Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Baked Potatoes Don't Mesh with Raccoons

No no no....I'm definitely not becoming a foodie blog.  I don't cook, remember? And why would I have the word "raccoon" in the title if I was?  Yeah, that's gross.

I love night runs that have surprises---fun, good ones, of course.  Last night's 3 miles were refreshing, yet bug-filled, and a much needed break from Goober duties. ;)  Here are my observations for the run:

A raccoon I've seen before in the same area was just chillin' in the last moments of daylight with the cats in the "cat sanctuary" in the neighborhood.  I've nicknamed him Bandit, because he likes to crash the CATS ONLY party of the wetlands.  He was cool and posed for a picture.
What's up, Bandit?
If I had a pool in my backyard, I'd probably find this furry dude swimming, a la EMZ's pool visitor.  But I'm not afraid of raccoons...I think they are often misunderstood.  And maybe he'd give me a run for my money on treading water (although I'm pretty good).

The cats weren't so happy to have the paparazzi snapping away by their home:
Sorry guys, you're just so cute and fuzzy.
Later on, a girl on a bike said she liked my tank top (a magenta Running Chic's tank), I smelled some WICKED yummy baked potatoes (and meatloaf), saw a dude mowing his tiny lawn on a John Deere (WTH?), nearly got run over by a cop car while crossing the street (woah), and of course, the ultimate RZR running adventure staple: the nekkid semi.

DUDE, this one is trying to be all camouflaged and stuff!  AACK!
Nice try!  I see you in all of your nekkidness, Mr. Semi!
Didn't get to go outdoors that much today, but tomorrow should be nicer.  Yay!

What did you see on your run today?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Healthy(er) Cupcakes

There's no question that I love to bake, especially cookies, pie, cakes and cupcakes.  Not the healthiest of eats, but it's fun and gives me something to do to "blow off steam" when a run isn't in the cards.  So a couple years ago one of my sisters made my family Diet Soda Cupcakes for my Dad's birthday.  Say what?!  You read that right!  Diet Soda Cupcakes!  And you know what?  They were actually not too shabby.

Now, I know the recipe has made its way around the internets for quite some time, but here it is:

1 - Package instant cake mix
1 - 12 oz can of Diet Soda

That's it. 

You can be creative with what flavors you choose, too.  Fresca and vanilla cake.  Diet Cherry Coke and chocolate cake.  Root beer and vanilla cake.  7-Up and lemon cake.  The possibilities are endless.  "They" (not sure who that entails) say that the pudding cake mix doesn't work sometimes, but I haven't had that problem yet.

All you have to do is follow the oven temperature directions, add the diet soda to the dry ingredients (no eggs, oil or water needed!), mix and bake.  Simple as...cupcakes.
AND, you can lick the batter off the spoon!  No raw eggs! 
And TA DA!  Yummy, healthy(er) cupcakes!  

Finished product.  Yum!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Spectating See Jane Run!

The fun thing about finishing a big race is to cheer and bring home the other runners afterwards.  I've always been a big "cheering" advocate at races I participate in, so spectating the See Jane Run Half was a lot of fun.

After getting my cute medal and posing for a pic from the official photog, I grabbed a water and headed back to the hills near the finish line.  Who cares if I didn't know anyone running a particular segment, I just yelled and cheered at every woman (and occasional man) that ran by.
"You've GOT THIS!"  
"Good job, ladies!"  
"Lookin' good!"  
"Downhill from here!"

You know what?  I love doing this!  Since I appreciate spectators of any kind cheering at races, I feel it's only appropriate I "give back" some spectating love to others.  :)  And I get to see the best moments in a race: people seeing the finish line.  The renewed energy in the air is almost tangible as you witness runners "near the end."  It's awesome.

 My high school buddy E posed for me as she ran by...she's kind of crazy and you want to know why?  The longest run she had done prior to this half marathon (her first half and first race of any kind) was only THREE MILES.  WHA???  And she finished in 2 hours and 10 minutes!  Holy cow!  She's a rockstar for sure.
Go E!!!
Saw Diana finish strong, too!
Yeah Diana!!
Then Jayne and Mel came by, and I HAD to take a video instead...oh, and I tried a more "muffled" yell in order to save listeners' ears.

And finally Chelsea (looking REALLY DETERMINED) and Kerrie were there to finish! (Beware, I yelled a little loud).

I was so excited to see Chelsea and Kerrie at the end!  I quickly (well, as fast as my stiff calves could take me) walked back to the finish area to find my friends and celebrate with some champagne and chocolate!  YUM!

May I say that champagne is pretty damn good after a race?  Strange, but really good.  Chelsea's awesome man/fiance M surprised her with flowers, it was so sweet.  I'm so proud of Chelsea! (Read her recap here and here)  And Jayne too!  Unfortunately at this point the weather decided it had had enough of playing nice and the rain started.  Oh, and so did my blue lips and shivering.  But no worries, I'd rather hang out than be the party pooper (and I wasn't as cold as people probably thought).  

The Tall Sisters and little me
Speedy Running Skirt guru Larissa & I after the Half (she not only finished a wicked fast Half, but had worked at the expo the day before AND after the race!)
The Bubbly
Mel and her Muscle Man (thanks MM for the race pics!!)
My "PR" pose
Hurray LADIES!
As the rain picked up even more, we said our goodbyes and headed off to our cars.  Kerrie had imbibed in two three cups of bubbly, and she was, well, bubbly!  It was pretty funny seeing Kerrie buzzed.  HEEHEE!  In the car I tried to take a picture of my blue lips, but I don't think this does it justice.
My blue lips
After getting back to my car at Chelsea's house we relished in the warmth of the butt warmer seats of the Volvo.  Ahhhhhh.  Then we talked and goofed off on our way back to my house.  At one point Kerrie said,
"I run fun for faster!"

Uh, what?  "I mean, I run faster for fun."  Was that the bubbly talking?  Either way, it was memorable.  

Thanks to all that made the race day super special!  I'm so glad I got to share in Jayne and Chelsea's big moment. :)
Cheers to that!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Love Me Some Greenlake! & Shoes!

How was your Thursday?  Mine was busy!

Molly, me, Lindsey
Yesterday I stopped by Greenlake for the New Balance Minimus event at the southend of the lake for a bit.  It was nice to finally put a face to the name and meet Lindsey of (and Molly, too!).  Not only were the ladies super sweet, but so were the New Balance Minimus shoes!  MAN!  I got to test drive run a pair for a minute and they were like feet hugs.  Really comfy, minimal and not too tight.  Plus, they have the Vibram outsole technology for maximum durability.  The pair I tried on were the WT10 Trail model in black/blue, but they have different colors and terrain options too: for "Road" and for "Life."  The motto is pretty neat:

How awesome are these shoes?  I want!

After hanging out for a little while, Goober and I ran around the lake twice.  She instantly fell asleep after we started moving, thank goodness.  Her naps have been, um, difficult lately.  On the second go-round of the lake trail we were stopped in our tracks by a flock of geese.  My thoughts went immediately to Kerrie and her fear, so I had to snap a picture.

Sorry Kerrie.  But they were nice geese, except they pooped all over the trail. 
Goose, goose, goose, geese, "geeses." 
When the Goobs woke up, we watched some lifeguards-in-training in the water for a couple minutes.  She was mesmerized by the people swimming and jumping in the water from the floating docks.  :)  My future swimmer/lifeguard/runner/ninja.
Goober and her trusty companion, Bruce the Moose
Happy Friday, all!!  Anyone racing this weekend?  

I want to give a shout-out to the people doing Ragnar in the NW this weekend:
Brad from Allied Steel Medal Displays

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

See Jane Run Half Marathon Recap

Pre-race, ready to rock!
Talk about not training for a race, and yet getting some (sweet) unexpected results!  My longest run after the marathon was only 6 miles with Kerrie on an early Friday morning.  Even the pre-race dinner with running buddies didn't even phase me into the "half marathon" readiness state of mind.  Completely oblivious until, well, the morning of the race.

WOAH.  No training.  Ok, I'll just see how this goes then.

The See Jane Expo was at the Westin Grand Ballroom, and it was very very very teeny.  There were a small handful of vendors in attendance, but the event space was huge...a little wasted money.  Oh well.  Lesson learned there.

Dinner at Il Fornaio was expensive but really fun.  Our waiter kept suggesting things for me based on what I wanted (house red and penne with marinara)...he just made up my mind for me, I suppose.  The stuff I got was pretty good!  And since I'm not the biggest eater, he suggested the kids' penne pasta dish.  Ha ha!  It worked!  Although I did eat a ton of the bread and vinegar/olive oil.  Yum!

Race morning Kerrie came by my house and I drove us up to Seattle to Chelsea's condo.  I didn't have any bread for my usual PB&J sandwich, so I had two toasted waffles with PB minus the J.  That wasn't the brightest idea.  Melted PB was all OVER my hands and face as I was driving, much to Kerrie's delight.  It was pretty funny, I admit, and delicious.
Now isn't THAT attractive? Ha!
Nom nom nom.
Ballard is where I grew up, so it felt good to be in my old stomping grounds.  We parked where we thought Chelsea's house was, but we were off by a block.  "Consider it our warm-up," said Kerrie.  As we walk the block, I'm breathing in the salty sea air deeply, which I've missed living in Kent.  I run smack dab into a spiderweb as I inhaled.
Proceed with the "it's-in-my-hair" dance and frantic brushing of my torso.  Ick!  Kerrie and I are kind of giddy and loopy.  Not really realizing we're running a half marathon in an hour or so.  Chelsea greets us and we go inside for a bit.  I meet her really adorable doggie and we head out shortly after.  Chelsea's BF/Fiance M is awesome and drives us to the start.

The rain is holding off, and it's a very cool morning.  The crowd begins to grow and so do the porta potty lines.  Talk about poor planning!  There were seriously about 6 potties for over 2400 participants.  Another lesson learned.
The line was probably a quarter mile long!!  And growing...
Soon Tall Mom Mel and her Tall Sister Jayne arrived with Tall Mom's Muscle Man.  Nervousness ensued.  Chelsea was ready to rock her 1st half marathon with the help of Kerrie, and Jayne was going to be a first time half marathoner too with Mel's help.  An exciting day was ahead for sure!

You've GOT THIS, Chelsea!
Adorable Kerrie
We got some group pictures and just goofed off for a bit before the race.  Laughter makes all (or most) of the anxiety melt away.
Were we channeling Jill here?
Me: tweeting & Chelsea: trying not to hurl. ;)
The Tall Sisters ready to ROCK
Megan and I before the start...go send her some blog love if you can...
The announcer led all of the runners in a pre-race stretch session/warm-up.  More goofing off by us...
Charlie's Angels & Ninjas!
Jayne, Kerrie, me, Chelsea's arms & Mel

The race start was extremely chaotic and jumbled.  Another hot mess.  There weren't any waves or pace markers and so it was a bottleneck of runners scrambling for position.  My goal for the race to was to keep a steady sub-9 pace if possible, and just have fun with it.

Miles 1 - 4
The course was not on the road at the start.  We ran on part of the small Burke-Gilman trail and sidewalks for an out-and-back along the Fremont cut.  Being near the water was pretty sweet, as there was always something to look at.  Plus it was cool seeing the faster women runners on the way back when I was running "out."  My high school buddy Esther caught up to me and said HI, and I was surprised and happy to see her!  "You're doing well!"  I tell her.  Apparently she recognized my hat, hair bow and running skirt (and the tank was a good giveaway, too!).  I'm feeling pretty good and keeping a good pace.  On the way back I high five Diana, Mel & Jayne and cheer for Kerrie & Chelsea.  I spot Mel's Muscle Man before he sees me at around mile 3.5--it must've been his bright yellow shirt!--and he snaps a quick pic of me as I pass by.

I'm running with a smaller group of women now, and one woman in yellow shorts is about the same pace as me, so I stick by her (slightly behind her) for a bit.  The volunteers on the course were fantastic!  There's this one woman spectating that I see twice already; I nickname her "The Ultimate Spectator" the rest of the race, as she makes another 5 or so appearances.  I acknowledge her dedication and she tells me that her friend is running but isn't feeling well.  What a great friend supporting her sick runner!  Yay!

I see a race photog and smile big as the course turns a sharp corner.  Cheese!
See Miss Yellow Shorts?
Then Miss Yellow Shorts drops her iPod Nano on the ground right in front of me and I scramble up and over her, jump/hop/skipping to avoid stepping on her iPod.  Phew!  Crisis averted!  That would've SUCKED if I had broken her music source.

Miles 5 - 8
Around the southend of Lake Union and around to the East the terrain was on a rocky road (unfortunately not the ice cream kind).  At one point I stepped directly on a sharp rock on the neuroma sweet spot and ZING!  I stop in my tracks with a yelp.  Walked for a teeny bit before saying to myself "let's get this thing done."  There were some hills and I powered through them as best as possible, despite the growing numbness in my feet (yeah, &*#(!^$*&@* FEET).

Getting back to the Northend of the lake was a welcome occurrence.  I had to count on my fingers how many miles were left (brain no workie).  A little over 5!  Yes!  Of course we have to pass the finish line area at Gas Works for yet another out-and-back...UGH.  I didn't seem to mind as much as I thought though, as I was just having fun watching all the other runners pass in the other direction.  My Clif Shot Bloks were keeping me satisfied and energized too.  So far so good!
There's Muscle Man again, and he snaps an awesome pic of me (thanks Mel and MM!).  

Miles 9 - 13.1
I found myself "stuck" behind some runners and started running their pace without noticing it.  EEK, it was a 9:45 pace!  "Don't feel bad for passing them" I think to myself.  I didn't want to just zone out in a pace that was too comfortable, I wanted to bring it.

After passing the 12 mile mark my stomach started turning.  Oh goodness.  I walked slowly through the last water stop hoping the tummy pain would subside.  Luckily it did, and I realized looking at Gus that there was a slight possibility I could PR.  Slight?  I'll take it!  I started picking up my pace.  My game face displayed in full glory.
"I'm going to PR this bee-yotch!" was my inner mantra.  
I rounded some corners and saw the entrance to the park.  HECK YES!  Pace picked up even more.  The rolling Gas Works Park hills were on either side of the trail.  Pace picked up EVEN MORE.  Finish line in sight!  Full on freaking sprint!  I notice the clock is ticking in the 1:57 range.  OMG!!!  I think I did it!

1:57:06!  PR, baby!!

YES!!!!  This was my 4th half marathon, and only my 2nd half marathon not prego.  I'm on Cloud 9!  My race day was not over yet.  I still had to see my friends cross the finish line...and that will be in my Spectator Recap NEXT...

Final Stats:
Mileage - 13.18
Time - 1:57:06
Overall - 181 out of 1352*
Division Place - 38 out of 216 (F25-29)
Sex Place - N/A
Pace - 8:59

*Overall time was based on GUN time, which is stupid and unfair, as not everyone can cross the mat right after the gun sounded...especially in this jumbled/crazy start.  ARGH!  

Post-Race: Seattle RnR Marathon

Goober was happy to see Mommy. The feeling was mutual. :)
Some Seattle RnR recap links real quick:
My marathon recap is here.
Kerrie's is here.
Alma's here (go give her some injury well wishes!).
Mel's half marathon recap is here.  Amanda's here.  Jess' here.  Stacie's here.

Kerrie and I hung out in the finishing chute for a bit before realizing we could actually get our water/food and go around and join the group on the other side.  Duh.  Our brains were a bit fried.  Mel handed us bananas and we took some pictures.
Happy/relieved to be done!
We are sweaty messes. In a good way, of course.
I have no clue what we were laughing at...
Kerrie is all smiles!
Mmmm. Naners.
Getting our victory picture taken!
Going to join the group
After grabbing some grub, we made our way to the "B" family meetup spot.  I immediately saw my little Goober baby in her stroller and was SO EXCITED to see her!  She, of course, was pretty excited to see me too...and my pain melted away at that moment.  
Reuniting with my beautiful daughter
Hugging my father-in-law
My wonderful in-laws were there, too.  I was happy to see them!  They came and saw the end of my first half marathon back in November 2009, so I'm grateful to have them support me in my crazy running endeavors.  
You know what else is pretty amazing?  My running buddies...they waited HOURS to see Kerrie and I cross the finish line after they all finished their halves.  THANK YOU, ladies (and Gents!)!  Blessed, for sure. 

Amanda, Stacie, Mel, Diana, I should know your name, me,
Kerrie, Jess, Jill

And we had to do Amanda's signature pose!

Thank you for being an awesome race support crew, Chelsea!
Kerrie and Chelsea
Mel acted like my brain after I said bye to Travis, Goober and my in-laws (they had to leave for another prior commitment), she steered me towards the UPS trucks that held our checked gear bags.  Putting on my pink compression socks and tan Crocs were a bigger task than I anticipated.  My legs/calves were rickety and my feet were balls of fire.  Thankfully my new sock & Crocs combo worked and gave me a little relief.  After taking some more pictures with the crew, it was time to say farewell until the SLUMBER PARTY later that night.  Kerrie, Mr. T and T Jr. were giving me a ride home...thank you all!  

The ride to Kerrie's minivan was a fun convo with T Jr who was showing me every piece of his homemade trail mix.  It was 30 minutes of "Cereal!", "Chocolate peanut!", "Raisin!"  He'd show me the piece and I'd repeat it back to him "Chocolate peanut!"  It was cute.  He's such a HAM!

Pizza and cupcakes at Mel's house!  I brought Miss Goob with me and we all relaxed, laughed, and ate yummy food. :)  Even Goober had fun!  Although we couldn't stay overnight because Goober insisted on sleeping in her own crib...geez!

Me & Goober (holding her prunes, which would end up on my shirt)
Chelsea and I were dressed similarly!  Our "I Ran Seattle" shirts and brown glasses.
Chelsea, Amanda, Diana
Jess, me & Goober, Mel, Kerrie, Jill
Cupcake battle!  Amanda vs. Jill!
So ladies...when are we going to do this again?  
Same time next year, right?


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