9.18.2014

Hot Chocolate 15K/5K 2015 Discount Code for a Free Hat!

I was just sharing this year's freebie code with my Oiselle peeps and realized that  I didn't have an official post up on the blog with the info for this season's Hot Chocolate 5K/15K Seattle!  Here are the deets:
code: SEAHAT2
  • The race is Sunday, March 1st 2015 - perfect time of year for some hot chocolate.
  • The swag is always awesome, and this year is no exception:
Fleece lined full zip hoodie!
  • This year, they added medals for the 15K and they are super cool, city-specific bling.
Hella awesome, right?
  • The folks at RAM Racing put a lot of thought, time and effort into choosing the hot cocoa and fondue - trust me.  And it is goooooood.  
yesssss.
Hopefully I've tempted you to join me and get yer free hat.  If not, here are my recaps from Seattle AND Chicago.  I can attest to the fact that the race in each of these cities is so fun and really well organized.  If you wanna run in any of these other cities:
  • Atlanta
  • Austin
  • Chicago
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Denver
  • Minneapolis
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • San Diego
  • Seattle
  • St. Louis
  • Nashville
  • Los Angeles 
Go here and check out this great race series!

9.14.2014

Crock Pot Chili Round Up and This Weeks Eats 9.14.14

As I mentioned last week, I'm a big fan of having chili on Sundays in the fall.  There's not much better than an easy crock pot meal on a chilly night while watching football.  It's a wee bit difficult to imagine that right now, since we are having quite a heat wave here in Seattle.  But, we are Midwesterners who installed air conditioning in our house as soon as we possibly could, so it's alllll good.  I thought it'd be fun to share my favorite crock pot chili recipes and if you have any to share, please, please do so in the comments!

my adaptation of Pioneer Woman's Chicken Chili for the crock pot

Tequila Lime Turkey Chili from Pink Parsley
Cream Cheese Chicken Chili from Plain Chicken (I use 1/2 the cream cheese and it's still super tasty)
Steak Chili from Spoonful
Jalapeno Popper Chili from Everyday Reading
Pioneer Woman's Chicken Chili in the Crockpot - my own adaptation of her great recipe

And this week I'm trying an easy one pot chili mac, so I'll let ya know how that turns out...

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

9.10.2014

Women Of Wonder Race Recap (and my ideal women's race)

A couple of months ago, Oiselle hosted a ladies night at my favorite local running store - Everyday Athlete in Kirkland.  After a nice group run, we were treated to local wines, chocolates and a raffle with awesome prizes.  I was pretty stoked to win an entry to the Women of Wonder race at Greenlake and I promptly signed up for the 5K.  

Despite not having done much speed work all summer, I felt like my fitness was better than the last time I ran a 5K way back in March and hoped to better that time at the very least.  My 'A' goal being to improve at least 45 seconds and my 'B' goal was to place in the top 10 of my age group.  Normally, any kind of placing is not within my goals - but based on last year's results, my recent 5K time would have got me 3rd in my age group.  So yeah, this is a popular race for first time 5K-ers.

Race day finally rolled around and I was super glad that Dawn had decided to sign up and we drove over together around 8AM for a 9:30 start, in order to pick up our packets and catch some Jasyoga, of course.  


I love seeing familiar faces at a race and after hanging with the Jasyoga peeps, I had the pleasure of seeing Julie (last year Ragnar teammate) and Amanda (this year's Ragnar teammate) at the start line.  Amanda also placed 2nd overall, coming in juuuuust over 20 minutes.  

In addition to the Jasyoga prep, I tried really hard to channel Lauren Fleshman's most recent blog post on how to run the perfect 5K.  I did some mobility exercises, a 10 minute warm up with a few strides and (as mentioned above) set my A, B, and C goals.  The real kicker was that I executed the race strategy almost perfectly!  This was what I was most proud of at the end of the day.  I remember reading an article a few years back that contrary to popular opinion, you should go ALL OUT at the the beginning of a 5K, as that actually results in faster overall times.  However, I think this was probably meant for much more skilled runners, because that has just not been working for me!  SO, I tried to get into a fast but maintainable pace for the first mile and it went by so quickly. Yay! I should also point out that I had no idea what this pace was, because I inadvertently let my Garmin time out just as the race was about to start.  In mile two, I did my absolute crazy best to stay focused (per Lauren's instruction), because that's normally where the wheels fall off for me.  I barely remember mile two, just that my mouth was so very, very, dry and that I kept repeating mantras ('I am/here now', 'faster as a master', 'head up/wings out') and mile two was OVER.  Focus for the win!  However, it just seemed to push back my usual meltdown into mile three.  About half way through that mile I could feel myself slowing down, my legs turning to jello and the self doubt talk crept in.  But, this is a much better point in the race to have this happen!  The doubt and negativity can only hang around for less than half a mile, rather than a whole mile and a half.  With a time of 26:22 I ended up meeting my 'C' goal, doing a wee bit better than my last 5K, and I met my 'B' goal by placing 5th in my age group (30th woman overall out of about 800).  
post race with Dawn
Women of Wonder is mostly geared toward the fun-run and first-timer crowd, so there's lots of pomp and circumstance to lure those runners.  I enjoyed my post race brownie, they had lots of great vendors/sponsors, and sure I'll take a medal for a 5K!  And I might have taken more advantage of the mimosa/beer garden if the race was on a Saturday.  I really do love the idea of getting more women interested in running (I wish ALL my girlfriends were runners!).  However, there are some aspects to these kinds of races I love, and others, not so much...

Like I said, I really wish all races could be held on Saturdays.  It just lends itself to more people hanging, celebrating, etc.  Adding beer to the mimosa garden this year was a fantastic call.  My ideal women's running event would also involve not only mimosas or champagne at the finish, but beer as well - because, hello, women like beer, too!   

Jasyoga would also be a part of my ideal race, and kudos again for the organizers for including them.  Although, I wish they were given more spotlight - maybe even a microphone and a bigger area for yoga next year, by the community center?  And if my race couldn't nail down Jasyoga, maybe some local elite runners to lead everyone in some warm up and activation exercises.

Even though I've run a few 5Ks in my day and knew going into this race that there would be a lot of new runners, I know that we are all indeed RUNNERS.  Notably, the race corrals should reflect this fact.  Because I'm running slower than an 8 minute pace does not make me a JOGGER.  And running slower than a 12 minute mile does not make one a SHUFFLER, GOOD GOD.  Just post the paces for runners and a spot for walkers.  Easy peasy.




So, this is personal preference, but I would have neither pastel pink nor lavender (really any pastel color) themed ANYTHING - tees, medals, etc.  It's like the girls toy aisle in Target: pink or lavender people, those are your only choices.  I'm just not into it. 



Why the foofy shade of pink?  Why butterflies?  With a Superwoman themed race, where was the red, white and blue?  I like the navy shirt but I'd rather the theme be more simple and bold with NO BUTTERFLIES.  ALWAYS NO BUTTERFLIES AT ALL.  (This is a take on a Friends reference, in case you missed it.)  




I suppose ideally I would want Oiselle to design a kick ass race tee with strong, bold lines and pink that you can totally rock.  Like Kara Goucher at New York Fashion Week.  FEMININE FIERCE people.  Failing that, I'm still waiting for the offer of pajama pants as race swag.

If I had to pay for this race, I'd say it's a little pricey for a run around Greenlake, of which there is one almost every weekend.  However, if it's your first 5K and you really want a medal, fun atmosphere, or an opportunity for your kiddos to run, it's got everything you're looking for.  It would definitely be a race I'd consider running with my girl one day.  It's very family friendly and, in addition to a free kids dash, you can register as a mother and daughter duo with kids 12 and older.  She would most certainly be down with the butterflies and pastel pink...


9.07.2014

One Pot Cheesy Italian Spinach and Sausage Tortellini and This Weeks Eats 9.7.14

Looking over last week's Saturday recipe for the one pot tortellini, I was compelled to give it an overhaul.  The idea of cheddar jack cheeses with tortellini just didn't jive, in my opinion.  Plus, I'm all for decadent meals and I LOVE cheese.  But, this recipe has a wee bit too much going on for my taste.  So I hope you enjoy my adaptation.  It's still WAY cheesy; I'm thinking I'll even eliminate tortellini next time and pick up some other fresh pasta from the refrigerated section, and/or eliminate the sausage and add more spinach.  Either way, this turned out REALLY good!


One Pot Cheesy Italian Spinach and Sausage Tortellini

2 tablespoons of olive oil
1/2 cup of diced onion
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 pound of turkey kielbasa (or 1/2 pound of hot Italian sausage)
28oz can diced tomatoes with juice
20oz package of refrigerated tortellini (or other fresh pasta)
2-3 cups chopped fresh spinach
1 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup of grated Parmesan
1/3 cup of grated provolone or mozzarella
heavy pinch of salt and pepper
crushed red pepper to taste
basil for garnish

Heat a large 12 inch straight sided pan or dutch oven to medium heat.  Saute onions with olive oil until soft.  Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add sliced turkey sausage and cook until browned.  (If you are using raw Italian sausage, cook through.) Add chicken broth, tortellini, tomatoes, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Bring to a boil, stirring often. Turn heat down to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until pasta is cooked to al dente. Add chopped spinach and stir until wilted and incorporated.  Stir in cream and cheeses, then remove from heat. Cover and let stand for five to ten minutes. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired. 

This Weeks Eats
As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!

9.04.2014

September Goals (and August Check In)

Recap on August goals...

finish up the 100 happy days challenge and do the one second a day app 
This was so much fun.  If you follow my Instagram, this is why I got a little heavy on the video!


video


Continue with the run streak.
I'm up to 103 days! As I said last month, gonna keep on keepin' on as long as it feels good.

Run smart in Bend and don't overdo it just because I'll be surrounded by a bunch of fasties.
 

Check!  I really did dial it down, maybe even too much - I was totally trying to chat people up the whole time I was running the 5K!  I had thought to do a long run at some point, but just did an easy 4 on the trails and it felt like the right decision.  It was about enjoying the run, and we sure did.




Yep, it was done when I wrote my last post, but worth repeating!

September goals:
  • The Women of Wonder is this weekend and I feel like this is the first race in awhile where I have some clear goals in mind.  I haven't been following a specific training plan, so I'm not sure if I'm in a position to PR.  But, I feel like my fitness is a lot better now than it was prior to my last 5K.  So I'm gunning for a sub 26 as my A goal and, judging by last year's results, maybe even an age group placement - given that I'm oh so old.
  • Conversely, I decided to switch down to the 10K for the Beat the Blerch race since I'm just in it for the cake and festivities.  Goal: major funning.
  • I think I'm just going to keep putting the run streak on my monthly goals, until I get knocked down with some awful sickness now that school has started...
  • Time for a car oil change, exciting!
  • Time to clean out the junk/storage closets, exciting!

9.03.2014

Books I Read in August 2014

Ah, only three books this month.  I'm pretty sure I can happily blame that on a nice little retreat to Bend.  I think I read for a total of 15 minutes there...

Shift (Silo, #2)

Shift by Hugh Howey

This was equally compelling to Wool, but it did drag for a bit in the middle. Maybe because I had to put it down for a few days while I was on vacation and it was hard to get back into the momentum of the book... Either way, I really enjoyed how the author goes back and forth between perspectives in space or time to tell the story.  It's a highly original and thought-provoking read.

The Vacationers

The Vacationers by Emma Straub

Eh, it kept me turning the pages and there was some good humor.  But, it just felt predicable or I didn't even care about anyone enough to wonder about how their fates would unfold.  I'm not saying I have to love every character, or even ONE character, in the books I read.  But if they ARE going to be deplorable at worst (and bland stereotypes at best) it should be a crazy interesting exciting read (hello, Gone Girl).  This was a bunch of people hanging out on their snobby European vacation.  Meh.

Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

This book was AWESOME.  A sci-fi take on Cinderella and it had nuances of Star Wars (LOVE), AI, and a bit of Tudor England-esque drama.  I thought it was well plotted and highly entertaining.  Maybe it's been awhile since I read a good YA yarn, but I can't wait to devour the whole series.

Linking up with The Modern Mrs. Darcy's awesome 'Twitterature' book posts roundup!

8.31.2014

Woodinville Whiskey Maple Syrup Granola (and This Weeks Eats 8.31.14)

While talking with a friend over dinner a few weeks ago, I mentioned how my husband loves the whiskey from our local distillery Woodinville Whiskey.  Not being much into whiskey myself, she said that she had a fabulous recipe for granola with the maple syrup they age in the leftover barrels.  


I had my husband procure the elixir on his next visit and promptly made a few batches (and tweaks), so here's my take.  And, really, if you can get your hands on this syrup - I HIGHLY recommend it.  Sometimes I'll do half the aged syrup and half agave, just to extend the life of this rather expensive treat.  It's great on it's own, over yogurt or, if you're not into dairy, this whipped coconut cream from Shutterbean is AMAZING.  Thanks for the inspiration Karin and Karen!

Woodinville Whiskey Maple Syrup Granola

2 Cups Rolled Oats (I like Trader Joe's Multigrain Hot Cereal)
3/4 Cup Dried Cranberries
1/2 Cup Shelled Sunflower Seeds
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/4 Cup Chia Seeds
1/2 Cup Woodinville Whiskey Maple Syrup (or other awesome syrup, agave nectar, etc)
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
1/4 Teaspoon Allspice
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

Heat oven to 325 degrees.  In a small saucepan, mix syrup, butter, cinnamon, allspice, and salt.  Hear over low heat until butter melts.  Whisk to blend, then pour over oat mixture and stir until it is well coated with syrup mixture.

Spread onto a large baking sheet lined with parchment or aluminum foil.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Stir and rotate pan, bake for an additional 10 minutes, checking every few minutes, until golden brown.

As always, I'm linking up with Org Junkie, Mommy Run Fast and Jill Conyers - be sure to check out all the great weekly menus!
 

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