Thursday, March 20, 2014

They say it's your birthday... It's my birthday too! Yeah!

Happy First Day of Spring!!!  And, Happy birthday to me....

Honestly, my expectation are kinda low.  I put so much energy into the kids' birthday that I'm happy to just sleep in and shave my legs. 

Today, I woke up to a fantastic breakfast of banana and neufchâtel cheese stuffed french toast.  The kids ate my fruit flowers...  :)  

After breakfast, I got on o the computer to check my email... Cute.  Google knows it's my birthday.  That's either nice, or creepy. 

This is all the cake I need today....

So, once I got into my email..... I see....

"Congratulations, Hood to Coast Winner!" 

 Hood to Coast is a 199 mile relay for teams of 12 (8 minimum) from Mount Hood to Seaside, Oregon.  It's a bit difficult to get into with a lottery system, on top of all the other hoops to go through (training, van rentals, hotel?  beach house?, gas, team member deposits and the like....)

Something to dream about...  but something I was also feeling like was for the "real" runners.  Something i wasn't sure I'd ever qualify for.

Well, in steps MaryAlicia from RunOregon blog who mentions a giveaway going on with Nuun for a race registration (for a whole team!) into the race.

I WON!!!

Happy birthday to me!!  Best present ever!  Can I do this?!  Holy mackerel.

And now I have more friends than spots available on my new birthday bash team!

Team name ideas?
Tips for running a relay?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Luckython 10K and hangin' with Andie of "Andie's Army"

It's Saint Patrick's Day and the day!  Did you participate in a themed race this weekend?  

After a few scattered showers in the Portland area, I spent a beautiful (and chilly) Saturday morning helping out at "The Celtic Crox Half Marathon" which was held in the beautiful Champoeg State Park.  After a few hours on my feet and helping out where I could, I was ready for an afternoon cat nap....

I am amazed by people's strength and endurance to be out in a race and then to do it all over again the next day!   Several friends either ran that half and had a 15K the next day at a local Shamrock Run, or were racing that afternoon at Luckython and then hitting the road for Shamrock.  Such was the case with Andie, doing a 10K on Saturday afternoon/evening and an 8K the following morning.

Chances are you "know" Andie and have meet her on running forums such as "Favorite Run Community" or "Meg's Miles".   If you are really lucky, you might see her while you're out on a run or even at a race.

I was able to catch up to Andie and stay with her, most of the time, at the "Luckython" 10K.  Her energy is unwavering and she was all smiles at her event.  It put my aches and pains and desire for a little nap into perspective!

How Andie got started:
Andie started her journey to walking and joining races earlier this year.  The first obstacle for this task was obtaining a walker.  She had been in a power wheelchair for about 4 years previous.  Her insurance felt that if someone was in a power chair, they "didn't need" a walker.  After several hoops to jump through, the obstacle was mastered and she was out and about on the move!

Andie's first race was "The Heart Breaker" 5k race held on Feb. 16th.  I stood on the sidelines of that race and cheered for people as they passed by with my sign "You make my <3 (heart) race!"  After the half and 10K races started, the 5K came through the course and i first met Andie in person.  "Go Andie!  GO!!"  She was all smiles and based on her posts on the runner's forums mentioned above on facebook, I know that she had an incredible sense of accomplishment.  There is no denying the pride on this young woman's face as she conquers these obstacles that many, for so long, have told her she would never be able to do.

Andie is one determined gal and building up her endurance, she often will walk some distance in the morning and then go out for a second walk in the evening, with a total daily mileage equaling that of a half marathon.
A little more background:
Andie suffers from a form of muscle myopathy.  While in high school, the muscles in her back started to weaken and deteriorate, resulting in a slumped/arched posture and causing some of her disks to fuse.  After several tests and meeting with pediatric neurologists around the US, she was finally able to get some answers and the initial diagnosis.  Once that had been determined, she had surgery to correct her back.  However, it was not long before the disease progressed and attacked her legs.

I listened to Andie explain this to me with a quiet seriousness but an upbeat mood.  I imagine she must explain this a lot or has told her story before.  She is, after all, quite inspirational.  People want to know! But, I felt awkward and over curious with all my questions... but one question had been plaguing me that I wanted to know more about.  I looked over to her with her stoic strength, humbly accepting passing runners' encouragement and cheers or "Hey!  I know you from 'Meg's Miles'!"

I sheepishly asked, "So, this disease... it... it attacks a random muscle group?"
"Yup.  It can."
"At any time?  And you won't know what muscles until it does? Completely unpredictable?"
"Right.  But I'm not going to worry about it."
"But Andie... can it... could it... well, the heart is a muscle.  Could it target your heart?"
She smiles at me and I know she has more courage than I ever could muster.
"Yes.  The heart is a muscle.  Yes.  It could target my heart.  I'm not going to dwell on that.  I choose to remain positive."

Andie conquering a steep hill at Luckython 10K
Walking has helped Andie's muscles to gain some strength and helps her mentally to push through the challenges.  Andie has several races on her radar that she'd like to do, including someday (soon) a half marathon.  Some obstacles she has to face, in addition to the ones she already faces with her health, are races that are "walker friendly" not just to people who walk, but a terrain that will allow her walker to roll on the course.    One thing is for certain though, very little is going to keep this girl off the course.  She is strong, determined and a very caring person.
Official chip time 2:33:59 ...including about 10 minutes or more of chatting with other runners about half way through.

When Andie isn't training, you can find her on "Andy's Army" and learn more about the amazing "Smile Boxes" she puts together for sick children at the various hospitals, Ronald McDonald house, or rehab centers in the area.

I didn't make it out to cheer (or run) the Shamrock race the following day, but I had such a fun time walking with Andie at Luckython.  The course this year was the "South Course" of the Reserve golf course.  The rolling green hills, streams, one wooden bridge, lakes, sand pits and general atmosphere seemed like a perfect spot for a Irish themed race.  I haven't been to Ireland, but I imagined the green rolling hills were something reminiscent of it.  And, as always, Uberthons has some pretty amazing medals.  I'm looking forward to running that one next year!

Did you get out and run a St. Paddy's Day themed run?

Friday, March 14, 2014

Happy Pi Day!! (food focused house and the projects that keep me from running)

Happy Pi Day!  Did you get out and get a run in?  3.14... miles, maybe?  Did you eat pie?

I won't lie, I still need to get a run in, but I did eat some pie... 

Chickpea Pot Pie
Serves 6
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 lbs small white mushrooms (quartered)
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks chopped
1 onion chopped
1 poblano pepper chopped (and deseeded.  You could also use a green bell pepper instead.)
2 garlic cloves minced
3 cups veg. broth
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 ounces soft neufchâtel cheese (or cream cheese softened)
1 (15oz) can of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large pie crust (14 ounces)
(we ended up using two pie crusts, each in a 9 inch pie pan.  Our favorite recipe is from a vintage Betty Crocker cookbook that is 1 1/4C flour and 1/3 C butter and 4-5 tablespoons cold water and 1/4 tsp salt. Mis the dry together and cut in the butter.  Slowly adding in the water.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Spray pie pan with non stick spray.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over med heat.  Add mushrooms, carrots, celery, onion, poblano (or green bell) pepper and garlic.  Cook, stirring until veggies are softened.  Stir in broth and cornstarch in a med bowl until blended.  Add to skillet and stir constantly.  When mixture starts to boil and starts to thicken, add in neufchâtel cheese and stir until smooth.  Stir in chickpeas, sage and salt.  Spoon mixture into pie crust.

Place pie crust over filling; press edges with fork for decorative edge and cut one inch slits throughout top for ventilation.

Place on baking sheet and cook until crust is golden brown and filling is bubbling.... about 25-30 minutes.  Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.

Hope you enjoy!  I loved it!
I'm not really injured, but this was a good segway picture...

I had a spring cleaning bug bite and have been reorganizing a closet in my "craft" room.  Well, to be completely honest, it's the "zoo" room.  We have birds and a couple bunnies... and it's a dusty mess.

Anyway, I've been cleaning and sorting... and came upon some old clippings and note pads from my beloved great grandmother...  Oh, how I miss her.  

The irony is I came upon this stuff in the back of a spare closet... just sitting and waiting to be looked through and remembered... on the anniversary of her death.

12 years now without her.  

I still remember the feeling of her knotty hand holding mine so tight, and I think some of the stuff still smells like her, so I've hidden it away again so it will keep those memories fresh....  but not before scanning it in the computer for some craft projects.  

Her handwritten recipe for zucchini bread, an open notebook of hers with writing peaking through the pages, a business card from the 1950's for a cafe in Boise and a different aged note pad.
I typed "on" to the paper with a computer program to create a "menu board" to hang in my kitchen...

I'll create something like a scrapbook page with her recipe, some old coupons for spam and fake butter, and other odds and ends (that will fit without being too crowded) and throw it all under glass in a picture frame... then I'll get a fine point dry erase marker to write out the week's menu and any grocery items we need to add to it.  Then, in theory, it can all be wiped off and used again.

And, in theory, my sweet family can stop asking me "What are we having [for lunch/dinner]?"
"Go check the Menu board..."

The best part is this is all scanned in a high resolution in my computer, so if I don't like the size/shape of the board, I can start again with a bigger picture frame.

This is what I have so far and will post a finished product (as soon as the spray paint on the frame dries and I can get it all together.)
Family Menu Board!

So, with heart strings tugged and lots of tears the last few days as I sort through this stuff and work on this project, I have been ignoring my fitness.  

Tomorrow I'm working at a half marathon to help direct runners on the course... I'm really looking forward to that and then I get to be a walking buddy to an amazing young gal who is walking her first 10K race.  I promise to get an interview up with this young lady, but you will be inspired.  She has a disease that is wrecking her muscles and deteriorating them... but before she is made to be unable to walk ever again, she has a goal to tackle a half marathon, and since she's up to 9 miles on her training walks, it's only a matter of time before you see her on the half marathon course!  ;-)

Happy Pi Day and Happy St. Patty's day tomorrow friends!  Hope it's a good one for you.

It's been a week of deep reflection for me... I won't lie, I might end the day tomorrow with a little Irish Whiskey to wash down my corned beef and cabbage dinner.  But not before getting a run in... really.

I really really need to run.

Does running help you sort out your thoughts and work out the heaviness in your heart?
Does grief for a lost loved one ever ease?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Giveaway Alert! Beecause Charms

I am thrilled to be able to announce a giveaway from Beecause Charms! They offer the cutest shoe charms for commemorating runs and races, to note an achievement, or honor those who can not run.  There are several charms and themes to choose from for whatever inspires you!

You can see what all the buzzzzz is about on their website:

They will be giving away a charm of the winner's choice to one lucky reader of my blog, and one member of my Moms Run This Town running club.  To be entered to win, check out the rafflecopter widget below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Do you have running inspired jewelry?  Which charm would you choose?