Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Honeymoon Outdoor Adventures 7/6/18

We went to Asheville, NC for our honeymoon, and intended to do a bunch of hiking while we were there.  Looking Glass Falls in Brevard, NC, was high on my list of places I wanted to go, but it turns out that's not actually a hike...just a flight of stairs down to the falls from the road.  We were going to find a hike to do after Looking Glass Falls, but we drove through a torrential blinding downpour on the way to Looking Glass, and the sky was awfully rumbly and a bit drippy, so we decided not to risk a full hike anywhere.  We did find another waterfall nearby that was just a short walk from its parking are though.  (Daniel Ridge Falls).  And we also got to enjoy the views from the Blue Ridge Parkway as we made our way back from Brevard to Asheville.

Looking Glass Falls
Despite the rain and resulting chill in the air, there were a lot of people here, on the steps, on the rocks, and in the water!  We ended up wading out into the water to try and get some photos without people in them.  The water was pretty chilly which I wouldn't have minded if it was 90 degrees out, but since it was cooler and damp I started shivering immediately.  

Daniel Ridge Falls 
(also known as Jackson Falls)

Blue Ridge Parkway : Cradle of Forestry Overlook

too bright to open my eyes!

where's my sunglasses?!

Friday, June 15, 2018

Foodie Friday

Several times over the last few months, I have considered making some kind of a fruit pie.  And then not done it, because the last time I tried to make a crust it didn't work and I and I had to throw it out.  And making crust is time-consuming and messy and I just haven't had all that much time or patience to make one!  But this week, I decided that I was going to actually make a pie with some nectarines I had.  And since there weren't quite enough nectarines to fill a pie, I decided that I would add blueberries.  And then I wanted to add some kind of herb because I finally have a place to plant herbs in the ground and I love it!  (My rosemary and mint plants are doing fantastically, the basil is struggling...but I managed to pull just enough leaves off of my basil plant to throw in the pie).

I searched around Google for a bit and settled on this recipe/directions from Savory Simple to use as my base.  

The crust
2 cups white flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
scant 1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz cold unsalted butter
~1/2 c cold water

The filling
5 nectarines
2 large handfuls of blueberries
~1 tbsp chopped basil leaves 
(I used cinnamon basil because that was the only basil plants Lowes had when I went to buy my garden herbs!)
scant 1/4 c white sugar
scant 1/4 c brown sugar
~2 tsp cinnamon
dash of salt
3 tbsp corn starch

Bake at 425 for 20 minutes then lower to 375 and cook for 35 minutes.  
(My crust came out slightly burned, so 25-30 minutes probably would have been sufficient.)

I used my pastry cutter and a knife to make the pie dough.  I skipped painting the top crust with milk/sugar.  I did make a lattice crust for the first time!  I was in a hurry to get the pie in the oven before friends came over for dinner, so it was slightly sloppy...but I've always said taste is more important than looks!  And the pie was definitely a big hit!  

There was a giant flour explosion all over the counter by the time I was done rolling out the pie dough...but I managed to keep the mess confined to the counter, so clean up wasn't tooooo bad.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

May Review

Oof what a month it has been!  Today was the last teacher work day of the year and now I am officially on summer vacation!  As I was falling asleep on the couch around 7:30 PM I suddenly realized that it was the last day of the month.  When I managed to rouse myself, I checked Strava to see how many miles I had run this month.  I learned that I only ran EIGHT times this month.  For a total of 53.5 miles. 

I did take 2 full weeks off after the marathon, on purpose.  Only running 4 times in the past 2 weeks was...less intentional.  But still ok.  There has been an awful lot going on this month and overworking my body by trying to come back too soon post-marathon would probably do a lot more harm than good.  Now that I am on vacation and "mostly" settled into my new house* though, I'm hoping to get back to some kind of running/strength training business-as-usual. 

*Anyone ever tried cramming a 5 day school field trip, a marathon, moving out of an apartment and into a house, wedding planning, and the last month of school before?  I don't recommend it.  But I wouldn't change a thing.   Also, I am in love with our house, and I survived much better on inadequate sleep at the end of the school year than I would have thought possible.  Even with absolutely terrible allergies driving me completely crazy. 

Anyway, I'm taking it one day a time.  I'm gonna spend the next week getting everything in the house into it's proper place.  And hopefully I will run more than twice.

Week 1 : 5/1 - 5/6 : run 35.6 miles
2 flat runs in Georgia in the midst of full days of kayaking in paddle boarding, and then the Pittsburgh Marathon.  My body was so beat by the end of all that!

Week 2 : 5/7 - 5/13 : nada

Week 3 : 5/14 - 5/20 : nada

Week 4 : 5/21 - 5/27 run 9.6 miles
After 2 full weeks off, I thought it was time to run again.  I did a nice easy run with the group on Monday, and planned to do the same on Tuesday.  But the Tuesday group was doing a track workout.  I should have just run by myself, but of course I went with the group instead.  I did their relatively-easy 1600, then did the 800 a bit faster, but not as much faster as them.  Then I knew there was no way I was going to make it through their whole workout (a bunch of 800s and then a bunch of 200s) and a cooldown, so I did a 400 and a 200 and then called it quits on the workout.  And then somehow I didn't manage to run again all week.  I could have run on Sunday with Coby but I took a nap instead while he ran in the rain...

Week 5 : 5/28-5/31 : run 8.3 miles
Week 2 of trying to come back.  On Monday we did our first run from the new house.  Only one questionable dog encounter.  Then I did the smart thing and did not go to run club on Tuesday.  (It was a really smart thing, because apparently the group did a timed 5k on the track.  Ew.)  Easy group run on Wednesday, and now here I am falling asleep on the couch again while Coby runs in the rain.  I think I'll run tomorrow...

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Pittsburgh Marathon 2018

Marathon #4 is in the books!  The 2nd that my body was totally unprepared for, and it's hard to say because I've probably blocked the last bad marathon from my memory, but I think this one was worse.  BUT, I did make it to the finish line, I did run the entire race, and I did get my BQ!  A little bit sad that my slowest marathon is the one I plan to use as my Boston Qualifier, but oh well.  All that really matters is I beat the 3:35 cut off time by 5 minutes and change.

The forecast said it would be in the low to mid 50s for the whole race, and there was an 80-90% chance of rain as well.  I debated wearing a shirt since the morning air felt cold to me, but in the end I decided against it, and I was barely a mile into the race before I knew that leaving the shirt behind was the right choice!  I never got too cold or too hot during the race, so that worked out pretty well.  And luckily, it really didn't rain at all.  I think it started sprinkling in the last mile or two, but it wasn't a big deal.

I had a "seeded" start position, which allowed me to be near the front of Corral A, but I ended up not even trying to be that close to the front.  I think I started somewhere near the middle of Corral A.  I settled into a comfortable pace, not wanting to be too slow, but making sure it didn't feel like I was really working either.  I had my camelbak on with about 1.5 liters of water, and 1 stick pack of Tailwind mixed in.  I was carrying my inhaler in my Hydraklick belt.  At some point in the first 5-6 miles, I noticed that the belt pouch felt very cold and wet, and I was feeling occasional cold drips go down my legs.  It seemed way too cold to be my sweat, and also my belt pouch has never gotten that soaked just from sweat.  I reached up and discovered that the back of my camelbak was also dripping wet.  I think by the end of the race, I had drank about half of what went into my camelbak, and the other half leaked down my back.  That's what I get for buying a cheap knock-off bladder to replace the one I filled with mold, I suppose.

The course was not a difficult one at all, especially considering all the hills that could have been included.  There was a long gradual hill or two, but there was nothing even close to steep, and most of the race was flat. Most of the inclines were going on or off of bridges, and they were pretty short.   I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get a strong push up the longer hill around mile 12 because of all the flatness before it, but I didn't have too much trouble.  I'm guessing the lack of steepness helped with that. 

I felt ok until about mile 12, and then I started to feel the stress of the distance. Coby was on his bike riding around to cheer for me at various points on the course, and when I saw him around mile 13.8 it gave me the boost I needed to wake my legs back up and run a few more miles.  By mile 15, I was in the surge-crawl cycle, with the surges gradually getting shorter and the crawls getting longer.  By mile 18 I was hurting quite a bit.  Mile 25 I was completely dead, and then somehow managed to pick it up for the last mile, and give a good, pure adrenaline-filled surge to the finish line.  After I crossed the line, I was barely able to walk, but managed to stagger through the very long finish chute.  I downed a whole bottle of water, and grabbed another one to drink more slowly later.  When I finally came to the crowd of spectators at the end of the finish chute I just walked blindly hoping Coby would find me, and thankfully he did very quickly, as I was on the point of collapse.  My body was so done, I had barely made it through the chute without crying, so of course I lost it once I had a shoulder to lean on.

The walk back to the car was long and painful, and I had nothing but a heat sheet and a towel wrapped around me to keep me warm, but I made it.  And even managed a smile for a post-race photo... but my legs hurt so bad for that walk I don't know how I made it to the car!

Monday, May 7, 2018

Savannah and Tybee Island

This past week, I spent 5 days chaperoning a 7th and 8th grade field trip to Savannah and Tybee Island, Georgia.  I was rather worried going into the trip, as it wasn't forecasted to be be super warm, and it was right before the Pittsburgh Marathon, so I was worried about exhaustion leading up to the race, but it all worked out!

We drove down to Savannah on Monday, where we went on a walking tour of the city and then had dinner at Lady & Sons, a Paula Dean restaurant.  Then, we headed to Tybee Island where we stopped at Sea Kayak Georgia for an introduction with our guides, and then headed to our cabins at River's End Campground.

 Found a McDonough street!

On Tuesday, we went kayaking.  We left from right behind Sea Kayak Georgia, where you can only put in during high tide.  We paddled through the waterways between marsh grass, into Chimney Creek, into Tybee Creek.  We landed on Little Tybee for lunch and exploration, then paddled to a sandbar for more exploration before heading back to Tybee for some downtime and dinner.

Little Tybee Island

On Wednesday, we went stand-up paddle boarding.  I wanted to try it out, but was a little worried about committing to it for a whole day, not sure how hard it would be or how sore I would be afterwards.  I didn't know when I would get another chance though, so I went for it.  I was half tempted to stay on my knees, but after a little bit, I tried standing up.  My legs would not stop shaking, and I felt super off balance, so I ended up dropping back to my knees.  I had to try again though...and the second time, I felt much more stable, and managed to stay up.   We paddled to Myrtle Island for our picnic lunch, and to explore the driftwood trees, and then paddled to the sandbar again.  The kids all went off to the middle of the sandbar where they built some kind of fortress out of the sand, and used a dead cannonball jellyfish to "bowl."  They named it Jelly-Bowling... (At the end of the trip, several of them named that as their favorite memory).  I really liked the driftwood trees, but the other really cool part of this day is that we had a whole pod of dolphins swimming next to us for a lot of our paddling time!

On Thursday, we drove about 75 minutes to Ebenezer Creek, a Cypress-Tupelo fresh water creek, where we got into canoes for our exploration.  It was the first time I ever got in a canoe, but found it not any harder than kayaking.  I was paired with a 7th grade girl, and it took us very little time to figure out the teamwork part of paddling a canoe.  We were lucky enough to have high enough water to go into the "Cathedral," which is where the trees grow close together in the swamp and you can paddle between them.

On Friday, and packed up and headed out, with a stop at Fort Pulaski for a quick tour.  We could have spent more time there, but we were getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, so no one was interested in really exploring.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Workout Wednesday : Circuit Training

I'm on a outdoors/kayaking/paddleboarding field trip in GA this week with my 7th and 8th graders, but I forgot to post a workout on the 18th, so I've scheduled it to post today while I'm gone. 

3 sets, 15 seconds rest between exercises and 2 minutes rest between sets. 

*ice skaters : slower to work on balance, quicker for extra cardio

Monday, April 30, 2018

April Review

Week 1 : 4/2 - 4/8 : run 35.2 miles
I finally got my 20 mile run done!  Exactly 4 weeks before the marathon.  I was rather sluggish for the whole run, but I was able to stay in good spirits throughout.  I ended up with an 8:41 average pace, which is not great, but at least it was under 9:00!

Week 2 : 4/9 - 4/15 : run 18.3 miles
I started off the week easy with a 3.7 mile shakeout run, then took 2 days off to let my legs recover from the 20 miler.  Thursday I expected to do an easy 4 miles with the guys but they apparently changed their minds about going easy...I ended up with a 7:19 average pace.  Probably faster than I should have been going, but it was a relief to know that after weeks of sluggishness I could get my legs to move faster!  Friday was another easy short run, and then on Saturday I ran the Chocolate Chase 10k in Lewisburg.  I did a good job of keeping it at a tempo pace instead of race pace, and was pleased with how it felt.

Week 3 : 4/16 - 4/22 : run 30.7 miles
Blue Ridge week! Monday was a short and easy but super windy run.  On Tuesday I skipped run club in favor of a solo 7 miler to see how my legs were doing.  I enjoy running with others, but have missed running alone, and I find that I need to really run my own pace once in awhile.  I find it impossible not to be influenced by others when running in a group.  On Wednesday I did a long overdue hip strengthening yoga practice, and on Thursday I did a short track workout with Corey to make sure my legs were ready to go for Saturday's race.  We did 2 sets of 600/400/200.

Saturday was my 8th running of the Blue Ridge 1/2 marathon and despite my misgivings going into it, it went super well!  I didn't start pushing the pace at all until the 2nd half of the race, and it paid off big time.

Week 4 : 4/23 - 4/29 : run 22 miles
Easy shakeout on Monday, followed by Tuesday on the couch. Easy 4 mile group run on Wednesday, slightly faster group run on Thursday, Friday off to pack for a 5 day field trip in GA plus a few days in PA.  On Saturday I ran a point to point 10 miler, for my last real mileage before the Pittsburgh Marathon.  Hoping to get in a short run or two while in GA, but not sure if the schedule will allow for it.  At least I will be getting exercise with kayaking and paddle boarding and canoeing!