Monday, November 18, 2013

Revelations from Jury Duty and some running stories

Recently I was summoned for jury duty.  My first reaction was...what a drag!  I felt I was too busy at work to be able to give the time.  My supervisor even said she would write a note for me and my supervisor's supervisor said she would write a note for me so I could "get out of it."  My gut was saying, just do it, what's the big deal.  So I went ahead and committed to it.  I'm glad I did.  Even though the jury duty itself was extremely uneventful, the time I spent in the "jury pool" gave me some things to think about.  I was only there for 2 days and I was given a 90 minute lunch each day.  I had to sit in a big room in the 11th floor with huge windows and a good view.  I was able to take one 15 minute break a day.  I brought my book, a few snacks and some water.  I never did get to be on a jury.  What I realized in those 2 days is that I am extremely regimented, overly busy and do not take time each day to relax and take a break from what I am doing.  I don't usually take a lunch at work, instead I eat at my desk and the only break I really take is going for morning coffee with some co-workers.  I workout before work and I rush to catch the bus, (I am very thankful that my husband often drives me to the bus in the morning as it is a mile away and the ride saves me a good 15 minutes).  While on the bus I am usually catching up on emails and such.  Although lately I am trying to read my book on the bus to try and relax.  Once I get home from work I usually have to go to the store to get groceries to cook dinner, eat, walk the dogs, clean up, get my lunch together for the next day and then it is time for bed.  How do people do this with children????? But being on jury duty, I actually had time to relax and read an entire book.  It usually takes me 3-4 weeks to read a book, but I had the luxury to read all day next to a window in a comfortable chair.  During lunch, I had time to eat and space out, run a few errands and do some things that I think about but never feel I have time to do.  I forgot all about work for those 2 days and really enjoyed myself.  Who knew?  I renewed my library card and checked out a book.  Our library here in Seattle is quite cool.
 There is quite a red theme in the library....

The relaxation of jury duty did not last long.  I was back at work the following day, eating lunch at my desk etc.  However, I am reading my book on the bus now.  Since I checked a book out of the library I had to read it faster than usual since I have to return it on time or else...the library police comes after me.

Owen designed the Cougar Mt 20mile/50k shirts and because of that we received a complimentary entry to the race.  We decided to run the 20 miler for something different and also because the following weekend we were signed up for Carkeek 12 hour.  The 20 miler was fun!  I started trail running at Cougar Mt back in 2005 and had done my first trail series there which included my first ever half marathon.  I had heard some people saying that they were going out for another loop as I stood at the finish line panting, bloody and thinking how I just finished my first half marathon, the farthest I had ever run.  I could not believe what i had heard.  So of course I inquired and they told me that they were training for White River 50 miler.  WHAT!  I was flabbergasted.  I was also intrigued.  So I did some research and began my training.....
Having a great time at Cougar, photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama

Owen killin' it at Cougar, photo credit: Glenn Tachiyama
The following weekend Owen and I headed out to Carkeek to run in some loops for 12 hours. Thanks to Matt and Kerri Anne Stebbins and Seven Hills Running, Carkeek was on!  In all honesty, I was sort of looking to use the fitness that I gained for the Bear but did not use.  I hadn't run Carkeek since 2009 and had tied for the course record with 54.03 miles.  I had done a few calculations to figure out how many loops I would have to run in a hour to break the course record and just see how the day would go.  I felt great actually and the 12 hours went by so fast.  I ate croissants and turkey and cheese wraps all day and had really good energy.  That all paid off and I ran 56.73 miles for a new course record and first place and Owen ran his best distance, 53.73 miles for first male!  We were both excited about it and each won a stuffed animal dragon.  What a great prize!  We gave one to friend Eric Purpus who had a very cute daughter who could have fun a huge stuff dragon.
Stuffed dragons!  Great idea!
So what now?  Just some fun running with the dogs in the ever changing weather with the season change.  One of my favorite things in the world is watching the dogs have the time of their lives running on the trails, tongue hanging out with big smiles.  It warms my heart!
Who can resist these faces

Cool fog

My heart melts

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A year in review, including The Bear 100

It has been a long time since I updated this blog.  I didn't really think anyone ever read it but then a few people commented that I hadn't written for a while, so here it goes.
A whole year has gone by and lots has happened!  Lots of really great things!  I started a new job, I really experimented with my nutrition hoping to cure my GI ailments, approached running in a new way and with that in mind, all the races I did this year where races that I had never done before.  Plus a whole bunch of other things, but I will write only about a few.
With the surgery behind me and my nerve pain much reduced, I was able to do much more running than just relying on cross training.  I really enjoyed cross training however getting up at 4:30 everyday to workout at 5 AM was not sustainable for me.  So it was good timing that I was going to try something else.  The running year started with a solid run at Bridle Trails 50k, a very fun night run on bridle trails.  This course is known for its mud and manure, however this year it was so cold and had been for several weeks that there was no mud, manure yes, but mud no.  SO it was much easier to run and much easier to avoid the manure.  Having never done this race before, I have no idea if it is more fun to slide around in the mud.  I was hoping to break 5:30 and wound up doing a 4:44.  That really surprised me.  However, I am quite sure that I out-ran my fitness level and the recovery did set me back a bit.  Owen told me that if I beat his best time there he would buy me dinner.  I tried hard, but did not succeed, he still had me by 10 minutes.  But he was there to greet me at the finish line and because  I was first woman, he took me to dinner anyway.  That was January.

Nothing too eventful happened in February unless you count going snowshoeing for Owen's birthday and near catastrophe struck.  I won't go into details, but it was the scariest moment for me in whole life thus far.  And all I can say is thank the heavens that he is still alive.  Here is something else positive from his birthday, the homemade cake.

Then in March I blew my hamstring but still raced the Gorge 50k on it and the entire race sucked for me because of it, enough said, let's move on.

Then came many many months of lots of running.  I upped my weekday runs to 10+ miles 3 days a week with 2 days of yoga and some kettle bell workouts.  The summer was incredible and we were able to do so many fantastic runs.  We went to Mt. Rainier, even took my parents there, the PCT, alpine lakes region, etc.  And our land lady was kind enough to build us a deck so we spend lots of time recovering on the deck and eating, BBQ-ing and all that goes with that.
Melakwa Lake loop

Thompson Lake

Bandera Mt

Always a beautiful sight

Rainier in the distance

New Deck with the parents

Mt. Rainier with the parents, their first trip!

PCT Section J run with EB

Kodak courage

~11 hours on the PCT, Epic Day!

Mr. Rainier, White River campground to Ipsut CG

Very steep sections and ~6700 ft

cool suspension bridge on the Wonderland
The sun went down fast and it was COLD
My favorite, watching the sunset with Owen at 6700 ft at Rainier, priceless

~44 miles on the Wonderland, great day, hard day

In August we were lucky enough to run Waldo 100k.  This event is top notch event.  We arrived Friday night and camped in the parking lot with many others.  We parked in the parking lot of the ski lodge and so available to us were the bathrooms, warmth inside, a little cafeteria that opened I believe just for the race.  I slept surprisingly well that night and got up very early for the 5 AM start.  We started in the dark and on a pretty major climb.  By the time the sun came up we were headed for the first big peak, Mt Fuji, and an incredible view.  This race is run almost entirely on single track and is one of the most organized, beautiful, fun and tough events I have ever had the privilege of running.  I highly recommend it. Good friend Eric Barnes was there and Jenny Appel and so the next morning, we went to breakfast at the nearest town in a greasy dinner.  A greasy omelet never tasted so good!

Friday before the race at the ski lodge

Thanks to Long Run photos, this incredible section of the course was captured

Great photo of Owen, thanks to Long Run photo

YUM, breakfast and coffee!
We recovered from Waldo and next up was the Bear 100.  We decided to drive to Logan, Utah for this race instead of fly just to mix things up and to see some of the good old USA.  Right out of the gate, I got a speeding ticket!  Oh boy.  The drive was not too bad, including all the pit stops, it took us 14 hours from Seattle.  The Bear claims to be 36 hours of Indian Summer.  It starts in Logan, Utah and ends in Fish Haven, Idaho at Bear Lake, 100 miles later and through the Wasatch/Uinta mountains.  The average elevation is ~7000ft, which for a sea level resident is daunting.  A storm rolled in making the Indian Summer a myth to us.  We brought all of our winter gear.  I had read some race reports on years with warm temperatures that had said it had gotten really cold at night.  We were prepared.  I started off wearing tights which I have never done in a 100 miler but I am glad that I did, we encountered snow and ice nearly immediately.  I dressed correctly as although the temps dropped to the low 20's, I actually had managed to stay fairly warm.  I did wear my cross county ski pants at night and a puffy coat though.....
The Bear for me was a very tough event.  Once again, I got very sick at mile 45 and puked for ~ 20 miles.  Once I arrived at mile 61, I knew I would be in for a long one as I could not keep food down and had very little energy to think, strategize or run.  I left that aid station and continued to puke every few steps and was quite unstable on my feet.  A guy who was pacing another runner stopped and asked me some questions about my condition.  He told me it was in my best interest to go back to the last aid station and recover because we had a long climb ahead.  He said he was a doctor and that he was not just blowing smoke up my behind, but that he did know what he was talking about. I didn't listen to him, I did not want to back track.  Then about 30 minutes later, Owen caught up to me and I was still bend over puking but a little bit further along the course.  He also told me to turn around and go back to that aid station and recover. I had probably gone about 2 miles and did not want to turn around but I knew he and the the other guy were right.  I reluctantly turned around and went back.  I got to that aid station, immediately fell asleep.  I woke up, puked some more, then I eventually tried to keep down broth and a banana.  Once I could keep something down, I headed back out.  I left that aid station at 2:45 AM.  I had been there nearly 3 hours.  I went back up the climb that I had started 3 hours earlier and just kept moving.  I still felt sick and now had diarrhea but I just wanted to finish.  And without going into too many more details, I did finish.  I thought I would not make the cut off time of 36 hours but told myself, even if I didn't finish in 36 hours, I would have still done the course.  I was unable to eat the rest of the miles but I could drink water and broth.  There were 2 trail angels that I met.  One was pacing someone else and stopped to pick me out of the crazy mud and encourage me.  This was about mile 90, he was so kind, so very kind.  At the last aid station, mile 92, there was a woman there who asked me if I was alone and offered to run it in with me.  I was so grateful for her offer and took her up on it, she said she really wanted to see the last 8 miles of the course.  She was a true angel and having her company just took my mind off the insane climb to over 9000 feet that was just past the aid station and the subsequent steep downhill and the longest 8 miles of my life.  I crossed that finish line in 34 hours and 39 minutes.  The strange things is, I didn't even really feel relieved or excited.  I just felt very out of it.  I haven't even really begun to process this event, I cannot figure out how I feel about it.  I am glad to have kept going but also disappointed that this nutrition disaster keeps following me around, I seriously need to figure out what I am doing wrong that makes me so sick in these 100 milers.  Back to the drawing board. 
Owen finished in 32 1/2 hours despite his asthma problems.  We are both glad we finished.  We rested all day Sunday and drove back to Seattle on Monday.  Back to work on Tuesday...we need a vacation!
Snow and low temperatures on the first climb at the Bear

A sunny day for the finish

Some of the food from my drop bags that I never did eat after I got sick

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Move over cumin, there's a new sheriff in town!

This stuff, Crofter's Just Fruit Spread is my saving grace this week on the elimination diet.  It's the end of day 14 and it's not getting any easier.  I looked up some recipes in the Almond Flour Cookbook because I was missing the routine of eating desert.  Who doesn't love dessert?  My husband eats 2 rounds of dessert each night and it was getting to be a challenge to find will-power every night during each round.  Generally, I think I have pretty good will-power, but think about it; 2 desserts a night x14 days = 28 sessions of dessert to watch.  It gets tough for me!  So I decided to try to make something out of the Almond Flour Cookbook and I found a recipe for raspberry bars.  The challenge was finding fruit spread that didn't have added sugar, cane juice, etc.  I finally found it and it didn't cost and arm and a leg.  Since I discovered this about a week ago, I have make these raspberry bars 3 times.  Now, I can sit on the couch and have dessert, just like I did before this detox began.  It makes me feel more normal and as though I am not giving something up that I routinely do.

Finished product, pure yum

Tomorrow marks the half way point.  I'm still just as committed however, I did think that this would get easier.  The other night I had 2 different dreams that I cheated.  In one dream, I ate a bag of Lays potato chips, the kind that come in the the yellow bag.  I hardly every eat potato chips.  Especially Lay's.  Then I woke up and went I fell back to sleep, I had a more vivid dream.  I dreamt that I knew I was cheating and although I was hesitant, I was all in, ready to eat forbidden foods.  And of all things, I ate a McDonald's fillet of fish and fries.  Honestly, I cannot remember the last time I stepped into a McDonald's or even considered doing so.  What does that mean?

I've lost another pound, I'm at 133 now.  My stomach is way less bloated and I do feel better. I like the idea of making my own food and generally enjoy it most day, however, spending so much time in the kitchen preparing for 1 meal gets tiring.  However, there are some easy and fast recipes on the Well Fed blog and Elena's Pantry website.

I got some new and amazing knives for the wedding which makes slicing and dicing so much easier and quicker.  However, there has been a price to pay, these suckers are SHARP.
Second thumb wound
Tonight I sliced my left thumb and last week I sliced my right one.  This one is pretty long and deep.  I need to get more savvy with these knives.

I think that if I were really training for something, this would be much much harder.  I'm still exercising about an hour a day but I think if I was training for a 100 miler, I would be going nuts.  But for now, this is great timing and a really great learning experience.

2 more weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Cumin is my new best friend

Week 1 of the elimination is is OVER.  About 3 more to go. Since I've discovered the value of cumin, my meals are tasting better and better.  I pretty much have been putting it in everything.  Thanks to the recent comment on the last post, I've been tuned on to a new website;
Just tonight I made a variation of this recipe:
I couldn't find a good mango so I substituted with a tomato.  I even made the homemade mayo and Owen, who loves mayo, tasted it and thought it was so delicious that he put down his store bought mayo and used the homemade stuff.
My thoughts on this first week of detox are these.  I'm becoming less and less drawn to things I never usually eat or crave.  I have been to the grocery store every day this week and when I walk down aisles that have such food as pretzels, rice pudding, cheese, crackers and chips, I feel drawn to eat these things.  The cheese, crackers and chips are things I would usually eat  so I'm not that surprised that I am drawn to consume them,  But they are not things that I overindulge in, so I'm interested why it is these things I am wanting to inhale.  However, I rarely ever eat pretzels and rice pudding?????  Rice Pudding????  Basically, rice pudding is sugar and dairy.  And although it is delicious I can't remember the last time I actually ate some.  So my cravings are becoming less and less obvious, but they are still there.  I am getting used to spending more time grocery shopping, which I have never enjoyed, and cooking.  It just takes time and money to eat this way but it is worth it.  I feel lighter and cleaner.  I seem to feel satisfied after I finish a meal or snack and don't get hungry like I did the first day or two.  However, when I get hungry, it hits me quick.  This is when I really need to be prepared so I am not tempted to get into the chips and cheese that Owen is keeping for his own consumption in the cupboard.  I am enjoying trying new recipes and I have been baking some "sweet" things that have no sugar.  I am missing my maple syrup though however I am used to not having sugar in my coffee now. I don't know if I will go back to putting sugar in my coffee after this is done.
My weight is pretty much the same, I'm 134 now as compared with 135 last week.  I started exercising again, but an hour a day, if that.  So in terms of my energy level with exercise, I don't have an accurate reading on that one.  However, I do plan to ramp up the exercise a bit these next few weeks.
Overall, this has been a good experience thus far.  It really is a challenge, the "challenge" in 30 DAY CHALLENGE is no joke.  I am really glad that my co-worker decided to do this as well.  I felt like CHEATING so bad this weekend.  My mother-in-law had a birthday and everyone was eating homemade vanilla cake with butter cream frosting, one of my favorites.  They lit some candles and sang happy birthday then cut the cake.  Arg!  I really wanted some with some creamy coffee.  But, I brought some dates and I sat at the table with everyone and ate a few dates with my black coffee.  I thought about my co-worker and just couldn't cheat.  I'd recommend to anyone who is interesting in taking on the challenge to have some support, it has helped me.  Even if my husband is eating all the foods I want to eat right in front of me every day, he always asks me if it's ok to eat this or that in front of me.  I wonder what would happen if I said...NO!  Ha, just kidding, I would not say that!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Elimination Diet- 30 day Challange

I am lucky to have a good friend who is a nutritionist.  Her name is Deb and this is her website:
She is awesome.  She practices what she preaches, is very knowledgeable and is a kick ass athlete.  I went to her a while back with questions about my multiple digestive issues and she recommended I do the elimination diet for 30 days.  It sounded like a real challenge.  Even though I think I eat fairly healthy, the thought of eliminating sugar, dairy, grains and legumes seemed hard.  I was talking about this with a friend of mine at work and she said it sounded like something she needed to do as well,  So, as of Monday, October 15th, Roxanne and I have begun the elimination diet.
I stocked my fridge Sunday and made a big pan of roasted vegetables.  I cut up broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, carrots and zucchini and tossed them in some olive oil with salt and pepper and roasted them at 400* for about an hour.
After the roasting
Also on Sunday, I ate a bunch of peanut butter, because it is one of my favorite foods ever and to be honest, I have eaten almost the entire jar of peanut butter in one sitting.  I was full for the rest of the day but it was so good I couldn't put it down.  Then I drank some wine and ate some chips and yada yada yada....just stuffing my face with all the things I wouldn't eat for 30 days.  
I weighed myself Monday morning and was 135 lbs.  I'm curious if my weight fluctuates.  However, I have not been running or exercising since the surgery last week so it;s not like I'm burning a ton of calories.
Monday went well although I did feel hungry.  So I got some beef at Whole Foods and toasted some acorn squash, pulled out the insides and stir fried the insides with the ground beef, garlic and kale.  It was pretty good actually and filled me up.  I only used half of the acorn squash so the other half I mixed with a few eggs, coconut flour, and garlic.  I made little pancakes with these and topped them with cucumber salsa.   

These were ok....I should of used less egg.   But I'm finding that I can't eat a ton of beef, chicken and turkey kinda of grosses me out and pork, well, pork is tough because although I love me some bacon, I just think of those cute and smart pigs and well, I just can't eat them.  So, I'm limited to eggs, fish, shellfish and beef for sources of substantial protein.
I went a little crazy the night I made the acorn squash pancakes and tested out my new food processor to shred carrots and apples to make Morning Glory Muffins which are awesome and filling.  
Trying out the food processor, it's incredible

20 mins away from hot muffins
We'll see what tomorrow brings.  This is a real challenge mostly because I don't know how to cook this way and make it taste good and fulfilling.  But I think it will be better with time and I am really interested in seeing this through and see how things manifest in the body.  
Stay tuned for more recipes and updates!

Friday, October 12, 2012


What more can I say?

Yep, it's true.  Owen and I got MARRIED!  It was truly the most fantastic day of my life!  How can I put into words the feeling of joining 2 lives into 1 with the love of my life!  it was a great party with family that came as far as New Jersey and friends that came from a wide variety of places in the US.  

My dad and I, a very special moment
Vows and ring exchange
I now pronounce you husband and wife!
Only 2 minutes of being a married couple, still smiling!
First dance!
Just a few photos of the parts of the ceremony and reception.  It was so much fun.  Everyone says you don't remember the actual day or the ceremony/reception.  I tried my hardest to just stay in the present and take everything in.  I feel I remember most of it! 

We got married on a Sunday and on Monday we hang up with out of town family and friends.  Later, we packed and got ready for our honeymoon, in Kauai!  Neither of us have been to Kauai before and we were excited about checking it out!  We arrived on a Tuesday and found our place to be more than what we had expected.  
This was the view from our condo.  Drinking coffee here every morning was fantastic!

See what I mean???  Fantastic!

O and A!?!?!!?  How did they know we were coming?
Our first full day was spend snorkeling on the north shore by Ke'e Beach and Tunnels.  One of the first things we saw was this O+A engraved in the rock on the beach.  Pretty cool.  We saw some colorful fish and were able to dive through the "tunnels" to check out the reefs and where some of the fish like to hang out.  We saw a Monk seal on the beach before I had done any reading about what you might expect on the beach and thought maybe it was injured.  I spent a bit of time wondering what to do, who to call and worrying about it.  Owen kept telling me that the seal was resting.  I couldn't let it go.  Then I saw some people putting some signs out surrounding the seal warning people not to touch or fed it b/c it is endangered and just taking a rest.  It would soon go back in the ocean.  Well, Owen was right, I was wrong and relieved that this cute seal was just sunning himself as we were.

The following day we decided to head out to Waimea Canyon.  We had read about a hike/run you could do to to get to the bottom of the canyon so we ventured out to try to find it.  We drove along a windy road for many miles that made us both car sick but eventually we found were we were headed.  There aren't a lot of signs in Kauai, most directions go by milepost markers.

Start of our first run as a MARRIED COUPLE!
Little Grand Canyon

Bottom of the canyon, mosquito-ville
Headed back up the canyon
We ran down to the bottom and on our way we saw a pack of small wild goat that moved with with such ease through the very technical terrain.  I was surprised how small they were, like the size of a small dog.  Honestly, when we got down the the canyon floor, it was a bit creepy and a lot like Deliverance, the movie.  We originally set out for a 12 mile out and back but we found we could not go on any longer, it was as if the trail disappeared and that was that.  So with that and the creepy factor, we called it good and headed back.  Once we got back to the car and headed down the windy road, we stopped at Jo-Jo's, the infamous Jo-Jo's for shaved ice.  This place is apparently the best place to get shaved ice on Kauai.  It was a shake with no windows inside and also reminded me of Deliverance, but the shaved ice was indeed delicious so we ate it and then hit the beach to cool off and take an afternoon nap on the warm sun.
The next we thought we'd do some boogie boarding.  There was a storm rolling in and the waves were getting bigger.  We decided that we would rather have a fun day boogie boarding that a really hard day **trying** to surf.  So we rented some boards and fins and off the beach we went.

It's all you need for fun in the waves
Coming in for a rest

We were out there for a while and then we took a rest.  It was about 4 PM and the waves were really ripping.  We decided to head out one more time.  I started going out and went to duck dive and WHAM-O, I don't know what happened, but I wound up in a world of hurt.  I thought for sure I broke something or tore my rotator cuff.  I got to the shore and grabbed my arm while thoughts swirled in my head future tripping that I broke or tore something and the honeymoon was over,,,,blah blah blah...
Owen brought me home and gave me some ice and Aleve.
Good pouty face
We wound up going to the Urgent Care and met a really funny Dr who shared the same birthday as me.  He told me sprained this and strained that and to wear a sling for a few weeks and then I would feel better.  
Nice Dr. who is the medical director for the Kauai marathon

The next day and the days remaining were still just as great as the ones before I hurt my shoulder.  I was on my honeymoon for crying out loud, so of course I'm going to have fun!
We saw see turtles the next day with Eric and Michelle Barnes who were also in Kauai, went to a fancy  restaurant, hiked/ran the Na Pali Coast trail and hung out on various beaches.  So, a bum shoulder didn't really impact the honeymoon, turns out.
Sea Turtle Beach, must have seen 10!  

Na Pali Coast trail waterfall

Na Pali Coast trail
More Na Pali Coast trail 

Beware, lots of people die on this trail!

The week in Kauai was amazing!  I would go back in a heart beat.  If anyone is thinking of going, we used this sign and it was true to it's word.  I totally recommend it. 
As for running?  Well, we ran here and there and since we've been back, we've been running here and there.  I just had surgery on Tuesday and I am healing up.  Should be back to some easy jogging next week.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the surgery works and I can run pain-free again.  The Dr said that if it didn't work, then the next step is to cut part of the nerve leaving my upper quad permanently numb.  I really hope that doesn't happen.  So I'll give it a while next week.  Also next week, I am start the 30 day elimination diet and I'll be documenting that.