Thursday, July 17, 2014

Race Review: The Dirty Dash

I was nervous about this race considering how I have been feeling of late but I was also very excited. I have never done a mud run before, and I had a feeling it was going to be lots of fun, I wasn't disappointed.

We arrived early to the race on Saturday morning to hand out some Rock 'n' Roll Oasis Vancouver Half Marathon & Cunningham Seawall 10k promo t-shirts.
*limited sizes and quantities available
All you have to do to get one is find me at an upcoming event and show proof of registration into RnRVAN. If you haven't registered yet, I still have a discount code for you (valid until online registration closes the week before the race)!
So after we hung out in the parking lot (or field rather) handing out shirts, we headed towards the event.

We saw lots of clean people awaiting the start of the race which was going to start in waves. We were in the 3rd 9:00AM wave and made a last minute decision to check Cindy's bag with our phones, THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA and I highly recommend doing so.

We started off in the mud right away, up to our knees and a mini hill to climb over. Soon after, a lake, yes a lake, appeared before us. If you were really tall, you could likely walk all the way through. I was not tall enough and had to swim and with all the people in there at the same time and the weeds in the water, it was pretty gross!

The next section was some wooden walls that we had to climb over. We had to wait a little bit at a bottle neck of people here and everyone was feeling exhilarated (umm I mean gross) after swimming through the lake. There were more obstacles including a blow up castle type thing that you had to climb through but it would deflate without warning so you would get stuck. Following that, a tube which we had to crawl over, presumably without falling off.

There was a bit more running at this point and then we crawled through some more mud and some tunnels and into another water crossing (swim). That one was rather stinky though... We had to climb over some big rope walls and then...

I think at this point we hit the "slop 'n' slide"!
A HUGE slip 'n' slide which was tons of fun!
After this, there was a beer stop! Yes, a beer stop :) Root beer for those who couldn't drink beer. I firmly believe all races should have this now.

Next, there was another wooden wall to climb over. At this point, we ran through some barns and I ran into my sister's friend who I knew was going to be there but didn't know if I'd be able to find her in all the muddy chaos! She decided to join Cindy, Jacki, and I for the rest of the race!

There was couple more mud pits, one of which was called the "Mud Mines" where blasts of mud exploded as you ran through!
We were nearing the finish where there was a huge yellow pyramid blow up slide, when you reached the bottom, you landed in none other than a huge pit of mud!
Next time I think I'll where goggles.

I had such a surprisingly great time at this race! I really did enjoy all the obstacles and didn't so much mind all the mud either.
There were some showers at the finish line which was awesome and very necessary. All in all, a great day had by all.


Race Review Summary 

Package Pickup/Expo:

Package pickup was really busy even before it opened but the line moved along at a decent pace.

Price/Value: $60 (depending on when you register)
But there were lots of discount codes along the way.
 
Aid Stations: 
The only aid station was the beer/root beer one. That was enough as far as I'm concerned for 5k.

Course Difficulty: 
Moderate. The obstacles aren't all easy. One of the rope walls we had to climb over was quite high. There were a few points we had to help some young kids too. I wouldn't recommend it for kids under 7 and definitely be there to provide assistance. Although, if you had difficulty you could skip some of the obstacles, except for the water crossings.

Medals:
No medals but awesome swag! We got a cute v-neck t-shirt, a bandana, and lots of temporary tattoos. I even bought a tshirt at the race for only $15. Because it is the same organization as Color Me Rad you can expect similar quality and prices.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

July Goals

June Goals Recap:
1. Read, Bake, & Run and maybe repeat?
Still a work in progress, but isn't it always?

2. Finish Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half without collapsing.
Done! Not an easy task in the least, but it's still an amazing race and I'm glad I got to take part for another year. (Race Review here)

3. Get more organized.
I went to the dentist, I got a haircut, I organized and cleaned out my house and I'm in the process of selling some of my things. I also ordered a new planner where I'm hoping to keep our family schedule a little more organized.
July Goals:

How is it July? I really don't understand how quickly this year is flying by. It's definitely summertime now, our schedules our filling up and the temperature outside is rising. I've decided to take a break this month from goal setting and just enjoy Summer and my family for a while. Maybe you've noticed I haven't been writing much; I promise I'm still around, I just don't have a whole lot to say right now.

I'm looking forward to the Dirty Dash this weekend in Langley, this will be my first mud run! Have you ever done a mud run, got any tips? I don't even know what to wear at this point...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Race Review: Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon

It has taken me a while to figure out how to write this post. It was a strange race for me. I haven't been feeling well for over a month and it has really made running very difficult and almost non-existent. Anyways, I went into this race thinking that I would just go and have fun with no expectations.

We headed down to Seattle on Friday morning and went straight to the expo!
Outside CenturyLink field.
I was excited to see that Run Happy Island was there and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to ride the mechanical shoe even in a skirt LOL...
We did some shopping and took some photos with our bibs and then headed to our hotel to check in.

We had the usual pre-race dinner at the Cheesecake Factory with Nikki, Sarah, and Jacki. It was nice to continue the girls night tradition! After that it was time to head back and get ready for the race. I knew I wasn't feeling 100% and my nerves about the lack of running I'd done leading up to this race were starting to creep up.

The morning went pretty smoothly. After getting ready we headed to the monorail station and met up with the girls.
It was a pretty beautiful morning but it was clear that by the end of the race it was going to get pretty warm. As we got started I was already hoping for my walk break. I knew that it wasn't going to go perfectly but I thought I'd be feeling good for at least the first half. Unfortunately that was not the case. For such a beautiful course, one of my favorites in fact, it was so disheartening. We pushed on regardless. My plan was to strictly do my 10/1s for at least the first 10km and then reassess. Not surprisingly once we passed the 10km mark, things began to fell apart. We hit the really steep hill leading up to a long tunnel which also has an incline and that I remembered from last year and I had to walk most of that. I told Cindy to push on without me but she was determined that we stick this one out together.

I knew my favorite part of the race was coming up, the overpass that looks onto the water and I had the phone out ready to snap some photos. Practically the only photos I took during the race.
This course is truly one of the most beautiful races and a great tour of Seattle. After the overpasses, we headed back into the city and I knew that there was another hill coming up along the water. By this point we were mostly walking. I felt winded, sore, and completely done. I did my best to push through the last bit in hopes of a sub 3-hr finish. In the end, we came it at 2:49:33. Definitely not a PR but not my worst time either.

I had a nice time in Seattle but was reminded how important training is and that a half marathon even after 26 of them, is no joke, 13.1 miles is far no matter how slice it. I'm in a much different place physically than I was last year at this time and I think I'm beginning to accept it and work on what else I can do to get stronger.

Race Review Summary 

Package Pickup/Expo:

Rock 'n' Roll always does this seamlessly. We had our bibs and packages within minutes and then had a great time wandering through the expo and looking at things. I picked up some official Brooks merchandise as well (pictured below). We received the Run Happy Island shirt for free after riding the mechanical shoe.

Price/Value: $80-110 (depending on when you register)
I think I got it even cheaper because I used the discount from when the Seahawks won the Superbowl.
 
Aid Stations: 
Rock 'n' Roll always provides plenty of aid stations and course support. This is easily a race you could run without carrying your own water.

Course Difficulty: 
Moderate. There is one rather steep hill and quite a few rolling hills but the course is just so beautiful!

Medals:
Awesome as always! I was surprised that the sasquatch on the Pacific Peaks medal was actually fuzzy, strange but also awesome!


Friday, June 20, 2014

Book Review: The Vacationers by Emma Straub

I've been so focused on other things, that reading hasn't been a priority and I always hate that because it's how I de-stress at night before bed. My first clue that I haven't been reading as much is always when my sleeping habits start to go sideways so I picked up a new book and would you guess, I read 5 nights in a row and went to bed at a reasonable hour!

My Rating (via GoodReads): 4/5 stars
Kobo Price: $13.99

This is the perfect/summer vacation book. It's about a somewhat dysfunctional family (aren't they all?) that goes on a trip to an island in Spain together. During the vacation, they really have nothing to do but spend time with each other and in turn, all their dirty laundry and secrets get aired in front of each other. The story jumps around to the perspective of each family member. They don't all leave together and after this trip, they will never be the same.

It was a quick easy read as well as entertaining and even quite comedic at times. The only problem, it made me wish I was lying on a beach somewhere in the Mediterranean. I totally recommend it!

I picked up a new book before I left for Seattle, hopefully it is just as entertaining and I can keep up my good sleeping habits!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookie Bars

I made these last weekend for a girl's night/party I had at my house. They were pretty simple and turned out SO good, I ate all the leftovers myself...

Make sure not to skimp and use Fleur de Sel, with this recipe it makes a difference!

INGREDIENTS
For the Crust: 
9 tablespoons (in other words 1 stick + 1 tbsp)unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for parchment 
1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar 
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 
1/4 teaspoon table salt

For the Filling: 
2 cups of milk chocolate, chopped 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 
1/4 cup water 
6 tablespoons unsalted butter 
1 cup heavy cream 
1/2 teaspoon table salt 
1 tablespoon fleur de sel

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on all sides; butter parchment, excluding overhang. Beat butter and brown sugar on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add flour and table salt, and beat until just combined. Press dough evenly into pan, and bake until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.

Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat granulated sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, washing sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until amber, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from heat. Add butter, cream, and table salt. Bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Pour over chocolate. Let stand for 2 minutes. Stir to combine, and let stand until cool, about 10 minutes.

Pour mixture over crust. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, or overnight. Run a knife around edges; lift parchment to remove whole bar from pan. Sprinkle with sea salt. Trim edges, and cut into 16 bars. If you're going to save some, refrigerate and sprinkle with salt only when ready to serve.
 

Running, what's that?

Wow. It's almost the end of June? What is going on? Time is disappearing before my eyes. Here's what's happening.

1. I had a Stella & Dot party last weekend and baked all sorts of delicious yummy treats like Strawberry Cupcakes, and Chocolate Salted Caramel Cookie bars and took pictures of none of it (blogger fail) so I'm working on posting those recipes for you. Maybe I'll just make it all again so I can have some nice pictures and something to eat LOL.

2. I still haven't started my practicum. I'm so tired. Ugh.

3. I'm running the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half Marathon on Saturday and I haven't laced up my running shoes in weeks. Yup weeks, approximately 3 weeks to be exact. This will be a first for me. It's all just excuses, but life got in the way and now I will face the consequences, but hopefully still have a great time! I need to run too, this is always how it happens; when I need it the most is when I don't have or make the time for it.

Stay tuned to see if I live through Saturday (just kidding) and add this medal to my collection! I'm excited to just get out of the house for a couple days and do something different.
4. I read a book. Imagine that? I'll have a review next week or maybe even tomorrow, if I'm feeling ambitious, for "the Vacationers" by Emma Straub (Hint: I liked it)!
Are you racing this weekend? Do you feel ready?

Thursday, June 12, 2014

May Goals Recap and June (sort of) Goals

Gee, we're halfway through June and I haven't even done my goals recap/new goals... *sigh* that's just how things are going right now.

MAY Goals Recap:
1. Try to pace Brandi (and myself) to a sub 2:27 BMO Half Marathon
We tried really hard for this one (Race Review here), but Brandi was feeling awful and it just wasn't her day so we are going to go for it another time.

2. Just enjoy the rest of my May races.
In Portland, I set aside any time goals and just had lots of fun.

3. Finish my surgical chapter and start my practicum.
This is part of why you haven't seen much of me. I'm STILL not finished. I better be finished by the end of this week though... or I might completely lose my marbles.

JUNE:
I'm hesitant to set any goals right now, because admittedly I'm in a bit of a funk and I just want to crawl back into bed and not do anything for the rest of the month, but I'm going to do it anyway. Maybe it will help.
1. Read, Bake, & Run and maybe repeat?
And better yet blogging about all 3! I've been lacking on all fronts so I need to get back to doing what I love.

2. Finish Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half without collapsing.
This could be difficult since I've hardly been running... see last point.

3. Get more organized.
I used to be good at this. But in the past year I've let it fall apart somewhat, maybe it has something to do with running 20+ half marathons and 2 marathons... For example, I hadn't been to the dentist or gotten my haircut in over a year, I fixed that yesterday but there's a lot more I would like to sort out and what better time than NOW!

4. Let's not forget finishing May's goals.
Really, this should be at the top of the list, but anyways... must get to my practicum.

Do you have any goals this month?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Race Review: Color Me Rad 5k Surrey

After all the trouble with my foot, it was really nice to step back and do a race just for fun. I convinced my friend Jenna to sign up and since she isn't a runner, we decided to walk the course together and then an old friend from high school ended up winning my giveaway for an entry so we all decided to create a team and do it together!

I brought Griffin with me to package pickup first thing on Friday and he had a great time. I think I will definitely be registering him next time!
I made a stop at Target on my way home for skittles (our team name was Chase the Rainbow!) and some white socks/shirt. I loved the shirt we got a package pickup, so I decided to save it so it wouldn't get stained with the color bombs. Parking was really smooth when we arrived. I had been nervous about it, but they had volunteers leading people in quite seamlessly. Jenna and I met up with Alisha and headed into the starting area for a few photos.
Some people were already throwing color around and covered from head to toe, but we did our best to stay white until the starting line. That didn't last long though! Right when we crossed the start line we got bombed with a serious amount of orange and yellow. It only continued from there on out.
I've walked a 5k before and since I've run that distance so many times over it can feel really long especially because I'm usually feeling guilty about not running. I was so glad that with great conversation and all the color flying around to look at, it went by really easily and I had a great time! It was just what I needed!
About every kilometer they had a different colored station. Purple was my favorite I think because you could see it for quite a distance. I also liked blue because they were using liquid color!
Just before the finish they had the pink station and Jenna and I had to stop for a selfie. Just as we did one of the volunteers threw a pink bomb right at us, thus the expressions and my pink teeth LOL. Upon crossing the finish line, volunteers handed us each a color bomb and we headed into a sea of people awaiting the cue to throw our color bombs!
When it finally happened we were literally standing in a color 'cloud', it was really cool!
We saved some color so we could take this photo:
I had so much fun with these girls and at this race, I'm stoked to be doing it again in Vancouver in August!
Race Review Summary 

Package Pickup/Expo:

Pretty quick. Great merchandise for sale.

Price/Value: $50 (Late registration with no promo code)
Not bad. Great time = good value in my eyes.
 
Aid Stations: 
There was 1 water station as well as a bottle of water and snack at the finish line.

Course Difficulty: 
Easy. We walked but it would be a fun little run.

Medals:
No medals but RAD time and great memories!

Thinking you might want to try out a Color Me Rad race? Use discount code "RADFIVE" to get $5 off ANY Color Me Rad race!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These are my favorite type of cookies and after a lot of experimenting, this has been my favorite recipe for a few years now! Great for a summer picnic!
INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup raisins
3 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line cookie sheets with baking mat. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a bowl and set aside. Beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture and then the raisins and rolled oats.

Shape dough into generous 1 1/2-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on the cookie sheets. Bake 1 sheet at a time until the cookies are lightly browned all over, 12-14 minutes. Let stand briefly and the cool on wire rack.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Where have I been? Random update.

How is it almost summer? I can't believe we have been living in this house for almost a year, in some ways it feels like yesterday and in others it feels like ages ago! The last couple of weeks I haven't had a lot of time to put aside for blogging unfortunately, so I thought I'd share a random update about how things have been going.

We built a playground in our backyard. Seems like it should be a simple endeavor, but it most certainly was not. It took over a week and now I have a bunch of landscaping to do to finish it off.
I went for a not-so-great 14k run on Sunday. With the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle half in about a month, I'm trying to maintain the half distance comfortably, but this run just wasn't meant to be. It's unrelated to my injury, but I haven't been feeling 100% and I'm not totally sure what's going on, but it better sort it self out soon!
I'm getting ready for my first Color Me Rad race this weekend in Surrey! I'll be doing it with a friend who is not a runner, so we are planning on walking it together and enjoying the event. We've even created our own team called "Chase the Rainbow"! Be ready for some awesome pictures!
I'm still working on that HUGE chapter for school before my practicum. I'm a little over half way through which is a lot less than I wanted to be at this point considering I wanted to finish it by the end of this coming weekend, there's still hope, but my chances are starting to look slim... So my blogging may be intermittent for a while until I get my new routine sorted out. I've been getting up at 5:00AM about half the time so that I can get 3 hours in before my "mom duties" completely take over the day. Ideally, when I'm working I should be doing 5 hours a day, so right now it's just finding a way to make that a routine that I'm struggling with.
So with all of that, potty training, and preschool visits, it's been hard to sit down and write, never mind read, bake, and run!