Week 1…. again


I went to a weight watcher’s meeting on Monday.  Weighed in at 162.  I have stuck to the program so far this week and hope to see a change in the scale on Monday.  Knock that 2 off of there and head in to the second week strong. 

I haven’t worked out much this week.  I took Monday off because it was the day after the Triathlon and I needed a day to recover from being so bad ass (hahaha).  Tuesday I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym, Wednesday I let my day of gardening count as my workout (LAME huh?), Thursday I just skipped out, Friday I went on a 3 hr hike with my friend Shannon near Deer Lake…. not sure what my motivation is going to allow today.

I think I am going to do an easier 10 week half marathon training program since I have been some what slack with my workouts.  Monday is the start of week 10 before the race, so I will kick it off then. 

Right now, I think I am going to drive up to the Colville National Forest and see if I can find some huckleberries.  Wish me luck.

Race The River Triathlon 2011


Me on the right, shaking hands with the ladies who earned 1st and 2nd place

The Race The River Triathlon in Coeur d’Alene Idaho took place yesterday, which was July 24th 2012.  The race allowed 800 athletes to enter.  Your’s truly had the honor of participating.  I placed myself in the Athena division (which is anyone who weighs over 150 pounds) for the competition, and earned 3rd place for the division!  My final time was 1hr 25min.

One of my race buddies received 2nd place for her division, which was the 60-64 age group.  The other got a goodie bag from the race officials because it was her first ever triathlon.   

The structure of the race was a little interesting.  I honestly had my doubts that the event would go off smoothly, luckily my doubts were misplaced. 

Review of the race

PRE RACE- My race buddies met at my house at 5:00am, so that we could get to Coeur d’Alene and get set up in the transition area before it was too crowded (CDA is about a 45 min drive from Spokane).  Because I have a hard time finding my bike after the swim I purchased two helium balloons to tie on the bike rack for easy visualization!  It worked really well.  After the race I received several thanks, as many people used them to find their barrings.  The transition area was well-organized.  At 7:00am the transition area closed, the race volunteers were extremely strict about the transition area rules.   

THE SWIM- The swim for this race took place .5 of a mile up-stream of the Spokane River.  Participants walked the half mile to the start.  At the start athletes had the option of putting personal items into bags marked with their race number and having volunteers transport the stuff back to the transition area.  This was great!  It worked really well, and I was able to wear shoes and warm clothes untill the start of my wave.  Which I really appreciated because my wave was last (7:45am) and it was cold.  The chilly weather gave me great apprehension about participating in the race.  I had no desire to plunge into a cold river.  It was almost worth folding before starting to skip getting wet.  I questioned why I decided to do another one of these races up untill we were signaled to start. They told us that the water was about 65 degrees.  brrr. 

The swim was an in-water start.  Two boayes marked the starting line.  Treading water was a little difficult because the current wanted to carry us towards the finish line. The swim was lined with well prepared volunteers in kayaks, and some treading water ready to assist anyone in danger.  I felt very safe.

At the end of the swim we had to swim into a ramp that was half way under water.  Only 1 person could enter the ramp at a time.  This wasn’t a problem, and there wasn’t a bottle neck effect when I arrived.  There was then a stretch of deck where we were able to stage shoes prior to the race.  This is because the transition area was about two football field lengths away from the water.  I also left me towel by my shoes and ran with it back up to my bike.  This portion of the race gave me a lot of apprehension at the start, but really it worked out nicely.  I liked having my shoes on before I reached my bike, and I liked towelling off while I ran towards the transition. It made me feel like I wasted less time in transition.

THE BIKE- This was my first race on my new fancy pants bike.  A Specialized Dolce Sport.  Which was a bribe gift from my mother.  (SPOILED ROTTEN!!! haha!).  In all of the triathlon that I have participated in the bike has been the hardest section for me.  Having this bike made a SIGNIFICANT difference.   

This section of the triathlon was the scariest.  It was 11 miles long, but racers had to do 3 loops along the same path.  We had to keep track of our own laps.  I had no idea who was on which lap.  The path was constantly full of riders.  At one point I felt like I was some where in the tour de france.    I like to be a bit more spread out so I can tell who is passing me and who I am passing…. this was just a cluster of people who could be way ahead or way behind my position.  The race had 2 gradual inclines, one a bit more challenging than the other.  Mostly it was flat. 

During the bike I passed one man, who was sporting super bright and super tight red bike shorts.  On top he wore a tight camouflage (the print was like what a hunter would wear) dry fit shirt, which was tucked into those red shorts. Just to help you with the mental image: On the bottom half this guy was pretty lean, but up top he was fighting a beer belly.  I am guessing he was about 5’6″ tall.  He was huff’n and a puff’n but determined to keep with me.  As we were both exiting the bike portion of the race he aggressively repeated about 10 times: “Pain is weakness leaving the body! Pain is weakness leaving the body!”  This made me smile and helped me stay motivated during the run.

THE RUN-  The run was 3 miles long.  I averaged 9min 40 sec miles. The run was mostly flat, with one little steep hill.  There were volunteers handing out water and directing racers.  The were wonderful and did their job very well. 

The last half mile… or quarter mile, of the race was snaked through the park around a pond.  I would just like to say that I HATE when a race doesn’t end right as you hit the park.  It is so hard to run that last section winding around and around not knowing where the stopping point is exactly.

THE END OF THE RACE-  As racers crossed the finish line a volunteer removed  timing chips from ankles as another volunteer handed out bottles of water.  There was music, an announcer calling out names of finishers and keeping observers entertained.  There were orange and banana slices as well as muffins.     Each participant was able to get a sandwich, chips and water at their leisure.  There were 3 different kinds of sandwiches, and tasty pickle wedges to go with them.  *Yum*

The transition area was opened back up to athletes, but a volunteer ensured that bikes leaving the area matched body markings and race bibs.

AWARDS- Finishing times were posted, but not all of them.  Some people stuck around just in case they placed, which somewhat sucked for them.  The awards took about an hour and a half to complete.  Between medals the race officials handed out door prizes.  The door prizes were pretty awesome.  Some of the prizes were compression socks, gift certificats for new shoes, visors, hats and race IDs. 

FINAL GRADE- I would give it a B.  The race didn’t earn an A because of the super-duper cold river, scary crowded bike ride, winding through the park at the end of the run and not posting race results completely.

Cherry Picker’s Trot, Green Bluff


Grower PhotoCherry harvest has begun in Green Bluff, wich is a farming community in north Spokane.  The cherry season is celebrated with many festivities, one of them is the annual Cherry Picker’s Trot. Though the trot has been around for 33 years this was my first year of participation.  On the Green Bluff website the trot was advertised to be 4 main activities; The pit spit, tot trot, hamburgers/hotdog feed and of course the 4 mile cherry picker’s trot.  All money made on the event went to help the community fire department.

The Pit Spit- this is a competition where cherry pits are spit for distance.  The record for men is currently sitting at 43’2″ and for women 32’9″.  Each competitor gets to spit 3 times. (3 free cherries!  woot woot!).  I figured that I could get pretty close to the record, seeing as how I am a competitor… and I am a very good spitter.  I should have practiced.  My technique just wasn’t getting the job done.  My farthest spit was 20’9″, which didn’t get it done.  Next year, I will be prepared.

The Tot Trot- Wanting to take full advantage of the festival I recruited a 4 year old boy, son of my good friend to come with me.  (I also brought two 6 year old boys, an 11 year old girl and my dad for a little adult back up).  The tot trot was a a short loop in the grass roped off with flags.  The kids were broken down in to age groups; 0-2, 3-4, and 5 year olds.  The little racers were super psyched, and ultra competitive.  I over heard little guys bragging about their speed and how they were going to win.  Just before the kids were let loose a surprise visitor came to help them run.  Otto!  The local baseball stadium mascot.  My little  competitor’s parents got married at the local baseball stadium, so you can bet he was super psyched to have such an honored guest to run with.  At the end of the event, each kid received a red ribbon.   I wanted one!

Hamburger and hot dog feed- for $5 people had the option to choose between 1 hamburger or 2 hot dogs.  They also received a bag of chips and a pop.  We fed 6 people with $20! Very nice. 

The Cherry Trot-  The fee to enter the race was $20 for a whole family (6 or less people), or $7 for an individual.  this did not include a shirt, which were offered for an additional fee.  Being a little on the broke side, I went for the family fee with no shirts.  If I had been on my own I probably would have gotten a shirt and ran the race.  With kids it would just be a walk, and not as t-shirt worthy.  The trot was a four mile loop around the rolling hills of farm land.  All of the kids did great!  I carried tired little legs on my back maybe a total of 1 mile. The walk was a challenge for my dad, due to diabetic foot surgeries, but he pushed himself to the end!  He was determined to not be last.  our finishing time was 1hr and 30min.  I am guessing the last walker made it over the finish line about 5 minutes after us. 

Other stuff-  It surprised me that the event included several other options for fun, if you had money to spend.  There were pony rides for $5, roping for $2, a ride on a little caterpillar train pulled by a man in a tractor for $2, for .50 kids could feed a dixy cup full of grain to some donkeys, there were snow cones, ice cream cones, pie, cherries to buy, extra shirts to buy…. and a band to listen to for free.  As you can guess, the kids wanted to do everything!  I had planned to buy them hot dogs, and that was it.  The begging was difficult, and I wished I had requested a little dough from their parents and would have if I had known so many things would be available to tempt children in to spending my money :) .

My opinion- This was a FABULOUS event.  I think I would have really been able to enjoy the band, and enjoy the scenery of the race if I had been on my own or just with other adults.  I probably would have spent my $20 a little differently and obtained some of the delicious cherries we were all out celebrating.  Running would have been a bit less exhausting then kid corralling.  Going from 0 to 4 is a tough one to do in a crowd.

Alligator Gumbo


I have officially eaten alligator! Here is how my culinary adventure went down:

Step one: My husband and I ordered 2 pounds of alligator meat from this quirky little store/meat market that’s just a few blocks from our house. The meat cost $11.99 a pound.  I honestly thought that it would have cost more, or  that I would have been required to order more at one time.  I placed my order on Tuesday and the meat was in by Friday. 

Step two:  We picked up the meat just before heading out of town to the warrior dash and stashed it in the freezer untill we could find time to cook it. I was super excited to pick it up!  Just purchasing it was an adventure! I chatted with the meat guy about my plans for the alligator, another customer got into the idea and wanted to order some himself, the check out clerk shared her disgust for the idea of eating such an animal.

Step three:  We decided what we were going to do with the meat.  The plan was to use half of it to make gumbo, and the other half we would pan fry.  We read several recipes online and watched a bunch of YouTube videos about how to make traditional gumbo.  We went with a video done by Dale Deibler, with a cameo appearance of his lovely wife helping him keep the recipe straight.  We picked this guy ‘s video for several reasons; he looked to have everything really organized and easy to follow, he didn’t need to read a script so we knew he had made this gumbo a time or two, and he was wearing suspenders.  I highly recommend his video if you are planning to make gumbo for the first time.  Mr. Deibler makes 5 gallons of gumbo, using 5 pounds of alligator in the video.  I just reduced everything to work with my 1 pound of alligator meat that was alloted to the gumbo mission.  It is ten minutes long, a little slow… but I just love the way he says “Taste so good”.   AND by the way, if you visit this dude’s web page you will see that his family business offers to take people on alligator hunts! I think that might be in my future!!!

Step four: Buying ingredients.  (I copied down the ingredients while Dale showed them off in the video…. accept, he said that butter would be needed and he never seemed to use butter). I found everything extremely easy to find except the okra.  I wanted fresh okra, like what Dale uses in the video but couldn’t find any.  So I had to ask the clerk at Safeway what was up with no okra… we discovered that the did indeed carry okra, but it was either pickled or frozen.  I went with a bag of frozen. Ta-da!

Step five:  I began cooking! I was at my parent’s house and everyone wanted to question what I was doing.  They kept asking if I was sure it should be done the way I was doing it… um… guys… NO.  First time.  Some of the anxious ideas I received; bigger pot, not enough chicken broth, too much pepper, did you remember the tabasco, you need more okra in there, are you sure you browned the gator meat good enough, you got it started too late… and so on. BUT! I was in an easy-going/good mood today and just smiled and reassured everyone that our adventure was gonna go great! 

I got all the veggies, spices and sausage in to the pot, added the broth and got it heating up.  It smelled great and was pretty. Don’t you think?

Next, I browned the gator and added it to the pot. The most exciting part was the making the roux, so let’s make it a step all on its own.

Step six: Roux.  The roux is supposidly very important for the gumbo.  I was excited to make the roux because it needs to be cooked on the hottest possible temperature, which I always want to do, but end up messing the food up because… that’s not the way your supposed to do it for most things :) .   I watched several you tube videos about making roux. 

Our roux, as you know because you watched the video, was made with equal parts of olive oil and flour. You start out with just hot oil in a heavy cast iron pan, then add the flower, you have to mix the roux constantly or it will burn.  The mixture was a pretty yellow color and bubbled a lot as I mixed in the flour. After about five minutes the roux began to calm down a bit. and darken in color.  As seen in my you tube video the roux began to thicken up more and turn a chocolate-brown color.  At this point, the smoke alarm went off, and I got anxious.  I didn’t want to ruin my first roux!  Jesse came over and opened windows/doors and turned on the stove fan.  He told me to not worry, and that I could just make a new one if I messed this batch up.  Also, at this point the roux is supposed to be added to the pot of other goodies.  Jesse helped with this, thank goodness.  When the roux hit the other mixture it hissed and bubbled like crazy!  I got a few little burns from it spitting all over the place. 

 Step seven: Let it cook in the pot on low for a while.  We let ours cook about forty minutes.  I had to keep stirring the gumbo because the pot we were using was pretty thin and it wanted to stick to the bottom even though we had it on low.  Sadly, the brown roux made my gumbo ugly, but it still smelled pretty tasty. 

While it cooked I made rice in my handy rice cooker, and Jesse pan-fried the rest of our gator meat.  He salt and peppered the meat, dredged it in flower, then dipped it in a cream/hot sauce mixture, re flowered it and fried it up in oil. 

Step eight: EAT!

This was a great adventure! But, sadly, I must say I don’t think I am a huge alligator meat fan.  It was a very interesting texture, the meat seemed to be held together by a spiderweb of soft, but somewhat elastic, strings.  The meat in a beef steak now seems strangely organized in comparison.  The meat we had was in a bunch of pieces.  Some of the pieces had an after taste that reminded me of catfish, some of them didn’t.  I think that the fishy flavored pieces contained more fat.  In my self-education of alligator meat I learned that if the fat was not trimmed well the meat tasted awful.

I also, do not think that I am much of a gumbo fan in general.  The base of the gumbo was just too heavy and smokey flavored for me.  Perhaps I made it wrong?  I do not have anything to compare it to.  Jesse said it tasted like gumbo he has had before.  I will try it again if the opportunity ever arrises. 

All in all, this experience still gets two thumbs up because I had a blast trying something new.  Now!  get out there and order some alligator meat if you haven’t had any yet! good luck!

The Difference Between a Runner and a Jogger


What is the difference between a runner and a jogger? 

        

I used to hate anything that resembled running for the sake of running.  The mile in PE class was a dreadful day.  However, I was an athlete.  I played basketball, softball, volleyball, soccer…. some rugby in college, but avoided running without the involvement of a team and a ball at all costs.  This changed slowly over the past few years.  I did some sprint triathlon, then decided that I enjoyed individual fitness, and strangely felt the need to run a half marathon.  My first road race was a 10 mile race…. skipped right over the whole 5k thing.  I knew I could run a 5k, it wouldn’t challenge me much and it would suck like running seemed to do.  But, a half marathon that would be something to be proud of.  A real challenge.

On Friday I did my first long run in my training program for my next half marathon.  During the run I got to thinking about what makes a person a “jogger” and what makes a person a “runner”.  When I talk about my work outs I call them “runs” not “jogs”.  I call my shoes “running shoes”.  I bought said shoes at a store called Runner’s Soul.  Does that make me a runner?

I wear tight spandex like shorts… not short running shorts…. because my legs are too grande and any shorts that have even a little bit of swoosh to them WILL ride up and I will end up with some serious chub rub.  Not wearing the typical running attire makes me feel like I am not a runner.  Not having slender legs makes me feel like I am not a runner. 

My workouts are generally pretty slow.  A good mile for me is anything under 10 minutes.  Don’t runners move faster?  But then again…. don’t runners run shorter distances?  Is it bad to be a jogger? Is the term “runner” in the eyes of the beholder?  I mean, to a person who hasn’t walked a mile in the last ten years what i do is extremely challenging.  To a guy on the college cross-country team I probably look to be just a smidge more athletic than the couch potato. 

A little help here?

Warrior Dash, Washington


Jesse and I did the very first Warrior Dash held in Washington yesterday. The race was done in waves over two days in North Bend Washington, which is about 3.5 hours from Spokane.  I signed us up for the race back in March, it filled up some time in April.  I had wanted to sign us up for a Saturday wave but by the time I decided to take the plunge and pay the money only Sunday races were left.  This turned out to be a good thing because of weather.  It rained all day Saturday and was much colder than Sunday. 

The race was fun and had several perks.  For a $50 entry fee participants received a warrior dash cotton T-shirt, a fuzzy viking warrior helmet, a finisher’s medal and 1 free beer.  I, like most of the people in the race would have paid the money, and driven the three and a half hours just to play in the mud and do the obstacle course that was layed out over 3.5 miles of beautiful farm land.  Along with the free beer (which by the way there were 5 different types of beer to choose from) there were some pretty good musicians rocking out the entire time and people decked out in wild costumes were partying down all over the place. For a small fee there was more food and gear available to purchase, such as HUGE turkey legs for 6 bucks.

Even though the race was awesome there were some down sides.  We drive up to this huge parking area when first arriving… we pay $10 to park, which felt kind’a crappy as there was really no other option.  THEN we were shuttled to the place where the actual race happens, across the town.  The shuttles were big yellow school buses, which I must admit were kind of fun as the interior of the buses were finger painted all over the place with mud.  They PACKED the buses full, the isles were even full of standers.

Another down side was that the race really wasn’t that safe.  The course was riddled with ankle twisters in the areas that had vegetation, and the areas that did not have vegetation were muddy from the rain the day before and the constant trampling.  People were sliding all over the place.  A few people broke ankles just from running in the slippery/pot hole like conditions. 

The obstacles were pretty fun.  However, they too were pretty unsafe.  several of them were created out of two by fours and ply wood.  On a regular sunny July day they would have been fine.  In soggy North bend weather and a few thousand muddy bodies crawling over them they became a great place to lose footing and gain hurts.  One particular obstacle stands out in my mind.  The “teetering traverse”.  This obstacle was about 6 feet off the ground, and warrior dashers had to balance across boards to get to the other side.  We saw a rather unfit gal fall. Later we heard that one of the planks snapped in half with a group crossing the board at the same time, and another not so fit gal broke her arm.  Along with this obstacle there were walls we had to climb, made also of slippery wood, cargo nets, cars to jump over, fire to jump and of course mud to swim through. 

I had a blast.  I loved the challenge, I loved sharing this experience with my husband, I loved swimming in mud and jumping over fire.  I always love getting a medal and a T-shirt.  However there were a  lot of uncoordinated, un-athletic people in the race.  Several times I was afraid for my safety, and constantly afraid I would have the need to bust out my nursing school skills to do CPR on some pot-bellied warrior who had a heart attack and fell down the side of a cargo net while busting a bone through his shin amongst the mud and running crazies.  :) We signed a waiver though… so it’s all gravy baby! lol

Windermere Half Marathon, Spokane


This Half Marathon was in May.  After the race I felt like I had the flu!  It was the FIRST hot day we had, and none of my training was done in the heat.  My body was angry with me to say the least.  The Spokane Half Marathon is in October.  It will hopefully be cooler, I will hopefully be a bit lighter.  However, the Spokane Half Marathon will include several hills.  The Windermere did not.  The hills have me pretty freaked out.  I think I will start running the largest hill of the race every other week, just to take away the intimidation factor. 

It was a big deal for me to commit to running a half marathon.  It was then a big deal for me to actually start running on the treadmill.  It was a big deal for me when I started running out side, a very difficult transition for me to make.  It was a big deal for me to line up on the starting line and to get my medal at the end.  Now… Hills.  Hills.  Me. Yikes!

Jesse is going to do the half marathon in October too.  I am excited for him too.  I am afraid for him though.  He isn’t really following a training program.  He runs some.  He lifts some.  Maybe I should remind him of the super ginormous hills???

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