June 29, 2010

A lot can change in 6 months

I DID IT!

I completed my first ½ marathon. My first race.

Sunday morning, 4:30am the alarm went off and though my body definitely felt like it could crawl right back into bed, I was way too excited to want to sleep anymore.  I got on all my gear – black shorts, new pink tank, polar HRM, watch, put the chip tag on my shoes and was out the door with my good friend Stacy to take me to the venue. 

Technically the 13.1Boston wasn’t in Boston.  It was in Canton, about 20 minutes from our house.  While this bummed out A LOT of destination runners that thought they would be able to walk downtown after the race, it was perfect for my fam since Stacy dropped me, then went back to scoop up David and the kids to arrive much later than the 6:13 start time.

I hung around the field feeling like I arrived way to early, not knowing what the protocol was for getting ready for my first race.  Freezing cold, I kept my long sleeve FCS beloved shirt on for quite awhile also hoping that maybe Meredith would see it and find me.  Luckily we did find one another …a couple times...more on that later. 

Anyway, I am sure that I looked like a total noob.  But I am sure everyone was in their own zone.  So I discretely tried to apply my body glide, then gave up and headed for the long line of portajohns. 

Having done all the prep work to prevent chaffage, peeage I said a little prayer that no one would steal my bag since I made the other noob mistake and kept my phone with me rather than leave it with Stacy and checked it in at the bag check, which was essentially a table in front of an open field, dividing columns marked with yellow string grouped by bib number.  At least I wasn’t on the end.  Worrying about these little things took my mind off the race.

And then in a sea of orange Team Challenge jerseys, I see Meredith!  4000 runners and their families and I found her!  She took me to her team, and she shared how very real this race was for her, even passing the hospital where she was admitted, the VERY reason she started running.  Goosebumps.  

So 6:00 rolls around and it is already 70 degrees. I was grateful for the early start! 

I debated where to line up.  They had markers for 6 min, 7 min, 8 min milers.  Nope not me.  I wanted to be by the back – I didn’t know what my pace would be and I knew I wanted to take it slow to start.  The longest I ran was 12 miles and my pace was 10:54, but that was pushing Isabella.  My short runs are usually under 10, but I knew this was a hilly course.  Rolling hills, my ass.  I decided to go with a space in middle of the PACKED 10 minute mile group. 

And we were off.

It took me 2 minutes to get to the starting line.  Having never run with anyone this was a really odd feeling. 

Excitement doesn’t even begin to describe!

Mile 1 I could see all the bobbing heads starting up the first slight incline, what a sight! Runners everywhere...lots of ages, sizes, colors, it was breath taking. And the trees, the hills, the reservoir.  Here we are, when most people are still in bed, working these muscles, beating our feet to the rhythm, running for our friends, for those with Chrohns disease, for ourselves, for many many reasons. Prayerful reasons. Powerful reasons. Powerful. Really powerful.

And the course, it was gorgeous!  The trees, the sun coming up.  I was so happy that I could just run and enjoy it. 

Mile 1 marker hit and it was already at 12:something.  I was kinda bummed.  I wasn’t trying for a PR, I just wanted to finish, but my *secret* time was under 2:30. I think I also forgot that it took me 2 minutes to get to the start.  Plus I tried to arrange my music to hit the hills with the really upbeat stuff.  What if it didn’t time out?  Oh well.  I kept going.  I also was trying to maneuver around people.  I think throughout the race (another rookie mistake) I weaved so much from one side of the road to another, around people I think I wasted a lot of time/distance moving back and forth. 

Mile 3, I hear this voice behind me “How are you doing?”  It was Meredith! She had dropped back from her friends to stop at one of the portajohns and then caught up with me.  My first time running with someone.  Good timing too, we chatted, about work, running, training, foam rollers, and clearly the time went fast because we saw mile marker 4 then 6 and completely missed 5 along the way.  We were pushing hard, because we caught up with her team mates and then ran past them.  We ran past the beautiful reservoir.  And we ran the first of the big hills together.  (Meredith, hopefully I wasn’t too distracting!)  I remember saying "almost" like 6 times! Everytime we thought we got to the top, there was a bend and more hills came. 

Just before mile 7 Meredith said if I wanted to go on, to go ahead, I think she was going to run with her teammates again too.  Just as I was picking up the pace, I saw her folks cheering her on at mile 7.  Way cool!

Mile 8. Gu.  Love it! Chocolatly goodness.

Mile 9. Don’t really remember. In the zone.

Mile 10. I know there is a hill coming up.  All that is left is a 5k.  I can run 5k. Easy peasy.

Mile 11.  There is the hill.  And more hill. And more hill. Holy *%$* there is still more hill. 

Shockingly, I was feeling so good, I was passing people.  Up the hill.  Thank you Arnold Arboretum.  You and that mother bleepin' Peter’s Hill got me to run up this thing.  If it wasn’t for you, I would have walked.  All those days I cursed you! I was thanking you now.

One of the cool things about mile 10 & 11…there were people at the ends of their driveways watching, waving cheering us on.  I think I smiled at everyone that came out.  They didn’t have to be there, I was so happy to be running and to see people, it was exciting to be a part of it.

Mile 12.  MILE 12 Holy crap! Only one more to go and I am at 2:08.

And there are people walking back to cheer on their friends…so close. 


And then. Guess what.

The last 3 minutes of the race.  I.could.not.believe.it.  Guess what pops up on my Zune.

I Run for Life by Melissa Etheridge. 

Smiling with tears glossing over my vision I run strong to the finish, through all the cheering people, beaming! (That is my head over the couple in the red. Not 90 seconds earlier, David had a perfect shot from the wall he was perched on before the cops requested all the onlookers to get down.) 


I found my family.

I found my Simon.

I give him a big hug and a kiss.

I DID IT!


We hang around and let the endorphin high wash over me and let my trainer stretch out all those muscles. 


Here is the thing. I just realized this today. I started running on December 27, 2009 with the c25k program. I couldn’t run more than 3 minutes without getting winded. I couldn't make it through a single song. Exactly 6 months to the DAY(!!!) I ran my first race, a ½ marathon in 2 hours, 16 minutes and 24 seconds without stopping. 

Yeah, I’m pretty proud. 

I can’t wait to do it again. 

June 25, 2010

Prayer by Gaga...or My first half marathon.

About a month ago, I talked about how I started running so I could eat more. Yup. Motivation by bacon cheeseburger. And then this crazy shift happened…another simple shift or seismic sismo maybe? It wasn’t about the food or the calories burned, but the feeling, the mind clearing, muscle pumping, Spirit moving, prayer filled feeling.

A few of my virtual running buddies have shared how their long runs are a opportunity to pray and it is SO true.

And now I have the longest run I have ever done planned for Sunday. 13.1 miles. A half marathon. Zoikes!

It is no coincidence in my book that I signed up for this race the day before we found out about Molly’s cancer; the day that Molly and Peter were sitting in the oncologist’s office; the day that so many of us became even more hungry for prayers, for that conversation with God. And that same week we got the news about Molly, we also found out about my step-sis-in-law, Cindy’s early diagnosis and David’s mom’s diagnosis. Lots of prayers. Lots of miles.

I am a solo runner…in body only. So far I have yet to actually run with a partner (other than Isabella in her stroller). Not that I won’t, I’d love to…I just haven’t had the opportunity…yet. So my runs consist of me and my Zune. (Yes, all you iGeeks, I go against the grain…on occasion.) But this is where y’all come in. Over the last month, my friends and family have been sending me music…Over 5 hours worth of music! (Enough for a full marathon….hmmmm, interesting.) You sent everything from Lady Gaga to Abba to Beastie Boys to Queen to booty shakin’ hip hop to heart pumpin’ techno to Social Justice lovin’ reggae and cows! Songs about cows! And you sent me lots of prayers. For Molly, and for your families, for my family, for our church and the transitions, and the leaders, and the prayers of our prayer group.

And that music has been in my training, in my head while I work and drive around town. YOU are my music. A song pops up and I automatically think and pray with you. You are simultaneously giving me support to continue running…your energy moves me forward and hopefully you can feel my energy and Spirit too. Like this interconnected Spiritual dance way above us; like those Spirits are having a little chat or dancing or hugging or *gasp* running, or loving one another all while giving me some kickass beats to keep moving! And to keep praying!

Molly has her own blog, Holy Spirit Portality. It is SO worth reading. Even if you don’t know her, you will relate. I promise you. You will laugh, but bring Kleenex.

Today she wrote…

“I would love to liberate cancer/chemo from its context, and just think of it as one more thing, not in a category all by itself, that humans put themselves through in order to gain something, learn something, manifest or transform something, get strong, grow up, kick ass...
…I am going to see if I can shift my thinking about chemo, poco a poco—as yet another endurance training, yet another sort of gestation with all kinds of crazy unanticipated side effects.”

This is the course another kick-ass woman from our church and I am running this weekend. 


Like life, this course has a lot of hills and therefore, a LOT of transitions. I don't know what it is going to be like. I haven't run it yet. But I know the hills are there. I don't know what the rest of Molly’s or Cindy’s or Margie’s treatment is going to be like, or what our church, or my life or your life is going to be like. But I know there are lots of transitions. My mom calls them Loving Changes. She even wrote a book/journal about it. Go mom!

I also know that we are going to attack those hills and we have a whole "verizon-like" Spiritual bodies, past, present and future, all there pulling for us to liberate and kick ass. Can you hear me now?

Your songs are going to help keep me on course so thank you.

I won’t share all the songs, but I will share the one that has been the biggest inspiration, the theme song for this race if you will. Mellissa Ethridge’s I Run for Life.

This song is timed (hopefully) to pop up during the biggest hills on the course.


It's been years since they told her about it
The darkness her body possessed
And the scars are still there in the mirror
Everyday that she gets herself dressed
Though the pain is miles and miles behind her
And the fear is now a docile beast
If you ask her why she is still running
She'll tell you it makes her complete

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me, my friend
I run for life

It's a blur since they told me about it
How the darkness had taken its toll
And they cut into my skin and they cut into my body
But they will never get a piece of my soul
And now I'm still learning the lesson
To awake when I hear the call
And if you ask me why I am still running
I'll tell you I run for us all

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

And someday if they tell you about it
If the darkness knocks on your door
Remember her remember me
We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother, your sister, your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister, your daughter, your wife
For you and me my friend
I run for life

I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend
I run for life

Amen!

June 21, 2010

Arugula...I really don't have a catchy title for you. You are fun to say though.


I actually made this salad a few months ago, but never got around to typing up the recipe.  My friend Doris - who I continually bump into over the last 10 years (!!!) - inspired me to finally post this.

Doris & I met through a co-worker; saw Janine, Madonna, skated some frog's pond, then became co-workers, then both got laid off (a blessing, really), then met up again on the commuter rail and now ironically (or not since we live commuter-rail close to one another) are part of the same farm share.  Who knew?!  

I think I may be a stalker. Or one of us is. Probably me. 

Oh and for my Costa Rica buds....she and the future Mr. Doris are headed your way!  PURA VIDA!

Anyway....guess what we both got in last weeks share!  I'll give you A guess.

Arugula.    

So here is a tasty treat for people you continually bump into throughout your life or people that just have a bag of arugula in their fridge and are not sure what to do with it. Care of Rodale's Whole Foods Cookbook.  

Sweet Potato & Arugula Salad.
Dressing:
1/4 c canola oil
3 T apple cider vinegar
1 t dijon mustard
1 t turbinado or brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t red pepper flakes

Salad:
2 c bite size pieces of sweet potato
2 T apple cider or unsweetened apple juice
1 T canola oil
salt & pepper
1/4 lb pancetta (I used bacon....mmmm bacon!)
5 c arugula
1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted

In a blender or food processor, combine all the dressing ingredients until emulsified.

To make the salad: preheat the oven to 425 degrees. In a medium bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the apple cider, oil, salt & pepper.  Place on baking sheet and road of 10-15 minutes, or until tender, but not overly soft.  Set aside to cool slightly.  

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the pancetta or bacon until crisp.  

In a large salad bowl, combine the the roasted sweet potatoes, pancetta or bacon, arugula, and almonds.  Drizzle with the dressing and slightly toss. 


So if you randomly bump into some arugula or if you just like saying aRUgula as much as me, try this salad out.  The dressing has some kick... yum! 

June 18, 2010

Containerization

Before working in Health Care Technology I worked in Transportation Technology. Yup. Women's Studies major; LGBT concentration to....Transportation.  Yeah, that is EXACTLY what I thought I'd be doing with my degree. :) 

(See Jess, you can pretty much do whatever you want with your future PhD.)


Soooo, in my tenure in transportation-tech, I learned way more than you could ever imagine about dirty containers.  Like this interesting little tidbit...


Taking the wheels off containers back in the 60s revolutionized shipping and transportation, making it more fuel efficient, cost effective and more environmentally friendly to ship goods. Because railroads run many of their train routes along major highways, they effectively remove trucks from the roads and the containers on to the tracks.


Interestingly, west and south of New England, railroads are able to double stack containers making trains even more efficient. But the bridges in New England and other parts of the east coast are about 6 inches too low for double-stacked trains to pass under.  East coast RRs stack/unstack out in Worcester, so they can ship into Boston and up and down the east coast.


If you are still reading... *smile* ....Here is the wiki definition:  

Containerization: a system of intermodal freight transport using standard intermodal containers...that can be loaded and sealed intact onto container shipsrailroad carsplanes, and trucks.


But...

Now have my own version of containerization.


Cheapassmama's containerization: the act of putting individual serving sizes of delectable treats, meals and what-not in containers in order to avoid a wide-load.


 

The easiest way to stick to a planned serving size is to container it up right away. 


Few things I try to keep in mind.  
  1. I try to use glass first, especially if I plan on eating before freezing. But glass can be expensive and heavy to cart back and forth to work. 
  2. If I use plastic, I go with BPA-free (of course!) Glad and Ziploc are my favorites.
  3. I try (not always) to microwave on a plate even if I store it in plastic. 
  4. Finally, smaller is better.  I was shocked, SHOCKED at how little a true serving size is. I think my 1 1/4 cup containers get the most action.  
Heh.  Screw double-stack. I can triple-stack these bad boys! 

June 10, 2010

Garden Update

The garden grid.
Tomatoes, watermelon, more tomatoes
Spinach, lettuce, garden beans
Summer Squash, cucumber, cilantro
zucchini, basil, basil and more basil.
Herb garden, peas, strawberries

The zucchini.

Some peas.

da herbs.

Popeye's fav.

Lots o' garden beans. And cilantro in the back.

Strawberry.




June 04, 2010

And I thought dandelions were only good for making wishes....



Our CSA started back up this week after a 1-week hiatus. 

*running around the room waving hands in the air* 

We are now into the "local" CSA for the next 20-someodd weeks. And I'll give you one guess what was included in this week's share.  

I'll give you a hint.  It's not easy being...

Carrots. Ok, yes we got crunchy carrots, plump potatoes, bright blueberries, tasty tomatoes, bunched beets, lively lettuce, sultry salad (can salad be sultry? how about savory salad...though I feel sultry after eating said savory salad, but only after I evacuate the dancefloor if you know what I mean.  whoa! TMI! I think I don't seem so sultry anymore.), back to food...and yes, we got green greens.  

*best Gomer Pyle voice* 

Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Before you even ask....I was born in the 70's.  It's called syndication, people.  

Ok, so we got greens. Don't get me wrong, I like greens. Really. But dandelion greens? Yeah, never made those before. So after googling, I found out a couple things:

1. You can actually eat dandelion greens. Who knew?  (Did you ever eat grass as a kid...and I don't mean in brownies *ahem*...I mean grass, grass.  I remember it tasting like onions. I think I just admitted to eating grass as a kid. And brownies.)

2. Every part of the dandelion is edible. I just thought you made a wish when you blew the little seeds into the neighbors lawns annoying the crap out of them for spreading weeds.

According to About.com: 
  • Dandelion root can be roasted as a coffee-substitute, or boiled and stir-fried as a cooked vegetable.
  • Dandelion flower can be made into a wine, or boiled and stir-fried as a cooked vegetable.
  • Dandelion greens (i.e., the leaves) can be boiled, as you would spinach, and used as a cooked vegetable, in sandwiches or as a salad green with some "bite."
I tried the leaves raw and they were a little bitter for me. Sooooo I decided to make my own green concoction that I've made with kale and chard with pretty good success.  

I don't even have a title for it. Staples with Greens I guess.  Or maybe meat, potatoes, apples, and greens. Oh my.

Ingredients
Ham steak chopped into bite sized pieces or TJs turkey sausage
Potatoes
Apples (granny smith or gala)
Lemon juice (if you use granny smith)
Splash of Apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. brown sugar
Buttah
Greens of whatever variety
Salt/pepper to taste

Directions
Chop potatoes in bite-sized pieces. Cook with boiling water until tender. 
While the potatoes are cooking, prepare the greens.

De-stem and tear the greens in bite sized pieces. Blanch (boil with the potatoes) for a few minutes until limp, but still holding their color.  

In a sautĂ© pan, melt some of the butter and add the ham and apples for a few minutes.  Then add the greens and potatoes in with the rest of the butter. 

Add the brown sugar, cider vinegar, salt and pepper and let simmer for a few minutes. 

This dish is one of those things that I wouldn't really add to a recipe book. It is tasty, don't get me wrong.  I mean, I've made it at least 3 times in the last couple months with various greens. It is a very "whole-foody" type of dish. The ingredients make it good. 


And it's as easy to make as say....brownies.  :)



June 01, 2010

Will run for food. And when I say food, I mean life.



I started running so I could eat more. 

It’s true.

Back in December I was really craving a bacon cheeseburger and a side of fries from Friendly’s.  Like preggo-style craving. I thought, I bet if I run I could eat one those.  (Not back to back though. That’d be bad.)

With WeWa, if I want to maintain my current weight (without moving my boo-tay), I get about 24 points with my 35 extra weekly points.  That equates to roughly 1500ish calories a day.  Add some activity points and, voilĂ , I get to eat more. What a concept! 

Just so you know, a Friendly’s bacon cheeseburger and side-o-fries is 36 points. Wh-what?! Well that’s a problem. 24 does not equal 36 and I still have 2 more meals in there somewhere. And personally, I’m not a fan of air sandwiches.

Here is something else you should know. 

I hate running.

Why would anyone in his or her right mind want to go from one place to another with no destination in mind?  During maternity leave, the way I got my exercise to drop the extra 40something pounds was to go for a walk with the kiddos in the stroller and sling to takeout/return dvds to Hollywood video – a 3mile round trip.  A walk for walk’s sake, wasn’t happening. So why in the world would I run?  (Plus I think I have unresolved former cross-country team issues. But that is a post for another day.)

Then came the bacon cheeseburger….

A treadmill….

And C25K (Couch to 5K)…

In December for Christmas, David & I bought ourselves a treadmill and I started the C25K program. I couldn’t run more than 2 minutes without getting out of breath and dying, DYING to stop.  What the heck did I do??!! 

But I kept going.

And one day I ran 20 minutes with out stopping. 

Then I ran 5 miles.

Then I ran outside and felt like I was starting *all* over again.  Argh!

But I kept going.  Then one day I ran up the big hill without stopping.

Then one day I ran 6 miles, then 7, then 8, then 9 and then 10. 

Then one day I signed up for a ½ marathon (btw, this is my first race ever. Yeah, if I do something, I go all out.  Ya think?)

Then one day I realized I run because I can. Because there are people that can’t.

Then one day I realized I pray during those long runs.

I realized when a certain song comes up, I automatically think of the person that recommended it or that I some how associated the song with that person.

I love love love that feeling! Not only do I love the feeling of thinking and praying for that person, but I know that that person is simultaneously giving me support to continue running…that person’s energy moves me forward and hopefully that person can feel my energy and Spirit in them too. Like this interconnected Spiritual dance way above us; like those Spirits are having a little chat or dancing or hugging or *gasp* running, or loving one another all while giving me some kickass beats to keep moving!


There are a lot of people I am praying for and thinking about these days. There are a lot of miles that I plan on running. I need their energy and I think they could use a bit of mine. 

I asked a lot of my friends and family to send me some tuneage to add to my playlist for my training and my ½ marathon. Man do I have an eclectic playlist so far!  


If you are so inclined, would you comment with your song (and a prayer request if you want) and I will add you and your song and your prayer to my run, pray, music 1/2 marathon playlist. What do ya think? You game? (And if you want, mine are: I Run for Life - Melissa Etheridge; Your Love is my Drug - Ke$ha; Suddenly I See - KT Tungsten)

And guess what.

I love running now.

(But in full disclosure, sometimes I run for those that can’t and sometimes it is for the quest of the ever elusive *oops, not allusive* perfect ass.)

I still never got that bacon cheeseburger.  But I am ok with that.