Thursday, May 31, 2012

#2 Run a 10k

#2 on my 30 during 30 list was to run a 10k.  Back in early March I committed to a "Couch to 10k" program that I had thrown on my ipod touch and used to train for a 10k.  There seemed to be a lot of excuses for me during that time to not go for the 60 minute run/walk that the program required three times a week.  Some days I was biking home because my car had been stolen, and no one wants to run after biking up to the ridge I live on.  I had a cold for a few weeks, allergies for others, the weather was bad, I was busy, whatever!  I had a lot of excuses.  I still managed to get in a significant amount of training.  I know this because the program keeps track of which workouts I completed, but I also did a few runs with Dave without the ipod.  Lastly, my legs and behind are less jiggly than they were in early March.

I feel good when running now.  When I first started, I had a hard time running for more than a few minutes at a time without feeling the lack of muscles in my legs and the lack of heart health and lung health.  My last two weeks of training I was doing 10 minutes of running, 1 minute walk on and off for 60 minutes.  It felt good.  I trained on trails near my house, not the sidewalk like I had originally imagined.  The trails were just more beautiful and motivating, even if I had to jump around rocks and cacti some of the time.  They also had a lot of elevation change.  My usual route started with a massive hill, went downhill slowly, then back up at the end.  Twice I ran straight up 1,000 feet from my house to the base of the mountains (okay, I didn't run that whole time, there was plenty of walking).  One thing that was missing from my training was any concept of distance.  I never knew how far I was actually running.  I just ran when it told me to run and walked when it told me to walk.  I think this was good for me.  I was able to just focus on being in shape and not on the 10k distance.  It made me a little nervous though because I had never ran 6+ miles in a row.  I didn't know what my body would do after maybe 4 miles.  Luckily, I had another non-runner friend training in a similar way and we just vowed to do our best!

On Memorial Day, several my friends and 55,000 other people gathered to run in the Bolder Boulder.  The bus situation was poorly described on the website, so I biked a little longer than usual to get to a park n ride that I knew would have bus service to the starting line.  Three biked miles and $4.50 later, I had my ticket to the starting line and managed to get there in plenty of time before our N-wave gathered.  The trick to this was to pack lightly, only bringing with me what I was going to run with... a bike key but no house key, an insurance card, and bus pass, but no ID, energy chews and a kleenex, but no phone.  Unfortunately it was about 50 degrees when I left the house and was biking downhill in the cold.  I had to bring a light jacket.  Later I had to wrap it around my waste and run with it, was was super annoying.  I decided to run with my ipod as well, which I really liked.  I planned it for the workout that had me running 10 minutes, walking 1 (I ran the first 15 minutes because of the 5 minute warmup it allowed for).  I planned out some good tunes to keep me motivated.  
Our little crew all gathered in our wave together and planned our meeting place for when we got separated after the finish.  We made our way up to the starting line.  We were near the back of the wave, but the timing is linked to a thingy on your shoe, not on your specific wave time.  Once I crossed the starting line there were literally thousands of people WALKING in front of me!  Really?  You couldn't at least TRY running the first mile?  Yes, we signed up for the jog/walk wave, but I was clearly being way too polite about this whole "I might be slow" thing.  I saw two friends start running around the walkers and I decided to do the same, hoping my other inexperienced runner friend would follow, but we all managed to get separated right at the beginning after a few zig-zags around slow people.  The zig zagging takes a serious amount of time.  Several times I was pinned behind an entire line of walkers.  It felt good being one of the fastest people around, but I know my times would have been better if I was being pulled along by a fast wave, rather than dodging people.  I'm proud of the slow people of Colorado for coming out for it, I just wish that I had chosen a wave in front of them.  My fault.  Still, don't sign up for a jogging/walking wave if you have NO intention of even jogging past the starting line.  (Looking back, we had signed up for the 90-100 minute jog/walk wave... definitely a bad move.) 

I always feel not so great when I first start running.  My muscles feel weak, I breath heavily and get a dry throat, I'm tempted to walk.  I know this about myself, so I set rules that I would only walk when the lady on my ipod told me to.  Turns out after my body numbs to the experience a bit, the pain isn't as noticeable and and I find my groove.  The first mile marker came really quickly and so did the free water.  I used the water station as a chance to pass as many people as I could!  After this the route goes uphill for quite some time.  These hills are insignificant compared to the trails I was used to running on, but they were still very noticeable.  I had a hard time up to the summit of the route and my slowest mile was mile 3.  Mile 5 felt great because it was downhill.

At one point near the end I reached a limit of too much running.  I walked for a good two minutes and ate an energy chew, which is hard to do while breathing heavily.  Perhaps a liquid shot would have been preferable.  Little did I know that this long break before the final hill was the time that Dave was spectating!  I must have looked like such a wuss!  Little did he know that I was doing so well the mile before!  I've got a few pictures of me looking like a wuss, walking.  Oh the regret!
The last section is a run up a hill into the stadium.  People had flat out given up and had spread their slow selves all over the 2-lane road making it nearly impossible to get around them.  The steep hill is what I had trained for!  I ran my fastest past those slow pokes and into the stadium and past the finish line, dodging muffin-tops left and right!  (Okay, I probably have a muffin top myself... but I'm getting better!)

I could have done better.  I want to do it all over again, like, tomorrow.  I can see where this would be addicting.  The race was so distracting, I wasn't in nearly as much discomfort as I usually am when I run alone!  The next day I felt mildly sore, but the only thing that lingered was my lungs feeling a little weak, like I have to cough. 

My total time was 1:08:03.  This means that I was running at a pace of waves that left an hour before I did.  At least now I know that next time (next time?  am I crazy?)  I should sign up for a sub-70 minute wave.  Lesson learned.  Running in the wave we did was fun and confidence boosting.  And that might be a great way to leave my first 10k.  It was so fun running with friends, even if we weren't together during the run, knowing they were ahead and behind me was a great feeling!

I'm going to keep running.  I like the way my body is starting to feel/look.  I'm less... blobular than I used to be.  Less hunchback-of-Notre Dame.  Less jiggly.  More likely to wear a swim suit in front of people.  I appreciate the feeling of my heart being more healthy.  I'm 30!  I'm starting to feel as young as I am and I don't want to stop going down that road.  What should I run in next?

My stats:
Mile times of 0:10:16.92, 0:10:40.45, 0:11:32.75, 0:11:14.56, 0:10:19.72, 0:11:27.28 and a finish time of 1:08:03.13, 10:58 per mile. 

I placed 308th among 623 other 30-year-old women.  
I was 9,430th out of 25,075 total females.

Gluten Free Pizza

I live in a town with the maybe the largest array of gluten free pizza options in the world.  When I heard that Domino's was offering a "gluten free" pizza, I wasn't too excited.  The difference between Domino's and the rest was that this could be delivered to my door in 30 minutes or less, and that got me excited.  I haven't had food delivered since I was a gluten-eating monster in college where we ordered out for Chinese and Pizza regularly.  So, it was raining, we didn't have any decent food one weekend, and I put in an internet order at Domino's for a gluten free pizza for myself and a gluten-filled one for Dave.

First off, it was expensive.  I think the last time I ordered a pizza was in 2003 when I could get a large cheese from Papa Johns for about $12 including tip and feed several people.  I was a little shocked that I was getting "fast food" quality food for such a massive price, although it did end up feeding me for two meals 

Yes, I had read that Celiacs like myself shouldn't eat the Domino's pizza because of preparation methods, but you know what?  I go out to eat probably once a week and sometimes I get glutened and sometimes I don't.  It is a risk I take to live a fun life.

The pizza reminded me of the crust of a Z-Pizza.  The Domino's crust, however, was greasy.  The sauce, cheese, and topping situation was not very fresh tasting.  When I was done with about half the pizza for my dinner, both Dave and I were super thirsty the rest of the night.  I don't think that we're used to such a salty assault on our pallets.  When I go out for gluten free pizza in town, I usually get incredibly fresh tasting cheese, a tomato-tasting sauce, and fabulous fresh vegetables.  This just didn't measure up, especially because the price was similar to the price I'd pay when going out.  The good news is that it didn't make me sick.  Points for Domino's in that respect, although that could be dependent on the particular Domino's I ordered from.  Like I said, I live in a town that is very gluten-aware.  It really doesn't matter, though.  I can make a better pizza at home in 10 minutes, so there's really no reason for me to bother with Domino's ever again. 

Here's how I do pizza:

I love using the toaster oven instead of the real oven.  What an energy-saver!

Crust:  Udi's gluten free

Sauce:  Prego pizza sauce if I'm in a hurry, home made if I've got 10 minutes.
Home made sauce:
In a skillet, heat a Tablespoon of olive oil.  Add minced garlic.  Lightly brown the garlic, then add a can of whole tomatoes.  Begin to squish the tomatoes as much as you can in the skillet and let it simmer for 10 minutes.  I like to add a dash of oregano, basil, and salt while it simmers.  For a smoother sauce, food process it.

We keep shredded mozzarella in the fridge for pizza as well as pepperonis (read the label on these just to be safe) and peppers.  Yum!  I top it with crushed red pepper for spice, oregano, and Parmesan when it comes out of the toaster oven after 10 minutes.

Do you have a favorite gluten free pizza?  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Busy Bee

I've been a busy bee planting my garden, running a 10k, and making the condo visitor-ready for this past weekend.  I have some posts in the works, but here's a picture I took today through our patio window.
Busy bee on our rose bush.
Washing and air drying all of the lettuce from my garden.
 I ended up harvesting all of the garden lettuce at once and had four gallon bags full!  Yikes
Experimenting with my panorama function, but I couldn't get the whole line of lettuce in one shot! 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Classic Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup

We've had a few cold and rainy weekends lately, so I'm on a bit of a soup kick, although it was back in the 80s today.  I made two soups from scratch this month, but scored my favorite creamy tomato soup on sale at the grocery store (see box below) and have been enjoying it with grilled cheese.  The key to the grilled cheese is muenster cheese and a little butter on the Udis gluten free whole grain bread.  Switch to muenster!  That fake "American" cheese product is not even comparable!  Muenster is the best melty cheese out there.

Gluten free in every way.

Love their red pepper and tomato soup as well!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Solar Eclipse

The astronomers in Boulder set up a series of places for viewing Sunday evening's solar eclipse, something we haven't been able to view in the US since 1994.  We decided to avoid the crowds and do our own thing, but we wanted the eclipse glasses that were being sold as a part of the official viewings.  By the time we got to the planetarium, they were all sold out!  I anticipated this and packed Dave's Grandad's old welding goggles. 

Welding goggles to the rescue!
Our home is too close to the mountains to get a long-lived sunset, and since the eclipse was happening from 6:30-8:15, we wanted to be sure that we didn't miss it behind the mountains.  We drove northeast of Boulder to the Walden Ponds where Dave fly fished for an hour or two, caught some nice fish, then made our way back to the Westy for dinner and eclipse viewing.  It was a very cloudy night, it had rained the night before and the moisture fed some new rain clouds.  Luckily, we had a good 15 minutes of sun during the eclipse where we did some hard-core observing.  We realized that if you wore BOTH of our sunglasses with the goggles ontop, we got the best view of the sun without blinding ourselves. 
The other trick is to focus the tripoded binoculars to show the sun on a sheet of paper.

The sun was never bright enough to do the pinhole trick, but the binoculars really helped us see how far the eclipse was.  That's the moon covering up the sun! 

That cloud kept us from seeing the sun again until it was setting.  It was too cloudy to see if it the moon was covering up a portion of it or not. 

It is so rare to catch this guy smiling for the camera, so I just had to post!

Me enjoying the beautiful sunset!

Sunset at Walden Ponds. 

I got a Subaru, Dave got a VW van ("The Westy") and sold his Saab.
We enjoyed some chicken soup warmed up in the Westy, then headed home.  It was a nice outing before heading back to work this week! 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Got lettuce?

My garden sprouted a massive amount of lettuce!  I planted these seeds back in March.  They were a mix of different lettuces, mesclun, and arugula seeds.  I think the key was just to forget about it for a while and let spring do its thing.  Of course my weeds grew in as well, but they will be easy enough to take care of when I turn over the whole garden next weekend and plant my peppers, tomatillos, basil, and tomato starters that are massive in their little pots right now. I've also got a lot of pea plants started in this garden.  I may have to transplant some to pots to make room for tomatoes! 

Meanwhile, I've got two weeks to eat all of these home grown salad greens before my CSA starts and before they get too leathery!  Yum!!! 

Ramano cheese, tomatoes, and roasted red pepper salad with mock-Olive Garden dressing.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Grand Wash Trail

After some lunch on Tuesday we went out for another hike, this time 2 miles up the flat Grand Wash trail and 2 miles back at Capitol Reef National Park, which has some very high, very sheer canyon walls.  

Let's go!
This cave-like feature definitely had bats living in it. 

Trying to lure out the bats. 
I've done this before...

No, my legs are not tan, they are full of red dust from hiking all day. 

We went up into this cool little cave-like feature and hung out before turning around on the trail. 
The walls were 500 feet high in most areas.

I like big butts! 

After our hike we took the scenic drive down the park along the Waterpocket Fold.
At the entrance to Capital Gorge.
About 20 miles later the "Check Engine" light came on.  Awesome. 
Waterpocket Fold.  Dave got a sweet time lapse of this drive.  I'll share it later!
Back at the camp site ready to make dinner.
The cook making gourmet hot dogs, roasted green pepper, and chili flavored quinoa.  (Can you tell I didn't get groceries before our trip?)

On the other side of camp was this historic house that just happened to have a gift shop that sold pies and scones and salsa and soda.  We grabbed a snack on our way home.
Caught some petroglyphs on the way out of the park.

On our drive home it was very cloudy and stormy, so we were glad we didn't go hiking in any sheer canyons!  This is the San Raphael Swell, the place where we visited in 2011.  We passed it on our way home, a good 7 hours left in our drive. 
After some Qdoba in Dillon and several more rain/snow showers on the way back over the passes, we made it home Wednesday evening with enough time to finish all of my grading due Thursday at noon.  I thoroughly enjoyed my first shower since Sunday, although I admittedly washed my hair in the sink at Capitol Reef!  :)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Capitol Reef National Park

We woke up and instead of our usual coffee and cookie breakfast, decided to eat some burrito food to give us some energy for a day of hiking.  We packed up camp and found a campsite inside the park at the Fruita Campground.  We got the best spot!  We backed up to a beautiful orchard.  The whole place was an old Mormon colony, so there were historical remnants of that time, including the orchards I believe.

Our first hike after setting up camp was to climb into Cohab Canyon, walk down the canyon and then hop onto the next trail across from the canyon bottom called the Hickman Bridge trail for 5.5 total miles round trip.  

Cohab Canyon starts in the upper right.  To get into it from the campgrounds, we had to switchback up the wash of volcanic boulders out front. 

Looking back down into the campgrounds and up Sulfur Canyon. 

Almost to the start of the canyon.

Finally, the top of Cohab Canyon.

Off to the sides of Cohab Canyon were all of these slot canyons.  Legend has it that the polygamous wives of the Mormons would hide in these from the authorities.

Me pretending to hide from the authorities!  I swear, officer, I didn't know that my husband was cheating on me with 6 other women and that they were also bearing his children! 

Unfortunately, the top of the walls got washed out by the sun in this picture, but it was super deep!

Cohab Canyon

We went up quite a bit of elevation to reach this beauty, the Hickman Bridge.

Hickman Bridge

Using Dave for scale under the Hickman Bridge

The hike out had some great views of the park.

The sun was starting to get pretty hot!

A lizard!  One of many!
I don't have any pictures from the way back.  That's probably because it was 2:00 in the afternoon without a cloud in the sky with a forecasted high of 87 degrees.  We were crumbling from the heat and the lack of shade in the canyon on the way back.  We both ran to the water spigot after the hike and drenched ourselves with cold water.  It felt great to get out of our hiking shoes, into our Chacos, and have some lunch.