paths several times, and then spent some time in the meditation chapel. 

The meditation chapel was far from meditative yesterday, as The Grotto had just finished services and was crawling with kids.  Kids asking questions about everything from who the statues were to what was for dinner.  But I think I am more than happy to sacrifice the meditation chapel once in a while.  Because the alternative to a very busy chapel filled with kids' screaming is a dead chapel filled with silence.  

The elevator to the cliff top.  (Clergy friends, you get in free.  Everyone else is 4.50 for grownups and 3.50 for over 65s.)  

The labyrinth.  I can't wait until St. Mary's has our own!!

Some surprising color in the midst of the gardens. 

In the meditation chapel, looking out at the view.  Seriously, I could spend an hour here when it's quiet.  In January, M and I did just that.  It is really a thin place. 

I snuck a picture of the church from the back pew!  There are bays of candles on either side, and the services take place in that little cave.  You can buy candles in the gift shop for various saints.  Next time, I think I'd like to pick up one of the little car rosaries for my rosary collection. 

Of course, we followed all this with dinner.  Several hours of walking around meant I earned my dinner, right?  Huge shout out to McCormick and Schmicks, who were so kind about my new friend, the dairy allergy.  They even sent the manager out to let me know that my spouse's chicken wings DID have butter, to let me know I shouldn't share that dish!  They also made my mussels without the butter.  They were delicious. 

Meanwhile, in race organizing, I have gotten our event on the national calendar and am rolling out the advertising.   I got our images, so this week, will start working on the posters and in-house designs for T-shirts and posters, and hopefully race medals!  I also plan to research race medal places, T-shirt vendors, and get a few more sponsors committed! 

Also this Sunday, I am going to bike ride to the parish picnic!  I haven't decided what to ride yet (the BMC or the Trek) since I'll be riding with a group who may or may not be riding fast.  Besides, I still have to wash the BMC.  I am shocked to realize that it's been several weeks since I've ridden.  It's NEVER been that long.  So I was really tired!  But I will get a burger on Sunday, so that is a good reason to ride, right? 

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Dustiest Hike Ever

This past Sunday, after a very exciting and busy Friday and Saturday, we needed some decompression time.  Luckily, we have friends who might be the most relaxing people ever.  I don't know what it is about them, but after spending time with them I always feel like I've had this spiritual massage and been rubbed down with love and care. Seriously, they are awesome.  And it's the strangest thing because all of us are facing some pretty major life stress... 

At any rate, we have been talking about camping so we went to scope out some camping spots.  LAst winter, one of these friends and I went snow shoeing and loved the spot so much we thought it would be wonderful camping.  We returned on Sunday.

Let's just say it would be horrible camping.  The mountain that was deliciously cold with a 10 foot snowpack was scorchingly hot.  The delightful easy trails marked at eye level in the snow were actually two feet deep in scrubby brush with sparse signage way over our heads.  We finally found some OHV trails... Which were ankles deep in sandy dust!  Yeah, we got a little dirty.

But it was an adventure, dammit! 

We worked our way in for a while until we got to a less dusty section to sit and have a picnic.  We had all brought veggies and dips and bread, so it was a super healthy extravaganza spectacular.  Delicious.  

And then we all agreed to try camping elsewhere.  

On the way home we stopped to see some waterfalls.  As soon as we approached, we were greeted with a blowing mist that was a perfect natural air conditioner.  We strolled along, put our feet in the icey cold river, and let the mist wash the dust out of our throats.  

Perfect jump shot, no?  I am terribly vain about this one! Good job to M and his fast iPhone fingers! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Two weeks out

So I am two weeks out from this race. 

In the meantime, I've had a number of great conversations with friends and relatives.  Some of them have been through food allergy things. Another one competed in bike stuff.  All are saying the same thing: your body is telling you it is too stressed out right now!  So take a rest and no more tri training for awhile. 

So I think I will be doing some Barre3 stuff.  I still can't wear my bike shoes, so I'm off the bike and out of the water until that blister injury fully heals.  At the worst, it was the size of about half my thumb, and as it heals, it's been acting more like a burn than a blister.  So it was a downright war wound, as one person said.  Ouch, baby. Ouch. 

After two weeks, I am finally starting to feel near normal energy levels returning. After a lot of reading of other tri blogs, I think I came pretty close to overtraining which is basically physical and mental burnout. And tri is so mental.  So a nice long break is not just a good idea, but it's one that I am seeing in blog after blog right now. Pros recuperating from rough seasons and injuries major and minor. Age groupers who had life stress like moving and PhDs.  Several people just raced slower than normal and need a  good break.  So I am joining that club for a while. 

Lots of news to come in the next few weeks about the Trees for Tilori 5K!  This is a very exciting project. 

Monday, July 29, 2013

Adventures in Race Organizing, Adventures in Pizza, and A Cool Cookbook

Race Organizing: 

It is not for sissies.  Luckily, people are really excited about the project so I'm finding there's plenty of enthusiastic volunteers who are lining up for help in various quarters.  I have a well-populated checklist so far.  It hasn't been too difficult to start lining up sponsors for things like prizes and goodies in the goody bags.  I'm just nervous about getting all these parts to fall into place! 

But if you are thinking about this race and you are in Oregon or will be in Oregon on Nov. 9, block out 10AM to noon on your calendar for the most fun Diocesan event in the universe.  Trust me.  You WANT to be here for this!

Adventures in Pizza: 

On Saturday, I volunteered at Tri at the Grove.  Previously, I seem to remember these amazing burritos.  This year, they had pizza instead.  Lovely, greasy, delicious-looking pizza.  They had no vegan options, but everyone else was eating what was clearly the best pizza in the world.  They were singing odes to the pizza, dancing in joy with their pizza slices, and chowing down on cheese, pepperoni, and veggies.  There was even a gluten free option.  (But no vegan.)  

"How bad," thought I, "can one bite be?  I've been recovering so well for a while now.  Perhaps just one bite will be just fine.  Besides," I rationalized, "the doctor says to experiment on occasion to find out what I can tolerate."  

I ate one bite.  And then I ate the crust.  The crust, I figured, had less cheese than other parts of the pizza and was just the bread. 

Well, the good news is that the lactaid minimizes the worst of it.  But there were other bad, bad, very bad things that happened.  And the least of the bad things is the stuffy face/allergy-style reaction like hay fever.  

Damn.  No more pizza for a while.  

Cool cookbook: 
On the bright side, a fun parishioner gave me this: 

It is a vegan Sriracha cookbook.  So entirely dairy-safe and delicious.  I chucked out some of the menu items I had planned and made this for a side dish instead: 
That, my friends, is a Sriracha succotash.  The sweet corn really cuts the bite of Sriracha.  

Can't wait to try the peanut butter Sriracha cookies.  

Pot lucks this year are going to be epic.