Thursday, October 30, 2008


Choose your superpower.
That's the theme of today's Take it and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge.

Clearly, I need a superpower. Preferably one that will guard me from those errant steps that I regularly take. For example, let's look at today. If I had a superpower perhaps I would not have tripped over the mat in front of the cheese stand at the store. If I had not tripped, my ankle would not be sore and swollen. If my ankle was not sore and swollen, I would not be contemplating my ankle icing schedule. Instead, I would be contemplating this evening's run.

Alas, I am clumsy. And not clumsy in that, "Woo hoo, look at the cute girl with her stilettos all a-tangle, bravely keeping her cell phone to her ear and her latte to her lips," kind of way.

Nope, I'm clumsy in that, "Ooh, that must have hurt," kind of way.

You know that saying, "Have a nice trip. See you next fall," that kids say when a pal (or arch enemy, whatever) trips on the playground? No? You never tripped over your very own feet while do nothing more strenuous than lolling about on the playground? You never sprained your ankle going up the stairs? You never repeatedly stumbled while trying to make it to first base during a game of kickball?

Oh. It was just me, huh?

In that case, no one else will be clamoring for the anti-clumsy superpower. So I will take it and make it my own.

My superpower? I'll take the invisible Clumsaguard, thus shielding my fragile joints from further pain and suffering, allowing me to run on, those voices shouting, "Have a nice trip . . . See you next fall . . ." fading quickly behind me.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008



I would like to notify whomever happens to be in charge that it is October. Not yet November and certainly not December. October. The month in which we upstate New Yorkers gloat about the exuberantly colorful foliage that our deciduous trees display each year. The month in which we put our flower beds to rest for the season, pick pumpkins and apples, enjoy brisk afternoons raking the fallen leaves.

When did it also become the month in which we have to shovel our walkways?

The view from my front door, 4:30 pm.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Back from the midwest.

Right. So, instead of running I spent the last few days participating in the extreme sport known as Competitive Conference Eating. A fringe sport, for sure. But one in which the competition truly is fierce. Fierce, I tell you.

For those of you not familiar with this sport, here's a rundown:

First and foremost, it involves eating 3 full meals and 2 hearty snack meals a day. Meals -- both full and snack -- must be eaten regardless of hunger. Breakfast will include fresh fruit, yogurt, scones, coffee and juice, whether or not one actually likes juice. All breakfasts must include juice!

The first snack will include a banana smoothie, coffee, granola bars and fruit-n-cheese kabobs. This snack will be followed by lunch. On day 1 of the competition, lunch will consist of a turkey croissant, pasta salad, apple, angle food cake and a soda. On day 2, things heat up a bit. Lunch will consist of a dinner-like entree of chicken, rice and some sort of shredded vegetable, rolls and butter balls, all finished by a tangerine mousse topped with whipped cream and chocolate flakes.

The afternoon snack is where the competition starts to separate. Be warned: This is also where the competition begins to get a little mean. Sharp elbows are everywhere. Your fellow competitors would just as soon scald you with coffee than allow you to grab the last brownie. Hold your position, maintain your focus. The true competitors will pile their plates high with veggies and hummus, snickerdoodles, brownies and chunks of cheese and bread. They will eat it all.

Those with the strongest desire to win, however, will make their mark at dinner. Dinner must be a full meal. It must be hearty. It must involve more food than the competitors can possibly eat. It must look overwhelming when set in front of the competitors -- and yet the competitors must eat it. And they will. Picture: A large plate of BBQ brisket, with fries, coleslaw, veggie kabobs, pickles and bread. And wine. Yes, definitely wine. And picture: A starter salad, filet mignon, roasted vegetables and seared potatoes, rolls and butter balls, chocolate mousse and wine. Yes, definitely wine.

Many competitors will find themselves with a DNF at this point. It will just be too much for them. Those who have paced themselves and who have the strength of character to carry on, however, will move into the final leg of the competition, also known as Travel Day. There is only one rule for Travel Day: Consume junk food.

That's about it. Crossing the finish line feeling flaccid and engorged, listless and exhausted from your efforts means you probably made a pretty good showing. You finished, at the very least.

Yes, if you are wondering, I finished. No embarrassing DNF here. I can wear the Competitive Conference Eating t-shirt with pride. Unfortunately, I don't know where I placed, although I'm sure I was right up there and probably tops in my age group.

Will I compete again? I can't answer that right now. I'm just glad to home, without too many injuries.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The heavy topic.

Today's Runners' Lounge Take it and Run Thursday topic is Running and Weight.

Weight is such a heavy topic. People have issues with it.

She's resorted to stating the obvious. Times must really be tough.

No, not tough, exactly. A little stressful, sure. I'm getting ready to head out of town for four days --sans toddler and husband. So I'm beyond busy and my nerves are a little frayed. But you've found time to play countless rounds of Word Challenge, haven't you? OK, yeah. I have. I consider it a distraction. A little stress relief. But my stress is not the point, here. We're talking weight. Well, then, get to it. And please say something worth reading. No one wants to be bored . . .

I'll do my best.

As I was saying, weight is a heavy topic. I've tried mightily to ignore the scale, to pretend that my weight just doesn't matter to me. Only, it does. I watched the scale inch up while I was pregnant and, after giving birth, I wanted those 34 pounds gone. Immediately.

For the most part, they are and it didn't take all that long for them to go. When I first started running after Conal was born, though, I was still carrying some extra weight and I didn't like that at all. But, running helped me to lose it and soon enough it was gone.

I am not what society or the running world would consider to be the perfect weight. But, it works for me. The weight I am now is where my body wants to be. My body works. It carried a baby for 9+ months. It gets me where I need to go. It runs fairly well. Sure, if I lost a few pounds I would undoubtedly be as fast as Deena Kastor. And now she's resorted to lies and exaggerations, people! But, I can't obsess about a few pounds. I have to live my life and I firmly believe that if you obsess about everything you put in your mouth (not that I don't believe in healthy eating, because I do) and every calorie that you are burning, you are not going to live a full, enjoyable life.

Since I have so little creativity today -- Really? -- let me resort to reprinting something that Diana wrote on her site. She recently posted about body issues and ended with this:

A wise woman (ok, my mom, but she was very wise!) always told me that no matter what your are at someone's goal weight. Appreciate that and let that motivate and guide you. You are already at a goal weight, the rest is gravy :)
That is so true.

Appreciate your body, it's full weight and all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mo-ti-vate, good times, c'mon!

Groan. OK, I know. I should just stop trying to be clever.

I'll do my best but I can't make any promises: I've been known to repeat bad jokes/bad puns/bad rhymes ad nauseum.

Anyway -- here's my thing. I'm participating in MizFit's Motivational Match-up and, as such, I have a match by the name of Diana, who has a very interesting blog. Check her out! We'll be motivating each other to reach our individual goals. Pretty cool, huh? I think so!

And, now, I will leave you with this:

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Reading, relegation and a long run.

First, thanks for your comments -- I needed and appreciated them. More than the comments, though, thanks for filling up my Reader! I feel much better -- less frumpy, more runner-like -- today.

That's what a little blog reading, going for a long run and relegating those jeans to the only-for-work-around-the-house-when-there's-no-chance-I'll-be-seen drawer can do for a gal. Yep, I got rid of the jeans, which meant I had to get a replacement pair and, I must admit, they are pretty dang cool. Thank you, Ann Taylor Loft.

The best thing about today? My long run. I mapped out an entirely new route for my 7.6 mile run. My goal was to run it at an easy 9:15-9:30 pace but I'm not only a terrible quoter, I'm also a rotten pacer when I don't have mile markers. And I had no mile markers on this new route. So, I ran it at an 8:47 pace. Faster than I had planned but I just felt great. I never felt like I was pushing, nor did I feel like my pace fell off at any point. It just felt comfortable.

The long run was a relief: I'm planning to run a 15k in 3 weeks and I needed to feel strong today to feel confident with my plan. I'm going to be out of town for a conference Thursday-Sunday so my running will be a little light and I doubt I will get in a long run next weekend. No problem. Today's run assures me that I'll be fine for the race (it's one I've run several times so I'm very familiar with the course. It's hilly but you know I love those hills!).

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have so little to read. There are no unread posts in my Google Reader. I finished the March '08 issue of Runner's World -- again. Oh, c'mon, like you haven't re-read a magazine in your life! I've read all the Internet articles about hamstrings that I can handle, thankyouverymuch. I'm waiting to be notified that the two books -- Strides by Benjamin Cheever and What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami -- I put on reserve at the library are available.

Yup. No running today so I'd love to read about some running. And yet I have nothing to read.

Big whoop, you say?

Well. Let me tell you what happened. I took Conal shoe shopping today for his first pair of big boy shoes. Walking to the store, I caught a glimpse of myself reflected in a store window. I looked quite momified: Wearing those unflattering jeans that I am going to get rid of right now; carrying the purse overflowing with toddler paraphernalia (sippy cup, Cheerios, board book, wipes) and wrinkled receipts that have been shoved randomly here and there, just waiting for a gust of wind to help them break free of the confines of a messy handbag; and wearing the too-big, inappropriate-for-the-weather coat that did absolutely nothing to counter the unflattering fit of the jeans. (Truth be told, the coat is probably as unflattering as the jeans but I love it so and will not part with it. Ever.)

So, I caught a glimpse of myself, felt a little dowdy, and then it happened. They strolled right in front of me. The runners. The Vassar men's cross country team -- some of them limping, some of them walking with the chin-up stride of someone who only an hour earlier set a PR -- walked off their bus and into the bagel shop. Right in front of me. Practically mocking* my momified non-running state.

I drove home and thought about going for a run just to show them and then I remembered that a) I promised myself a day off after two of running and b) Owen is away all day and so there is no one to watch Conal while I run. OK, so I wasn't going to run. I could at least read about it.

I read the few posts that showed up in Google this afternoon and now here I am.

I have not shown them. Not that going running would have shown them. Nor would reading about running, really. And, honestly, there wasn't anything to show them.

Just me. Sometimes I need to show me.

Show me that I can look all of my 38 years and still be a decent, dedicated runner.

Since I can't read my way out of momification, I'll have to do the only other thing that seems to make sense in this situation: Go to my closet and get rid of those unflattering jeans. And that pair of corduroys. And that awful-length skirt that I've been hanging on to for far too long.

And then I'll put my feet up in anticipation of tomorrow's long run.

* * * *

*Yes, I do know they weren't mocking me. I know it was all in my head. I know I should run my own race. And yet, their presence made it oh-so-obvious that I am old and cannot handle running every single day and they are young, their best days probably still ahead of them.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Friday Yummies: Let's Give It Up for Eggplant.

First, let me say that this dish was a hit with the toddler. Total hit. He ate everything that was on his plate and a lot that was on mine. In other words, he couldn't get enough eggplant, which is great because eggplant has lots of fiber and is a good source of potassium, manganese, copper and vitamins B1 and C.

Sauteed Eggplant and Pasta

2 tbsps olive oil
1 medium eggplant, peeled and chopped into 1-inch cubes
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. chopped basil
4 medium carrots
1/2 c. sundried tomatoes, julienned
1/2 c. roasted red peppers, sliced
1 can chopped tomatoes (don't drain)

Warm oil over medium-high heat. Add eggplant and sprinkle with salt. Cook, stirring, until the eggplant starts to brown and soften, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and add basil, carrots, red peppers, both tomatoes. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or so. Adjust seasoning, as needed.

Meanwhile, boil pasta. I use Barilla Plus rotini, but use whatever kind you like. When the pasta is cooked to your liking, drain it and add to the eggplant. Mix together and cook over low heat for a few minutes to let the sauce combine well with the pasta. Serve hot, sprinkled with freshly grated Romano or Parmesan cheese.


Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Quotation Marks.

Running quotes and sayings . . . the theme today for Take it and Run Thursday at Runners' Lounge.

They are looking for our favorites; the ones that inspire us, the ones, I guess, that get us running.

I have two. But before I get to them, let me offer this preface:

I am a terrible quoter. Sayings often morph in my mind and end up a little different than when they started. And I fail at giving credit. I have no idea who the Big, Creative Brains behind my two favorite sayings are. But they rock, I know that.

And, so. On with the post!

"Run your own race."

You've heard it here before, you've seen it in comments I've left on other sites, but it bears repeating: Run your own race. If I had a mantra, that would be it. I repeat it when I am literally running a race and even when I am not. When I am simply -- or maybe not so simply -- trying to push aside those negative thoughts that creep into my mind during a run. Or when I start to compare other things in my life with those of the people around me. Run your own race. Those are the words. They are so right-on.

"I run because I freaking love it."

Or something like that. This is a new one for me. I read it recently in Runner's World but because I borrow the magazine from the library, I can't say for sure whether it was an old issue or a newer one (I've been known to check out old issues and re-read them just for fun!). And, unfortunately, I don't remember who said it -- a young woman, ultra-marathoner. But her name? Escapes me. I loved what she said, though, and when I read it I immediately responded, "Me, too!" I run because I freaking love it. Those words can turn a crappy run into one that makes sense. Those words help me to remember why I'll push hard on a particular run, or why I'll take time off to baby an aching leg. I run because I freaking love it. And I want to continue to do it for years to come. So, I try to do it smartly. And I'm grateful that I can do it at all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

No running.

I had planned to take yesterday off because of the leg pain and I did. I had also planned to run today, thinking the pain would be gone, but I did not. The pain was gone, until I went out for a walk around the neighborhood, pushing Conal in his stroller. The pain wasn't bad, but I definitely felt a little twinge in the hamstring/back-of-knee area when I walked up the hills. So, no running today.

Lest you fear that I led a day sans accomplishments, know this: I activated my new cell phone this morning. Yes! I am now connected for the first time in over a month -- since Conal did who-knows-what to the old cell phone. Perhaps he threw it in the trash? Flushed it down the toilet? Buried it in the bed of sad and brittle-because-they-are-really-really-dead-now Blacked Eyed Susans? I just don't know. And after the whole remote-melting-in-the-fireplace episode I have learned to put nothing past that tricky little 16-month-old dude.

The Case of the Disappearing Phone actually ended well for me because I was able to upgrade (free!) to a camera phone. I know. I am quite a few generations behind in this whole technology thing. But, to me, this is good stuff!

For as long as I'm able to keep the phone away from those sticky fingers, that is.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Some fun, some pain.

I've been so busy enjoying this awesome October long weekend (among other things, I took my own advice and made a yummy apple pie) that I haven't had a chance to post a thing.

But now it's dark, the Giants are losing and I'm back on the computer.

I ended the week with a fast 4-mile run on Friday and then took Saturday completely off. What a smart thing to do! We had a fun day. I took Conal to the Apple Festival where I bought a peck of apples (thus, the apple pie) and some cider donuts. On Sunday, I went for a leisurely 6-mile run and it was partly great, partly not so. My hamstring, or some ligament in the hamstring area, was acting up. It was weird: I only felt it when I was running uphill. On the flat parts, downhills and even the slight inclines, I didn't feel a thing. On the real uphills, though? Eek! I had pain.

I stopped to stretch, twice, but it didn't really help. After the run, I iced my leg, rolled it out and took some Advil. We spent the evening at my parents' house and I didn't feel any pain at all while I was there, nor did I feel any when we got home.

This morning I woke up feeling fine so I decided to test my leg on an easy 3.6-mile run. Same thing as on yesterday's run: Pain on the uphills. So, tomorrow will be a complete off day. I'm not bummed because I have a meeting tomorrow night that I need to prepare for, and I have a new book project that I should start working on. I'm going to look at any forced layoff as a good thing for other areas in my life. Although, I do hope that my leg feels good enough to run on Wednesday! I don't want to waste this great October weather.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Friday Yummies: The "Let's bake!" edition.

Fall is apple season and there is no better use for apples than to make apple pie. Other than dipping them in caramel sauce, that is. Or peanut butter. Or just biting into a crisp one for a mid-afternoon snack. Or baking them with maple syrup, cinnamon and chopped pecans. Or . . .

Enough! My point is that now is a perfect time to bake an apple pie. And so, this week, I give you my taste-tested, family-approved recipe for apple pie. It's a combination of many different recipes and a lot of trial and error. Yes, that's right, I've lived through the errors so you don't have to!

Apple Pie


2-1/4 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
4 tbsps. sugar
2 sticks of unsalted butter, cold and cut into smallish pieces
6 tbsps. water
1 egg yolk

Put flour, salt and sugar in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add butter. Process for about 10-15 seconds. Pour mixture into a bowl and sprinkle half of the water over it and add egg yolk. Start to mix it together and add more of the water as you need to. I like to use a big wooden spoon to mix the dough. Don't over mix -- once it starts to come together, gather it up with your hands and press it into a ball. Wrap it in plastic and put it in the refrigerator as you prepare the apples.

The apples

1/4 c. brown sugar, packed
1/4 c. white sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
7-8 apples: Use two kinds, one that holds its shape while baking and one that will break down and turn to applesauce. I typically like to mix 2-3 McIntosh apples with 5-6 Cortland, Empire or Braeburn apples.
2 tbsps. corn starch

Peel, core and slice apples to desired thickness. Put in a bowl and sprinkle sugars, spices and corn starch over them. Mix well so all the apples are covered.

**When I am feeling adventurous, I'll add about a half cup of dried cranberries and some chopped nuts (almonds or pecans) to the apples. Both give the pie a little extra oomph!

Putting it all together

Now that you have the apple mixture ready, preheat the oven to 450.

Take the dough out of the fridge and divide it into two equal balls. Roll one out for the bottom of the pie and place it in a pie dish. Pile the apples on the bottom crust, heaping them in the center.

Roll the other dough ball out for the top of the crust. Carefully place it over the apples, letting some of it hang over the edge of the dish. Cut off any big chunks of extra dough and then go around the dish and pinch the bottom and top crusts together. I like to roll the two together and then crimp the edges.

Cut four slits in the center of the top crust, and then sprinkle a little bit of sugar over the whole pie. Put the pie on a cookie sheet and place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then, turn the oven down to 350 and bake for another 4o minutes. If the crust is not yet golden brown, bake for 10 minutes longer. The exact time will depend on your oven. And, if you add extras, like the cranberries or nuts, you will need a little more time

Cool and serve the pie with a dollop of freshly whipped cream. What could be better?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


I've been tagged. Am I now "It?" I guess so.

Yes, *aron*, in all her warm-weather running glory, tagged me so I'm tagging a few lovely running bloggers:

  1. Kara
  2. Jessica
  3. J
  4. Betsy
  5. American Girl
  6. Sarah
  7. Merathon
  8. Jeanne
  9. Robin
  10. Roisin
(Sorry if you've already been tagged! Just consider yourself well loved!)

Now you all can tag 10 people and write 6 random facts about yourself! Here are my 6:
  1. I played softball -- Classie Lassies -- in 7th grade. During that season of great athletic embarrassment, I had my front tooth knocked out by a fly ball. Fly softball, mind you.
  2. My parents were going to name me Pilar until my dad said that kids would call me "PeePee" because my initials would be P.P. They decided on Felice and, in elementary school, the kids called me "Fleas." Yeah, that was so much better than being called "PeePee."
  3. I didn't learn to drive a car until I was 30 and I moved back upstate from NYC. My husband taught me. Those days will never make the highlight reel of my life.
  4. If I didn't fear that my teeth would fall out I would eat jellybeans all day long.
  5. I acted in "Bye, Bye, Birdie" in both high school and college.
  6. Twice, I quit a job without having another one lined up. Twice, it was the best thing for my sanity. Twice, it worked out very well for me.
That's it. Those are my random randoms.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I know better.

Oh, this cool weather running. I should know how to handle it by now. After all, I've lived in upstate New York for the greater portion of my life: College in Massachusetts, seven years in the Big Apple but, otherwise, I've been here. Right here, living through the seasons, understanding how they work. Knowing that the October weather can as easily call for a tank top as it can a down coat.

And yet --

Even with this knowledge ingrained in me, I cannot dress for cool weather runs.

I know this: You should dress for temperatures that are 15-20 degrees warmer than it is.

And this: Cotton t-shirts should be banned from a runner's wardrobe.

However, I do this: I pull on cotton yoga pants and a cotton long-sleeved t-shirt before heading out for a run in 59 degree weather.

I know better. I do it anyway. And I can explain.

Today was a glorious (and I don't use that word lightly) fall day. The leaves here are slowly changing and the sun seemed to catch every one of them at the perfect angle, reflecting glistening reds, oranges, yellows and greens. It was color and sun all around. The temperature hovered in the mid-to-high 60s, until the sun started to go down and took the warm temps with it.

It was then that I got a chill. When I got home from a full day of being out, the house was cold. In the two hours between getting home and getting ready for my run, I couldn't warm up. So, when I dressed for my run, I did so foolishly. I put on the low-tech, weather-inappropriate gear.

The first five minutes of the run were great. And then I started to sweat. And sweat some more. And feel really warm. Too bad I hadn't thought to layer. Too bad my t-shirt was water-absorbing cotton. Too bad my yoga pants were so wrong for a run that I don't even have words to describe them.

Lesson learned yet again. For my next run, I will be smarter. I will put my experience to good use.

At least, I hope I will.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sister, sister.

Thanks to everyone who has wished my sister well after she was injured last week. Her shoulder has been immobilized and will stay that way for 2-3 weeks. She's going to a shoulder specialist at the end of this week to have things checked out again. Apparently, her shoulder was dislocated, which strained her ligaments. So, she's out for the rest of her volleyball season, can't drive, can't work and couldn't take her SATs this past Saturday.

But, she's feeling OK so that is good!

What else? Do you want a glimpse of the destruction a seemingly sweet and innocent toddler can cause? Pop over here. That's all I've got. This destruction thing takes a lot out of me.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Race Report: Albany Race for the Cure 2008

When my alarm went off Saturday morning, all I wanted to do was stay in bed. My brother-in-law and his wife had come up from Long Island the night before and we had hung out eating pizza and chocolate chip cookies, having some drinks, and enjoying each other's company until after midnight. So, I went to bed late and had a fitful night's sleep. Saturday morning, I was tired.

But I got up. I ate a slice of bread with peanut butter on it and drank water and coffee. I took a hot shower, dressed, ran The Stick over my legs and we hit the road only about 7 minutes later than I wanted to. Not bad.

There was no day-before packet pick-up so I had to get my bib and chip that morning. I left my husband and son at the parking garage and planned to meet them before I warmed up. That would have been such a nice plan.

Instead, I made my way to the registration table, which was bedlam. There was so little organization and the line for pre-registered runners was out of hand. Out. Of. Hand. It was not the way I wanted to start my race experience. I walked and walked and walked and walked and finally found the end of the line and stood. And seethed. This is insane. You will never have a good race at this rate. Nothing is going right. I tried to stop seething. I chatted with fellow runners. I stretched. I did whatever I could not to feel annoyed at the situation. But that was tough.

After almost 30 minutes in line, I got my bib and chip and I was off. I didn't even wait for the t-shirt. Bummer! At that point, the scheduled start time was about 10 minutes away, but there were so many people in line that I doubted the race would start on time.

I met up with my husband and son, gave him the brief story as I pinned on my bib and clipped on my chip. Then I took off to find the porta-potty and as soon as I was done I had to dash to the starting line. I never had a chance to warm up, which I always do before my races.

Standing at the starting line, I told myself to focus on my goal, not on what seemed to be going wrong. 24 minutes. You can do it.

The whistle was blown (what? where was the gun?) and off we went, only a few minutes late.

It was a slow uphill start, with lots of super-slow runners causing traffic jams. Yes, that was annoying but it also kept me from going out too fast, which is what I did in my last race. After the hill we ran through a straight-away and then into Washington Park. There was decent crowd support as we ran through the twists and turns of the park. I went through the first mile in 7:46. Right where I wanted to be. I felt great. Some people passed me and I fought the urge to go with them. Run your own race. I cruised up some of the inclines and navigated the turns with no problem. Mile 2: 15:16. Excellent!

One mile left. I was still feeling good, running strong. Hold your pace. As I exited the park, I knew that there was only about half a mile to go. I was so close. I looked at my watch and thought, "You can trip and fall and you would still finish in under 24 minutes!"

Luckily, I did not trip and I did not fall. But I did finish in under 24 minutes. I crossed the finish line in 23:27!

Happy, happy, happy, happy! I beat my goal by a lot and that was so exciting! The best part, though, was how good I felt doing it. I felt like I was running a strong race. Sure, I felt like I was going to puke at the end. But, that's a 5k for you! My legs were fine after the race and fine today. I went for a nice long, leisurely walk this afternoon to stretch them out and they just feel like they are ready to race again.

So, I will have to start looking for another goal race. I may even have to set a new goal . . .

Enjoy what's left of the weekend!

* * * * *

My stats!
Finish time: 23:27
Pace: 7:33
Age-graded %: 63.41
Gender place: 40/1450
Age-group place (35-39F): 2 (!!!)/139

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Yummies: Simple soup

I rarely use recipes for soups. This is one that I made last weekend when we had company and since it received good reviews I wrote down what I had done so I could replicate it in the future.

Simple Autumn Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
4 links Italian sweet sausage, casings removed -- or about half a pound of bulk sausage
1 Vidalia onion, chunked
8 white mushrooms, chopped
3 large carrots, sliced in chunks
2 cans diced tomatoes (I use no salt added)
1c. frozen corn
3c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
(NOTE: all amounts are approximate)

Heat olive oil in a dutch oven (use medium heat). Add onion and stir for about two minutes. Add mushrooms and stir for another two minutes. Add sausage and, as it browns, break it up into small pieces. Continue to stir and cook until the sausage is lightly browned and cooked through.

Add the carrots, diced tomatoes and chicken broth. Stir and bring to a light boil. Reduce heat and add the corn. Cover and let the soup simmer over LOW heat for about an hour. Longer is fine, just make sure that the heat is on low. After the soup has been simmering for a little while, maybe 20 minutes, give it a taste and see if it needs salt or pepper. Mine needed a little of both, but little else.

This recipe makes 4-5 hearty entree-sized servings.

** You could also use turkey sausage or vegetarian sausage in this recipe. I'm very interested in trying it with the veggie sausage so if anyone has any recommendations on veggie sausage, please share!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, October 2, 2008


This week's Take it and Run Thursday topic is Life Lessons Learned from Running.

There have been so many!

But, for me, the biggest lesson that I have learned from running is that I am tougher than I think I am. I can push it when I need to. I can withstand some pain. I can run even when my lungs start to burn, my feet start to ache, and my mind is telling me to just stop already.

Don't get me wrong: I am not tough.

I am simply tougher than I think I am. Those runs when I haven't given up even though I've had the blahs, when I've gritted my way to the finish line even though my ITB was on fire, when I've powered my way up that hill that always seemed too daunting, or when I've run mile after mile over that rocky trail as the sun beat down making me worry that I would, truly, melt like the Wicked Witch of the West, have all proven that I can take it.

And there have been plenty of times when I've needed to take it, and I thank my running for teaching me that I can. Surgery? I can take it. Pregnancy? I can take it. Labor and delivery? Bring it on, I can take it! Terrible sucky job? I can take it. No job? I can take it.

You get the picture.

I believe that running makes the rest of life easier, because it helps you see how tough you really are. A good life lesson.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

And then, somedays, everything just seems to suck.

Like, for example, today.

I woke up with a headache (Hey, crappy weather, I blame YOU). I couldn't shake it. Baby Bookworms didn't help (Did I really think that singing "Wheels on the Bus" would ease my pain?). Coffee (Why must you fail me?) didn't help. The worst: My afternoon run, the run I had been looking forward to since I ended my run yesterday, didn't help. Nope, not at all.

In fact, my run sucked. Just sucked. I barely made it through 3.75 miles. When I finished, I was drenched. My legs were tired. My head was still pounding. And I was hungry, even though I had eaten plenty.

UGH. That's about all I have to say to that.

Except . . . something else happened. My sister is on her high school volleyball team. She was sidelined a little earlier in the season with a hamstring injury. She's been back for a bit and tonight Owen, Conal and I went to see her play for the first time since she's been back.

She was playing well. And then it was over. She dove for a ball and landed wrong on her outstretched arms. The next thing we knew she was out of the game, back in the trainer's room, being evaluated. The game ended and we met up with her, now with an immobilized arm all wrapped in ice. She was on her way to the ER.

I'm hoping that her arm is OK and it is nothing majorly bad. But, whatever it is, it won't erase the disappointment I saw on her face. She'll miss tomorrow's game, for sure. And possibly the rest of the season. I'm bummed for her.

It makes my crappy run seem like nothing!

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