Cash Prizes and Comfort Zones

Today’s Run: 8 slow miles

My legs were a little on the sore and tired side this morning after yesterday’s race, so I just took it nice and easy. Some adorable little dog tried to follow me; I had to use my teacher voice to make him go home. He tucked his little tail and scurried away, and then I felt like a jerk. Sorry, tiny dog.

How was everyone’s Fourth? I hope you all had a fun and safe holiday. And I hope you didn’t have to go back to work today!

My Fourth started with a 5k race. As I mentioned here, the last time I did speedwork was before Boston, so I really didn’t know what to expect from this race. I ended up with a 20:21 — not a PR, but satisfactory for no speed training, and good enough for the women’s win and the $75 cash prize.

wiggins 5kCash prizes are my favorite.

The 5k is my least-favorite race distance, so I only do one or two a year — usually local races that fund-raise for a cause that I support (yesterday’s was for my school’s track and cross-country programs). These little races are a lot of fun; almost everyone knows each other, so there’s a lot of camaraderie, and since the field is small, almost everyone wins an age group award. And let’s be honest: winning is fun.

wiggins 5k 002See? Don’t I look like I had fun?

Post-race, we came home to clean up. Then, I spent the afternoon way outside my comfort zone. A group (several groups, I guess) of Coloradoans are trying to get a school-funding initiative on the November ballot. I really want it to pass (I’m a teacher. You should not be surprised by this). But in order for the measure to even get on the ballot, a certain number of Colorado voters have to sign a petition. Which means that normal people have to get them to sign it. The town we teach in has a big Independence Day festivus every year, so J and I thought it would be a good place to collect signatures.

Here’s a list of a few things I don’t like:

1. Talking to strangers

2. Talking (to anyone) about politics

3. Bothering people

4. Spending all day in the hot sun on a dusty field

Yesterday afternoon was made up of all those things. Awesome.  But I got my petition filled, so I feel accomplished. Or something.

In reality, I know it was good for me to get out of my comfort zone a bit. And now maybe I’ll be a little nicer to those clipboard-toting people who approach me with, “Do you have a moment for (fill in cause that I never have a moment for)?”

Funny Apology Ecard: Sorry I never have time for whatever you're petitioning.

Lesson learned.

How was your Fourth?

What was the last thing you did outside your comfort zone?

Coconut-Lime Slaw and Save the Chard

Today’s Run: 7.5 recovery miles

After my run, I met up with my pal Sarah, who is house-sitting here in town, for some walk-and-talk time. Our plan was to walk and then have breakfast at the cafe by where she’s staying, but the place was closed. What the heck. So we just extended our walk so we could hit a different coffee shop. Walking + coffee = happy. We had a little discrepancy, though…my Garmin said we walked 3.9 miles, and her iPhone said 4.57. Hmmm, satellites, confused much?

Fun fact about Sarah: Sarah has been teaching in the same district for the entire time that I’ve been here, but it’s just been recently that we’ve started hanging out and I’ve learned that she’s a really cool person. Way to miss the cool friend boat for six years, Cassie.

Anywhoo, when I got home, I attacked the massive weed patch that was my garden. The good news is that it actually looks like a garden now. The bad news is that my Swiss chard looks like this:

chard 001

What is happening? Can it be brought back to health? Help me, Internet friends. Save the chard!

That was a little dramatic. Here’s a recipe for you to make up for the melodrama.

Coconut Lime Broccoli Slaw

1 package broccoli slaw

1/4 c. coconut milk (the kind in a can by the soy sauce, not the drink)

1/2 can water chestnuts

1 T. safflower oil or other neutral oil

Zest and juice of 1/2 lime

1 T. rice vinegar

1 t. honey

Mix everything that’s not slaw or chestnuts, then dump it all together and mix it up.

chard 002

Easy and tasty. If you’re still looking for a side dish for that 4th of July BBQ, this is a good one!

Can you save my chard?

What are your 4th of July plans? I’m running a 5k in the morning, which should be interesting since I’ve done speedwork a whopping two times since Boston, then doing political stuff that I don’t really like to do for the rest of the day.

I have most of a can of coconut milk left over. What should I do with it?

Seven Simple Rules for Driving Where I Run

Today’s Run: 9 easy miles, crazy weather

When I started running this morning, the sun was shining. About four miles in, the wind started gusting, clouds came over, and it started pouring rain. Five minutes later, the sun said, “Haha, j/k,” popped back out, and kept shining for the rest of the run. Silly weather.

I don’t know if you noticed this yesterday, but it’s July now. I’m not sure what I did to offend June, but she sure left quickly. Guess I’d better make some progress on the summer to-do list that hasn’t yet made it out of my work bag.

Obviously, July is the middle of summer, which means there are a lot of people — runners, walkers, cyclists, kids playing — out and about on the roads. Lately, I’ve witnessed — or been part of — several close calls between these people and drivers. So I think it’s time for a few reminders:

Seven Simple Rules for Driving Where I Run

  1. Look both ways. This seems like common sense, no? But apparently, it is not. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve nearly been hit by a right-turning driver who only looked left. Swivel the ol’ head, please.
  2. Get. Off. The. Phone. A few mornings ago, a driver whipped into a gas station as I ran by, and he nearly wiped me out. He was texting and never even saw me. And that’s just one of a number of recent instances in which I’ve witnessed drivers doing something dangerous while on their phones. Seriously, folks, it’s illegal for good reason. Is your phone call more important than my life? (And who are you calling at 6 a.m., anyway?) Don’t talk and drive. Don’t text and drive. Just drive.
    Don't text and Drive Green Road Sign with Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sun. Stock Photo - 10577222
  3. Take your right-of-way. I know you’re just being nice when you wave me across the intersection when it’s not my turn, and if you and I are the only ones there, that’s a cool thing to do. But if several other cars are there, too, just go ahead and take your right-of-way. Waving me across confuses the other drivers, who may not see me or may not see you wave, and that makes it dangerous for me.Once, a driver even stopped at a GREEN light and waved me across.

    I’ll wait my turn; you take yours.
  4. Make eye contact, and give me a little smile or wave. That’s the only way I know that you see me and aren’t going to smush me.
  5. Share the road. If a sidewalk is available, I’ll run on it. But in a little town like this, you run out of sidewalk sometimes. I run facing traffic, like I’m supposed to, and when I see you coming, I scoot over as far as I can without getting into a weedy mess and twisting my ankle.  All I’m asking is that you scoot your car (or semi) over just a smidge and try not to run me off the road completely. And if we’re on a dirt road, please slow down enough that I’m not choking on dust for the next five minutes. Will the 2.5 seconds for which you have to slow down really make you that much later?
  6. Don’t honk. This is more of an annoyance than a safety issue, but it’s worth mentioning just the same. Here’s why:
    Your thought process: “I know you! I will get your attention and wave to you! HONK HONK! Hi!”
    My thought process: “Do do do. Running running running. That’s a pretty flower. I love running. (HONK HONK) Aaaaiiiii !!!! *jumps three feet in air and poos a little*”
    Just tell me hello later. We’ll probably see each other at Wal-Mart anyway.
  7. Don’t get upset if I don’t trust you to do these things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve truly believed that a driver has seen me, so I started across the road, only to have the driver start pulling forward, then slam on the brakes when he actually sees me. So even if I think you see me, I’ll probably still be cautious about crossing in front of you. Please don’t make angry “hurry up” gestures at me; this caution was learned the hard way.

Those aren’t too hard to follow, right? But we’ve all been guilty of breaking them — me included. So let’s all be a little more careful for the rest of this summer, okay?

What “rules” would you add to the list?

Adventures in Evergreen: Part II

Today’s Run: 8.2 miles, hill repeats, much better than yesterday!

Hold on tight, kids, this is gonna be a long one.

I ended yesterday’s post right before telling you about our hotel, so that’s where I’ll start today. We stayed at The Brook Forest Inn, and it was a great choice!

Picture 027

From their website: “The Historic Brook Forest Inn has roots dating back to 1909. Its Victorian architectural style and rustic charm have been preserved and updated to classic detail.” We stayed in the Versailles room, which had a queen-size bed, a daybed, and a bathroom — simple, but that’s all we needed. It was definitely old, but charming-old, not sketchy-old. I thought it was adorable.

A few more shots of the Inn:

Picture 018From the back

Picture 019The backyard was set up for a wedding; it would be a beautiful place for a small, simple wedding.

Picture 016 Picture 015I think this is where its name came from…the brook. And the forest.

Picture 021Big fireplace.

Like most mountain-town hotels, this one is not air-conditioned. It was fine at night with the windows open, but stuffy when we first arrived. So we decided to quickly get ready, head down early for dinner, and have a drink in the pub downstairs.

Picture 006All gussied up

Dinner was ah-maze-ing. The restaurant in the inn is called The Chandeliers. I’m not sure why.

Picture 008Oh, that’s why.

Remember yesterday, when I talked about splurging? This is where we did most of it.

We started with baked brie with honey and cranberry jam, which was delicious, and then ordered our entrees. I had chilean sea bass, which was “encrusted in black sesame with a vanilla butter sauce, over risotto with seasonal vegetables.” The fish and vanilla sauce were good, but what really stole the show was the risotto. Oh. My. Gosh. I wanted to marry it and have its risotto babies. If you go to Evergreen and eat only one thing, make it this risotto.

And what would an anniversary dinner be without dessert? We had a Kahlua bread pudding, which was divinely chocolatey and went perfectly with coffee.

After we finished our dessert, we took our stuffed bellies and our coffee back over to the pub to listen to the live music. It was just a guy with a guitar playing Buffet covers, but he was decent and it was fun.

Saturday, we got up early, loving the cool mountain air and the smell of pine trees coming in our window, and got ready for our hike. The Inn provided breakfast, which was typical hotel breakfast — cereal, toast, some sad-looking fruit — but the scenery was better than typical:

Picture 014Coffee and trees by a brook…perfect!

We had originally planned to hike at Alderfer/Three Sisters Park, but as we drove that way, we spotted the trailhead for Maxwell Falls, which I had read was a beautiful, short hike. We had planned to stop for water before hiking, so we only had a not-quite-full bottle, but it was cool out and the hike was short, so we decided to give it a go. Terrific decision!Picture 031The weather was nice and cool, and not very many people were out yet. We did the Lower Falls trail, but we never saw any falls. We did, however, see a lot of wildflowers and beautiful scenery, including this stream:

Picture 033

And this pretty little lady:

Picture 030She stuck around for quite a while, until some other hiker’s dumb dog came running down the trail and scared her away. Leash laws, people. Follow them.

The trail eventually met up with the Upper Falls trail, which probably actually led to waterfalls, but we didn’t follow it all the way there. Our water was running low, and we didn’t want to be the idiots who come unprepared and get themselves in trouble. I was glad that we headed down when we did, anyway: we met a lot of people coming back down, and the parking lot at the trailhead was full,  so we wouldn’t have had much more quiet, uncrowded trail time anyway.

After we left the trail, we stopped at a convenience store to get some water and debated where to go next. We decided to head toward Morrison and stop wherever looked fun. We ended up going to Bear Creek Lake Park, which is not a hiking park — it’s all paved bike trails — but it still made for a nice walk. We were outside and together, which were my two main requirements for the day, so I was happy. And there were some pretty flowers.

Picture 042I know that’s a weed, but it’s a pretty one.

 We ended the morning (which by then was early afternoon) by sticking our hot toes in the lake — a perfect ending to the morning — then cruised into Denver for lunch, then on home.

This was a pretty simple getaway, but it was just what we wanted for our anniversary. I can’t wait to go back to Evergreen and explore some more of the trails up there!

What was the best part of your weekend?

Adventures in Evergreen: Part I

Today’s Run: 12 miles. Bad ones.

This was the roughest run I’ve had in quite some time, most likely because of all the eating I did this weekend. I eat healthily most of the time, but I think it’s perfectly okay to splurge sometimes — especially when you’re celebrating, say, a five-year anniversary. So splurge I did, and this run was my body’s way of telling me that that splurgey-time is over and it’s time to get back on track. Thanks, body. Maybe send a friendly reminder text next time.

Enough about that. Let’s talk about that splurge-tastic weekend instead.

Originally, we had planned to do a two-day, one-night getaway for our anniversary, but then I saw that Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, would be in Boulder on Thursday night to discuss and sign his new book.


A few teacher-friends and I wanted to go, and J and I figured it was silly to drive home from Boulder at 9 p.m. and leave again for Evergreen early Friday morning, so we got a hotel in Broomfield and made a two-night getaway of it instead.

We stayed Thursday night in an aloft Hotel, which is apparently a new branch of  Starwood Hotels.


It was kind of a cool place — very trendy and modern. Too trendy to even capitalize its name. It was a nice place, though; I’d stay there again.

Friday started with an early run for me, then J and I cleaned up, grabbed some breakfast, and headed off to Evergreen.

Originally, we thought that maybe we’d do a short hike on Friday, but by the time we got to Evergreen (around 10:30), it was already pretty warm out,  so we decided to wait until Saturday to hike and spend Friday exploring the town. We did a little shopping, grabbed a little lunch, then headed over to Evergreen Lake.

A few weeks ago, I bought a Groupon for paddleboat rentals at Evergreen Lake. We were looking forward to paddleboating…until we realized that you can’t use a Groupon that you forgot to print. Whoops. So we decided just to walk around the lake and watch all the other paddleboaters/kayakers/SUP-ers.

Picture 002(not a bad view from here!)

As we walked, we saw this gate.

Picture 004I think you guys forgot something… like the rest of your fence.

Eventually, we cruised on back to our hotel to get ready for dinner. Which I will tell you all about later, when my computer decides to stop kicking me off the Internet every five minutes. Enjoy your Sunday!

What do you wish your body would tell you via text?

Five Years of Wedded Bliss

Happy Anniversary to this guy!

j cropped

We’ve been married five years as of today, and they have flown by! It started here:

jordan%20seducing%20me(That’s our first date. It was Halloween; that’s not our usual weekend attire…or is it?)

Went here:


Then here:

Luau Love1


Yellowstone National Park


100_2384(Washington State…this is in Rainier National Park)



And a lot of other places along the way! We’re off today having more adventures. I’ll catch you up this weekend.

Honestly, I can’t believe how blessed I am to be spending my life with such a funny, sweet, caring, and patient fellow. Here’s to many more years! *clinkclink*

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever heard?

Tabata, Not Ciabatta

Today’s Run: 7.1 miles, s-l-o-w

I usually have a really hard time running recovery pace…it just feels so slow! But after two hard workouts yesterday, I knew that my legs needed a break, so I focused on keeping it easy.

“Wait, two hard workouts? But you only talked about hills yesterday.” Right. But my friend Jaylin (my running inspiration) saw this post, where I sang the praises of Carly from The Body Firm, and she suggested that I try Carly’s Wednesday night class, Core and Tabata. And I’m glad she did!

tabata class (This is The Body Firm‘s picture, not mine, and I think it’s from the Friday tabata class. But you get the idea.)

If you’re not familiar with tabatas, here’s how they work: you work as hard as possible for 20 seconds and “rest” for 10, repeating that cycle for four minutes. Each four-minute set is called a tabata. Last night, all the moves were on a bosu, which meant our cores had to work the whole time. We did 20 seconds of push-ups with a 10-second plank, then 20 seconds of plyo mountain climbers with a 10-second plank. We did those two sets for four minutes, and that was tabata one. The second tabata was 20 seconds of lunges with a 10-second rest (so we could switch legs), then 20 seconds of football runs with a 10-second squat.

I was dripping sweat by the end of the first tabata. I don’t mean that hyperbolically. The bottom of my bosu looked like a little pond. And by the end of the workout, this was all of us:

tabata cat(source)

 It was awesome. We did each tabata three times, so in a mere 24 minutes, we got a total-body, strength-and-cardio workout that was a real butt-kicker. Definitely try tabatas–especially if you’re short on time to work out!

When I got home, J asked me if my ciabatta class was delicious. Maybe he thought I was training to do this:

Speaking of ciabatta, let’s talk about bread. If you’ve perused the bread aisle lately, you’ve probably noticed that a lot of bread is not so healthy. Even the breads whose labels look healthy – proclaiming things like whole grain! heart healthy! – list about 9 billion ingredients, including high fructose corn syrup and a bunch of weird preservatives that most of us can’t pronounce.

Of course, not every bread is unhealthy – some of my favorite healthy breads are Food for Life, Rudi’s, and Udi’s – but none of those are available here. And if you can’t eat gluten, your options are even more limited. So what’s a sandwich-loving girl to do?

Eat collards, that’s what.


These giant green leaves are ideal for making wraps. Just wash one and leave it a little wet, microwave it for 20-30 seconds, hack off the stem, and fill the leaf with your favorite sandwich fillings.

Does it taste like bread? No. Don’t be ridiculous. But it tastes good, it’s healthy, and you can pick it up and eat it sandwich-style. So that’s a win, in my book.

collard sammich1

It’s like a little present. Surprise! It’s a turkey burger!

If you don’t like or can’t find collards, red-leaf lettuce works well, too.


Have you ever done a tabata workout? If not, do you want to now?

Favorite sandwich fillings?

Potatoes for Dinner and Hills for Breakfast

Today’s Run: 8.6 miles – hill repeats

I started my workout a little after 5:30 this morning – about an hour earlier than yesterday – and it was so. much. cooler. Sleeping in is for chumps. Of course, finishing The Pillars of the Earth yesterday meant that I didn’t stay up reading half the night, so that made the whole early-morning thing easier.

My training schedule today called for “long hill repeats” –up and down hills that take two to three minutes to climb. The biggest hills in town take less than a minute, so it was time to head outta town…a little bit. My favorite hills for this type of workout are a little over four miles from home. Since I didn’t want my warm-up and cool-down to be longer than the actual workout, I grabbed my trusty two-wheeler and rode a little more than halfway there, then parked the bike and started the run. That way, my warm-up and cool-down were only about a mile and a half each—much better.


(This is a crummy picture; I was using my phone and couldn’t really see the screen. Those are hills.)

These are my favorite hills to run repeats on because there are several in a row, which makes the workout feel MUCH less tedious than running up and down the same hill ten times.  These hills are perfect for this workout:

 hill graph

I got a nice, long downhill run for my cooldown and biked home.  I’m practically a duathlete (or not). And I got a bike ride in for Bike to Work Day, even though I don’t actually have to go to work today (neener neener).


 In other news, our five-year anniversary is Friday, so J brought me these yesterday:


I heard that someone *coughSarahcough* said that J and I are nauseating. Whatever. I got flowers.

So I made him potatoes for dinner. The poor potato has gotten a bad rap recently, but potatoes are actually good for you…as long as they’re not fried or smothered with cheese and butter, of course. Potatoes are high in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and B-vitamins, plus they provide complex carbohydrates to give you energy without a crash later on.  So eat them!

Here’s how we had ours:


1 lb frozen French-fry cut potatoes (pre-cut, not pre-fried)

Fresh basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary

A sprinkle of Parmesan cheese

Baked at 450 for 15 minutes and devoured alongside turkey burgers.



What’s your favorite potato recipe (healthy or not so much)?

Did you bike to work (or wherever) today?

Chicken? I Could Eat Some Chicken

Today’s Run: 9.1 miles, easy pace, super sweaty

I’m going to have to start running earlier in the morning. I’m such a pansy when it comes to heat. If I ever had to move to the south, I would probably just fall over dead. But it was a good run despite being sweaty. Especially since I got these in the mail yesterday:

Picture 003

Oooh, orange.

I also got these in the mail yesterday:


Summer reading, English-teacher style.

Anyway, my legs were pretty tired this morning and took a looong time to loosen up. I blame Carly at The Body Firm. I go to her Muscle Works class on Monday nights, and it is fantastic. If you live here, hit it up. She has a different workout every week, so it doesn’t get redundant, and she’s super high-energy. Her energy and encouragement definitely make me push harder than I would otherwise. Seriously, go. (No, The Body Firm is not paying me to say this. I just really like that class.)

After Muscle Works, I went to yoga. I do not like yoga. It’s not because of the instructor or anything; I’m just extremely inflexible and feel like this:

yoga (source)

But it’s good for me, so I go.

Yoga ends at 7:30, and by the time I bike home and shower, it’s close to 8:00, which is pretty late for dinner when you’re an old lady like me who goes to bed at 9. I definitely don’t want to spend extra time cooking, so I decided yesterday afternoon to put something in the crockpot.

I have a recipe for hoisin chicken drumsticks that’s pretty good, and we had drumsticks in the freezer that needed to be used, so I thought that was perfect. I dumped the chicken in the crockpot and got out the hoisin sauce…and realized that there were only about two tablespoons left in the jar. My recipe called for a half cup. I would have just stuck the chicken in the fridge and waited to start it, since I had to go grocery shopping anyway, but the Wal-Mart here doesn’t carry hoisin sauce. I just decided to improvise, and it turned out pretty tasty.

Crock-Pot Asian Chicken

Ingredients (I didn’t actually measure anything; these are estimates. Adjust as necessary):

Picture 001 –> See what happens when I take my own pictures? Craptastic.

2 lbs frozen chicken drumsticks (skinless is best if you can find them. Breasts would work, too)

2 T hoisin sauce

¼ cup liquid aminos (or soy sauce)

1 T Worcestershire sauce (bonus points for pronouncing it right)

1 T fish sauce

1 T honey

2 T sesame oil

3 t minced garlic

½ t ground ginger

¼ c water (I put it in the hoisin jar and shook it up)

Put the chicken in the crockpot. Mix all the other ingredients. Taste the sauce. If it’s gross, add more of something. If it’s good, dump it over the chicken. Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours or low 7-8 hours. Open the cupboard and realize you had a brand new jar of hoisin this whole time.

Picture 002

Oh, wait, that last step was just mine. It’s hard to be this smart.

J had his chicken on rice; I had mine with a side of broccoli. Yummo.

Almost every time I make chicken, I think of this:

friends (source)

I remembered yesterday that all the good bloggers post questions for readers to answer in the comments. So:

Show me what a wimp I am: how hot was your workout today?

What’s your favorite Friends episode?

So…I’m a Blogger Now

Today’s Run: 8.2 miles with 10 200m strides

The first post seems awkward. You don’t really know me yet, but I’ve posted some basic info in the About Me and About the Blog sections…so what should I say here? I think I’ll just pretend that I’ve been blogging for a while and we’re pals, and I’ll start in the middle.

Today started Week 2 of training for Rock ‘n Roll Denver. For my last four marathons, I’ve used one of Pete Pfitzinger’s plans from Advanced Marathoning (if you’ve never read it, go buy it now. It’s fantastic.), but I bought Greg McMillan’s book You, Only Faster  in Boston and am using a plan from it this time. The book teaches you how to design your own training plan, based on your strengths and weaknesses as a runner. It was good stuff, and I’m interested to see how this training cycle and race turn out compared to my Pfitz races.

Today’s run was a rough one. It stormed hard last night – which was awesome, because we desperately need the moisture – but it made for a humid run. Colorado is not exactly a humid place, so on the rare occasion that it gets steamy, I don’t adjust well. I got lightheaded after my last couple of strides and had to sit down on the laundry room floor, head between the knees, dripping sweat, and make the husband bring me water and Nuun. It was super attractive, and he felt lucky to be married to me just then.  But the Nuun evened my electrolytes back out and I felt all better. Before the whole dizziness issue, it was a nice, uneventful run.

In other news, Teachers Write 2013 started today. It seems like it’s going to be a pretty awesome experience that will make me really work on my writing. And what could be cooler than summer camp….even if it is online? If you’re a teacher, check it out here.

Well, then.  I’m going to post this silly first post, then go buy some groceries and hopefully see some candidates for People of Wal-Mart.

P.S. I hope you like this blog. I promise there will soon be more pictures…that I actually take. Be gentle in your comments; it’s just a baby blog and still has a lot of developing to do.

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