December Recap

A powerful month. Having reached many goals before December, I decided to raise the bars to challenge myself further. I was within 20 miles of my original goal of 365 miles in 2015 so set a new goal to reach 400 miles.

Inspired by the streaking success of MT, I just tried to get out as often as possible and run (usually at least 3 miles). I spent 10 days in the midwest for the holidays and got out for several delightful runs on both familiar and new streets and trails. I reached 400 miles by Christmas Eve and didn’t bother looking back.

dec

I looked at my totals on Dec 30th after my run and realized I could make it to 75 miles in the month of December if I ran 7.5 miles on New Years Eve. The whole thing felt auspicious and I couldn’t resist. The run was long and cold but was so amazing. At certain parts I focused so intently on my feet and my breathing the world seemed to melt away. At other parts I reflected and thought about my year and my future and barely noticed as the sidewalk moved under me.  75 miles in a month is most certainly a record for me, and one that gives me obscene amounts of courage and inspiration.

2016 is going to be remarkable. I can feel it.

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November Recap

November was a good month for my running. 47.1 miles and a drop in my average pace. As you can see from the details below, I didn’t run the first week of November. My motivation was nil, my energy and health were poor… but, I pulled out of the funk and hit it hard the last couple weeks.I was inspired by MT’s goal to run 3mi/day and I just tried to lace up and get out as often as possible.

November

November brought my yearly mileage total to 347.9. As soon as it was clear my goal of 365 was a goner, I set the new goal of making it to 400 miles! My race total came to 14 with the Fowl Fun Run.


Glide

I sweat. A lot. No, I don’t think you heard me. A LOT.

As such, I live and die by my body glide. I ran for almost a year before I went and bought some. Given the areas that chafe, I felt like a teenage girl buying tampons for the first time… I was sorta embarrassed that I needed it. As a curvier gal, I feared my need was related to my weight or shape. BUT, it was like a magical door opening and once I owned it and started preaching the gospel to others I found out SO many people – of all shapes, sizes and genders – use it! I am no longer shy to buy and in fact I typically own more than one stick at a time. During summer months when wearing a skirt/dress to work and I just can’t bring myself to wear the spanx, it comes in handy to have and makes life so much more comfortable.

What running tip or trick did you learn and think “how did I survive not knowing/doing this?!”


May Recap

Well, it had to happen sooner or later. I’ll come right out and say it: I did not make my monthly goal in May. But but but… as you’ll recall, I’ve banked up some extra miles over the last few months so I am still on track for my goal. I got very close but illness and house guests and the end of the academic year all came barreling down on me in the last week of the month.

I was so bummed out by the last two weeks of May I couldn’t get it together to to my May recap. All I have to say to May is:

In total I logged 29.1 miles in May and ran one 5k – the Haggen to Haggen.

may

I was still super sick with the death cold until mid-June, but after some antibiotics and the end of the academic year I was able to get some rest and I’m back at my running now. I certainly have some lost mileage to make up for in the next few weeks but thankfully the weather has been perfect and I am feeling motivated.


Race-iversary

sailing

Check it, I went sailing last week. First time ever!

Today marks the three year anniversary to my very first 5k – the Whatcom Literacy Council 5k in 2012.

I missed writing about my runniversary in April, but it was not lost on me that I have now been a runner for 3 years. I’ve been reflecting on my journey and progress lately, so this raceiversary is ripe with feels. That first race was so daunting. I was scared and nervous milling around the start line.  Mr. came to cheer me on, but I felt so alone. The people, the process, it was all very foreign.

I made the usual rookie mistakes during the race and I’d never run on anything but very flat pavement. The race tackled some decent hills and was 90% on gravel and dirt trails. It was surprising how different it was to run with people around. I’d only ever run alone at that point, and the whole thing made me feel exposed and vulnerable and watched.

When I crossed the finish line, I don’t think I realized quite what I’d done. I knew I’d run my first race, but what I didn’t know was what I’d gotten myself into longer term. The bug really bit me quite hard and I signed up for race after race for the next 6 months. It was an enthusiastic race season and I started to push out of comfort zones with distance and location, trails and obstacles, books and podcasts.

I’ve been sick for the last few weeks – really down for the count with some awful flu/cold – and I’m only just now starting to run again. I’ve been half itching to get out and half dreading hitting the pavement and finding out how taking almost three weeks off had destroyed so much of the progress I’ve been enjoying this year. But instead, last night I found myself beaming ear to ear as I plodded along. It was such a joy to be out again in the sun treading well-worn side walks and passing familiar houses. I didn’t go far, and I didn’t go fast, but I was surprised at how great it felt.

Running feels truly integrated into my life these days. The last few weeks have been really rough forcing myself to stay in and rest. I’ve missed tons of great weather but I’ve also missed the physical and mental release. Without running, I think I might curl up in a ball and wither away.

I am running my June 5k this weekend and I’ll most certainly be thinking about my raceiversary and how far I’ve come, and how far I’ve gone.


My Mother The Queen

mommawesome

I couldn’t be more proud of my tenacious and curious Mother. I was graced with a family of learners and surrounded by smart people who asked questions about the world around us. The very definition of a life-long learner, my mom instilled in me curiosity, patience, and a deep passion for knowing.

When I endeavored to complete grad school, my mother was my champion (along with so many others). When the coin flipped and she faced the challenge of grad school, I was honored to listen to her puzzle through problems and talk about the ups and downs of classes. She finished her Master of Education degree almost one year ago and I am still glowing with pride and awe for the diligence and tenacity she exhibited in her pursuit of the degree. Having taught others most of her adult life (students and other teachers), she has always stayed abreast of current issues and needs in educating, and best practices and pedagogy. To me, and I believe her as well, the degree was a formalized acknowledgement of her lifetime of striving to be better, do better, and know more.

mama12

mama17

She was recently given an award from her primary professional organization for Outstanding Master’s Thesis. Her research was well reasoned and her passion for students and teachers shone through her work. Here she was, many months after completing school, doing more work; preparing a presentation, creating a research poster, spending time and money to disseminate this work she literally put blood, sweat, and tears into (the blood was from paper cuts!). Momma presented on her research to her professional peers and has no doubt, from this research and her decades of work in the field, made a lasting impact on teaching and the lives of those lucky enough to be in her tutelage.

My mother is always busy and so am I. We don’t live terribly far apart but it is still somehow difficult to make the time to spend together. This year, we vowed to get together more often and have, so far, done a pretty good job of seeing each other every few weeks. We’ve seen comedy shows, gardened, ate food, celebrated birthdays and holidays.. and regardless of the venue or activity I always find myself saying good bye and feeling so fortunate to learn from a woman so full of grace, humility, joy, and love. She and I can talk so pity to the companion who tries to keep up with us or interject (sorry to our husbands!). Basically, I love her. And, I wanted to brag about my awesome mom.


I can’t help it, eating is my hobby

I’ve made a few awesome things over the last months that I want to share.  In no particular order, here are some kitchen hits:

“Carrot” Cupcakes

carrot cakes

For Mr.’s birthday, I made cupcakes! Mind you, he did not ask me to make them – he doesn’t much enjoy sweets (weirdo). I saw a picture and decided to get Pinterst-y. Also, it was near Easter and my mom’s birthday and I hadn’t busted out my new cupcake making kit from my Reddit Secret Santa. It was had a blast making these “carrot” cake cupcakes. In typical fashion, I loved the idea but then got bored/impatient on the execution. Oh well, they turned our adorable and they tasted great.

Apple Peach Pie

PieCollage

For Pi Day (3.14), I couldn’t resist making a pie. Apple peach to be exact. After seeing a billion pies at the grocery store and almost buying one, I had a hankering and wanted something homemade. This whole process was last-minute and peaches are not in season but canned peaches worked perfectly. As I often do, I cut the sugar – I believe this gives me full permission to eat pie for breakfast. I did and it was delish.

Falafel

Falafelcollage

I like falafel but don’t eat it terribly often. When I have in the past, I used a package mix for the falafel and it is always fine. This time I decided to whip up my own in the food processor and it was totally worth it. I didn’t use a single recipe so I can’t link you anything, but rather I looked at a bunch of different recipes and improvised base on what I had in the fridge/cupboard. Two things I did that I believe made these terrific is that #1: I doubled the amount of cilantro/parsley of almost any recipe I found. And, b) I used 1/2 chickpeas 1/2 lentils. I went with patties instead of balls since I don’t deep fry and this makes them more evenly cooked. I pan fried them to get them brown then baked them till heated through.

Irish Soda Bread

soda bread1

 

I can’t let St. Patrick’s Day pass without some Irish soda bread. Growing up on the south side of Chicago in a severely Irish neighborhood, soda bread is a staple. I remember making it as a group/class project in elementary school every year. Nowadays, if left to my own devices, I would eat this whole loaf alone. To prevent just such an occurrence, I instead brought it to work and fed others. Several coworkers had never eaten Irish soda bread, so it was fun to share this classic.

Last night, I made mini chocolate chunk cookies. I’ll post about those later…. Until then, Vivian Vance as Ethel Mertz said it best: