June Race – Camano Crab Dash 5k

Last weekend I ran the Camano Island Crab Dash 5k! It was a beautiful hilly run with a great crowd. There were less crab costumes and hats than anticipated, but the runners were kind and encouraging. Locals came to the road to cheer folks on, and the race organizers did a fantastic job of course marking, water stations, and support after the race. This was a local gem I will most certainly do again!

The ever-inspiring MT did the 10k and tackled a nasty hill at mile 4-5 – called King Crab Hill. I was not sad that the 5k didn’t head that direction. We had some nice ups and downs but nothing traumatic. Here we enjoying the pre-race shade.

Crab Cakes

The race shirts are so good: a cartoon crab with a different brand of running shoe on each leg. Adorable. Post-race and feeling accomplished, we changed out of sweaty gear for the ride home.

get crabs

We stopped at Salt & Thistle Provisions in Stanwood to celebrate their grand opening where we met the Stanwood mayor, grabbed some presents for our families, enjoyed delicious coffee, and split the best carrot cupcake I’ve ever had. We also couldn’t resist taking home some cinnamon rolls right from the oven. What a fabulous June race!

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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.


Two for the Road

What it feels like to run with my ipod:

What I fear it will be like to run without my ipod:

What I feel like after I’m done running without my ipod:

My February race was the Two for the Road 5k at Whatcom Falls Park on Valentines Day. This is a race put on by the Greater Bellingham Running Club (GBRC) and is free to members. I am a sucker for a free race and the GBRC does a great job with set up, course marking, volunteers, and the trough. Also, what a lovely way to celebrate the heart and love by exercising and engaging in some self-care! It was muddy from a few days of rain, but not actively raining and not too cold.

I was sorta dreading the hills since this race goes through some decent ups and downs, but I was looking forward to a run with my best running buddy – MT – and my Mr. I left the ipod at home expecting some lovely company but instead both MT and Mr. ditched me (how rude!) to run their speedier paces. While I was a bit bummed to slog solo and without my necessary aural distraction (always podcasts or audio books – never music), I instead took it as a challenge to listen to my body, my breathing, and take in the sights and sounds of the first glimpses of spring. And, truly, there were no hard feelings!

Anytime I run without listening to my ipod it is an accident: I didn’t charge my ipod. I left it at home when on vacation. I broke my headphones and haven’t gotten new ones yet… or some other version of those circumstances. It happens occasionally but not often and I always grumble about it as I get started. It typically takes me about 1 block to totally forget I was upset about not having my podcasts and to become absorbed in everything else going on around me.

In particular, I find that when I run without listening to my ipod I pay much more attention to my breath – counting the ins and outs, intentionally regulating the number of strides I take on each breath in and out (rhythmic breathing method), and ensuring I get a good exhale to clear the CO2 out of my lungs which makes room for more oxygen and decreases the risk of side stitches. When I do this, the time and the miles seem to fly by – well, maybe not fly by – but it certainly isn’t the death march i always fear it will be. One-two-three (IN), one-two (OUT). Repeat.

But, I digress, back to the race. Despite stopping to help a fellow runner who may have misplaced her young son in the forest, the hills didn’t slow me down too much and I finished in a respectable time (for myself). I tacked on an extra .5mi while backtracking to help the woman look for her son and still managed to rival some of my slowest 5k times – and this was with hills!

Overall, a great race. I still prefer to run with my ipod and I still have to check the disgust that boils inside as I approach a hill… but it is a race I intend to do again next year and I’m happy to know there will be many more hilly, sans-ipod runs in the future.


Pop Pop – Poplar Run

 

I recent ran A Very Poplar Run in Boardman, OR.  A few years back it was rated a top ten most beautiful run (or something like that) in Runner’s World and it has been on my running bucket list ever since. Well, RW did not lie. IT WAS GORGEOUS and oh so fun.  The crisp air, the blue sky, the yellow and orange hues… it was just wonderful. Mr. got sick and couldn’t join which was a huge bummer, but I have a feeling I’ll want to do this one again. After hurting my foot pretty badly in the Bham Half just a few weeks prior I decided to opt out of the 15k and instead did the 5k.  Two friends hopped over from Salem,OR and we had a blast. Here is a smattering of pics from the event

in the poplarsyellow poplars preeepoplar mid run

 

rowsrowssyum

poplar  poplar winners poplars


Triumphant return to cooking

After living in the residence hall for a year working as a Resident Director, Mr. and I have returned to the land of adults.  I work a mere 40hr/week 8am-5pm job that, so far, is incredibly satisfying and interesting. This is such a delightful change of pace from the 60-80hrs/week 8am-10pm that ruled my life during the last academic year. My new job and apartment mean I have time and energy to re-invest in my marriage, myself, my friends, my family, and my cooking and running!

While I’ve done some baking and basic stuff in the kitchen since we moved in, it has been a busy summer/start of the academic year and I am only now feeling truly settled in. The blustery days and nights of fall have begun and it makes me want to get adventurous in the kitchen. I’m nursing a foot/knee injury that I obtained from running the Bellingham Bay Half Marathon in late September, so I have a few more weeks to wait until I can pick back up on after-work runs.  So, my next go-to for burning off the days’ frustration is cooking.  I feel the stress and strains of the day melt away as I chop, stir, and learn new techniques and recipes.

In order to get my culinary juices flowing I’ve turned to CookSmarts.com. I recently discovered this site and decided to try out a month subscription. At only $8, I am hoping this will be a jump-start to my return to the kitchen. After dorm food and eating out for most of the last year, my food ideas/planning skills are rusty. This site has lots of great features including meal plans, shopping lists of ingredients, videos, and general cooking resources.  So far, some of it seems geared a bit more towards cooking/kitchen novices – but maybe as I explore more that will change. I will continue to update you throughout this first month and let you know what I think. (I’m in no way affiliated with CookSmarts, nor am I being compensated for a review… this is just me tellin’ you what I think).

Last night I made salmon en papillote with a puree sweet potato soup.  SO freakin’ easy and tasty. The recipe said it would take 40 mins to make and that was spot on. We were sitting down to eat in about 37 minutes. First, I started the sweet potato soup.  A very simple, but delicious, dish. Saute onions and garlic in a sauce pan. Peel and chop up sweet potato – add to the sauce pan. Add chicken stock to cover potatoes, then boil till soft.  Use immersion blender, or regular blender to puree it all then put back in pan and salt/pepper to taste.  I used my food processor to puree which can get messy.. so start with the actual chunks then slowly add in the broth. It turned out like this:

puree

While the potatoes were boiling and softening I prepped the fish and threw it in the oven.  This process was relatively easy but making the papillote packet for the first time meant I had to pay attention.  Cooking en papillote is a technique where you wrap up the food in a little packet bake it.  This lets the food steam cook with whatever natural juices and/or added marinade/fats you add in… plus it is adorable for unwrapping.  I did not take pics of the whole process but, shit, you folks know how to use google!

My salmon fillets were apx .75lbs each.  I prepared the marinade as per the recipe (dijon, maple syrup, balsamic, oil)  and laid lemon slices along the top, then folded the papillote as directed.  It looked like a little calzone.  And, since it was salmon in there, I was technically in the low-cal calzone zone.

Baked at 400 for apx 12 mins (adjust as necessary for thickness of fillets) they turned out like this:

wrapped fishThe lemon and maple syrup scents filled the house when I opened the packets. The lemon slices make that fillet look huge when in reality it was a super tiny lemon 🙂

fish unwrapped

Add some sparkling water and a warmed mini sourdough loaf and we ate like kings and queens last night:

breadplated


July Stats

In July

  • 44.3  = Miles I ran (or 71.3 Kilometers, or 233,904 Feet, or 2,806,848 Inches, or 38.5 Nautical Miles).
  • 5 =  States I set foot in  (Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Washington – listed in alpha order not awesomeness order) 
  • 3 = Siblings I hugged (That is all of them – a feat considering we live in Washington, Iowa, and New Jersey)
  • 3,751 = Approximation of the times I kissed my newest family member (my nephew) (Sadly, I did not get to hug and love on my two intelligent, funny, kind, wonderful nieces)
  • 3 = Lbs lost (slow progress is the best kind when it comes to healthy weight loss!)
  • 1 = New jobs accepted  (can’t wait to start it!)
  • 14 = Days spent with Mr. (Summer traveling is fun but I miss him!)
  • 3 = Times I ate Dunkin Donuts (4 times I drank coffee from D&D – (There aren’t any in WA and I love them so! With all my travel I had to get as much as I could!)

New Adventures Ahead

I’ve been on the job hunt since last summer when I was finishing up my MEd in Student Affairs Administration..  My diligence about constantly applying places has come and gone but essentially I’ve been continuously looking for a year now. I’ve rewritten cover letters and resumes time and time again. I’ve had interviews both on the phone and in-person. I’ve swallowed my pride and called to ask why I wasn’t offered jobs and what I can do to improve only to hear I was their finest interview and it just boiled down to not having a PhD or experience doing this exact task for that exact office.

When asked me about the job search I simultaneously wanted to hug people and say thank you for your empathy and interest, and then reenact this scene from a TV show I love, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

Well, it is with great pleasure that I announce I have accepted a new position that is going to bring lots of new adventures to Mr. and I.  I have accepted a position as a Resident Director (RD), which, for you non-student affairs folks, means I’ll be supervising a staff of student Resident Assistants and managing one of the largest halls on our campus containing approximately 600 students. I was a Resident Assistant when I was in college and  I’ll be returning to the exact dorm that began my path to a career in student affairs.  Both Mr. and I are very excited.

We’ll live in the hall in a 1bdrm RD apartment in the dorm and we are in for all sorts of dorm living shenanigans.   We will have to down size quite a bit as we are currently living (filling) a three bedroom house. I’m definitely the pack-rat in this family so I’ll have a much harder time eliminating excess than Mr. will.  His inclination is to toss all belonging sans a few pieces of clothing every 6 months.  One of the many ways we balance each other  so well.

This new job will provide me with all the professional development and growth I was looking for in addition to guaranteeing I’ll have some pretty interesting stories to tell the rest of my life. Needless to say, the next several weeks will be very busy as I end my current position, start a new position, and host garage sales, pack, and move, but I’ll be around and so excited for all the changes ahead!