The Half Marathon That Wasn’t

Last week I was totally prepared to publish a post about my big running comeback, thrilled that I had successfully completed my fourth half-marathon after taking a five year running break. However, nature had other plans.

The night before the race, as my friends and I prepared for a huge pasta dinner in anticipation for running a couple hours in the morning, we received notification that the race was cancelled due to poor air quality from the California wildfires.

It was a crushing disappointment, but we quickly reframed that this was nothing compared to the loss of homes and lives for those directly affected by the fires. We commiserated over our small yet dispiriting let down over the pasta anyway, washed down by a satisfactory amount of wine, and assembled a plan B.

Plan B turned out to be a pretty good substitute: a 10 mile hike at Pinnacles National Park.

It was an absolute gorgeous hike and a beautiful day. I’m pretty sure we found the only spot in California with clear air!

And we went through caves. Like, dark, probably bat-infested, need-a-flashlight caves.

It was so cool. And after hiking almost 10 miles, my legs were shaking as if I ran a half marathon!

Sending lots of prayers and support to the folks affected by the fires and the brave firefighters and first responders working tirelessly to battle the flames and help those in need.

Go make it a great day!

Koala Hug Dreams

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Oh. My goodness you guys. Life just keeps on keepin’ on. Late last week, I looked at what I had coming up on my calendar for the next month. Which was nothing. I had a whole month of just routine and chill. The gears started turning, and I started to ponder all sorts of projects I could fill that empty slots with. I’m already starting my marathon training (by way of completing my couch-to-5k), so maybe yoga? Another much-needed Whole30? Do some new decorating/reorganizing in my apartment, or at least clean it?Maybe book some weekend getaways with the kids?

But the Universe, as usual, had different ideas. I interviewed for a new client, and they asked me if I was available to travel. Usually I can make that work for the right project, so I said yes.

“Great,” they said. “We’re flying to Australia on Saturday. Go ahead and book your ticket.”

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So I’m going to Australia. Traveling to the other side of the planet. Next weekend. Not freaking out at all.

Plus, my house looks like this right now.

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Yeah, that’s not changing any time soon. Just make sure you wear your Level C PPE when you come to visit for the time being.

On the bright side, I visited my parents in Oregon over Memorial Weekend, and we had the most fabulous hiking day ever!

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We hiked the Rainie Falls trail along the Rogue River. It’s just under 4 miles out-and-back along some gorgeous river scenery.

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The trail itself was pretty rocky and a little technical. But it had a steady pace of rolling ups and downs, so it made for some good exercise with plenty of lulls to enjoy the views.

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The weather was hot and sunny, but the trail was along the southern shore of the river and well-shaded, so it was at a reasonably pleasant temperature.

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It was a great way to kick start a (hopefully!) long season of hiking around the Bay Area, and southern Oregon when I have the opportunity! And the perfect way to blow off chores for another weekend.

Did you have a good Memorial Day Weekend?

Any plans for getting outdoors this summer?

Go make it a great day, kids!

 

This Week’s Workouts and Hold My Calls

I almost missed posting today. For a good reason.

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It’s here! My “Food Freedom Forever” book arrived yesterday, and I’ve been curled up with a mug of tea devouring – nay, savoring – it the moment I had all of the Life Responsibility stuff tucked away. Which means I blasted home from work, threw pizza at the kids, told Hulk to pretend I’m not home, and locked myself in my room. Obviously.

Last week I was feeling run down, so I took it easy, sleeping in a little and going a little lighter on workouts. I had anticipated to hit it hard this week, but what is it with me and taking a week off where I have the hardest time firing up the motivation engine again? I know I love to go to CrossFit, I feel fabulous when I’m there, but getting the shoes on and getting out the door. I’d rather stay home and read in bed. So this week has seen more general lifting and hiking and less CrossFit.

Friday – rest day, I think. I can’t remember

Saturday – Saturday WOD:

  • Partner WOD for time,
    • Complete 300 double-unders,
    • THEN:
  • Complete the following in sets of 21 – 15 – 9 -15 – 21:
    • Pull-ups (I did ring rows)
    • Dumbbell Squat Cleans (I used 20# dumbbells)

Hulk and I took the kids to the gym together, so we partnered up for the WOD, which was great for me because I love double under practice and he’s really been nailing the kipping pull-ups lately. We cranked through the full workout in about 20 minutes, but I was getting a bit … “wifey” with Hulk. I was trying to be all focused and super serious, while he was just there to get a sweat on and have a good time. He would be, “what rep are we on?” and I would scold him back, “We’re on 8 of 15! You need to keep track on this!” What didn’t help is Buttercup’s cries from the kids’ area, where I could only see from my vantage point that she wasn’t wearing pants. I couldn’t tell if the diaper was off as well or not, so my only focus was to get the workout done so I could run over there and check to make sure she didn’t discard a poopy diaper in the play area (as she sometimes does if we don’t catch a dirty diaper fast enough for her comfort). Note to self: next time, put Buttercup in a dress. There are no pants to take off when you’re wearing a dress.

Sunday – home gym workout:

  • “Death by weight” back squats at 5 reps per set:
    • Start with the bar and increase 10 lbs per set

I made it to 125 lbs and only squeaked out 3 reps, so that was 10 sets total. And now the garage is clean enough to work out in again!

Monday – Strength class:

  • Anderson back squats, 5×3 at 60-70% max (I used 35kg)
  • Russian kettlebell swings, 5×8 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Weighted belt squats, 4×15 (I used 53 lbs kettlebells)
  • Farmers’ carry, 5×200 yd resting every 1 min between sets (I used 53 lb kettlebells)

I’ve been wanting to try some of the strength and oly lifting classes at the gym, and Monday was a good opportunity for me to finally get to one. Hulk wanted to do the WOD at the same time, so we packed up the kiddos, he did the CrossFit class and I took the strength class. Mostly I wanted to check out the class format so I can do more stuff at home.

The Anderson back squats were a trip. They’re designed to help you work out of “the hole”, so you rack the bar at the bottom of your squat, using arms or other props. Then you get under the bar, position yourself in your squat, then stand up and bring it back down, sort of the reverse of a standing squat where you go down and come back up. I thought they were really fun, and can’t wait to try this at home.

The weighted belts were fun too, I’ve never used one before. It’s a weightlifting belt with a long chain in the front so you can clip weights (we used kettlebells) to it to add bodyweight. We then stood on boxes to provide clearance for the weight when we squatted, and cranked them out. It’s supposed to work your core and stability, because as you move the kettlebell starts to swing and you have to keep yourself tight to not fall over. I’m filing this one in “stupid human tricks.”

Tuesday – hike with Olive

Olive and I set out on the ridge trail at like 5:30 in the morning, so it was dark the whole time. I forgot my headlamp, but the trail is on an open ridge, and there was plenty ambient city lights to see. Olive loved it.

Wednesday – hike with Squish

I started to get ready to go to CrossFit when I went to pick up Squish from preschool, but on my way there I felt like I’d rather be out in nature with trees instead of the gym. So I asked Squish if he would prefer going to the gym with me or going on the ridge trail for a hike. He choose hike, and I was glad. When we got there, they had a huge herd of goats grazing the dry grass.

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I’d seen them from afar working on the other hills, but this time they were right over the trail. I delighted in being so close to them, watching them munch the grass and casually saunter away from us. Squish wanted to pet them (of course) but I told them that the goats were working and couldn’t be disturbed. So he settled on talking to them. It was a delightful walk to remember. Oh, and he also found a stick.

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It’s his “special stick”. I’m sure Olive will find it special to chew on at some point.

That’s all from me for now. How did you move this week?

Go make it a great day!

Because Sometimes Wine > Exercise

I sort of started this goal of consistently posting for the month of December. I haven’t been perfect, and it’s a challenge to put my butt in front of the computer every morning when I feel like I have a million other things to do (okay, two things, but they’re both crying about something. And a third thing that’s probably chewing on something or peeing somewhere right now). But I feel accomplished when I can track what’s going on as of today, and the few missed months this year kind of make me sad.

Last night was a quick thrown-together dinner of Safeway rotisserie chicken, salad, and some rice pilaf Hulk made with homemade chicken broth. I had intended to give my new hiking shoes a spin, but the only spin they took was down the hallway to the kids’ room to get them corralled for bedtime. By the time that was over, wine > hiking. I’ll try to squeeze a test hike in tonight if Hulk can kid-wrangle for me.

I’ve been doing pretty well on my Whole30-ish eating, I would give myself a B+. But I’ve been ravenous, despite feeling stuffed to the gills after every meal. The other night I was super hungry after dinner, so I ate a corn dog before bed. I probably need to eat more fat, since I have been absolutely craving avocado lately. I should probably stock up on some good food options because the whole chicken- or ground-beef-on-greens I’ve been doing is going to get old pretty fast. 

Any tips on feeling full but still hungry?

Do you like the phrase “hump day,” or hate it? Or ambivalent?

Go make it a great day!

Another One In the Books

This weekend, like most of America, we celebrated Halloween over here.

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Gramma made the kids’ costumes, as she is a professional costume designer and has all the sweet hookups to obtain authentic gear. Squish LOVED his “real” fireman uniform complete with boots and a tool belt. Buttercup was less enthused about having to put on her Dalmatian puppy suit, but once she was in it she was pretty snuggly. And it had a super long tail, all the better for chewing/drooling on.

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Squish came down with a touch of the flu on Thursday, so we had to skip out on a birthday party Friday night, and I wasn’t sure if trick-or-treating was on the agenda until Sunday afternoon when I was sure his mild fever wouldn’t be making a reappearance. He was a little slow, but still had a blast trick-or-treating with a pack of new neighborhood kids.

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Or Auntie ‘Manda as a “Lazy Wizard”.

Sunday was my real birthday, but Squish’s flu had caught up to everyone else so it was a chill day. We went to brunch, then Amanda and I went out for some sister gossip and mani-pedis. Then while everyone was napping I went on a six mile hike out around Lake Chabot. It did not suck.

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It’s been a while since I hiked that much, I think since our Alaska trip (which I’m still procrastinating on finishing the recap on. Only been two months, so whatever). Given that we are so close to some great day hike trails, I really need to take advantage of the great outdoors more often.

I’m pretty pumped about turning 33 this year. Normally I’m pretty “meh” about birthdays, but this year feels different. I’m pretty confident this is going to be a great year for me. Mostly because last week I decided that I was done with therapy. Yahoo! I’ve talked about it here and there, and I’ll probably put together an “ask-me-anything” type post on it one of these days, but I’ve been going to therapy for my postpartum depression since March. Lately I’ve felt that I have turned a corner, and decided to take the proverbial training wheels off and ride my own cognitive bike. While I may go back to therapy in the future if I need it, it feels pretty good to feel like I’ve made progress, and have the time and headspace to start working on other stuff now. Like blogging! And maybe exercise. Or I could do the laundry. The possibilities are endless!

That’s it for now. Go make it a great day!

All the Alaska, Part 2

This is the continuation of our Alaskan Adventure saga. If you like look at pictures of other peoples’ vacations, check out All the Alaska, Part 1!

On Thursday, we woke up and had the most amazing breakfast ever. Our Airbnb host said to help ourselves to any of the salmon in his freezer, so we made up a wicked salmon scramble for breakfast.

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After breakfast the plan was to drive to Homer to take the ferry to Seldovia, which is a town that’s not on the highway system. You can only get there by boat or plane. So the following conversation takes place:

Hulk: “What time is it?”

Me: “11:30”

Hulk: “Okay. It’ll take us about four hours to get to Homer, and the last boat leaves at 6:00. So we should pack up and head now.”

*Leisurely, non-rushed packing ensues*

*I Google map the directions*

Me: “Google says it’s six hours to Homer.”

Hulk: “What time is it now?”

Me: “11:50”

Hulk: “And the boat leaves at 6:00?”

Both of us: “@!#$%!@#$”

Lesson learned, one inch on a map of Alaska is, like, driving across three states in the lower 48. Or driving through a couple countries in Europe.

It was a pretty drive, but we didn’t really stop to take pictures.

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Long story short, we made the boat with about 10 minutes to spare. Plus, the captain was running late anyway so we didn’t embark until 6:30. Plenty of time for more pictures!

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Once safely in Seldovia harbor we met with our host.  For our stay in Seldovia, we were hosted by a very gracious family through couchsurfing.org (if you’ve never used couchsurfing.org for travel, I highly recommend it if you’re the adventurous type!). We arrived right at dinner time, and there was another couchsurfer staying with us, along with some friends of our hosts. It was a beautiful dinner party filled with warm conversation and wonderful food!

The next day, I explored the property a bit. It was very different to what I was accustomed to back home! The folks here are very self-sufficient, and while there was electricity there was no indoor plumbing. We quickly learned how the outhouse works (pretty self-explanatory) and figured out where the wash house was. They also had a huge, beautiful garden where they grew most of their food. And while they had WiFi I choose not to connect to it, opting to stay as “unplugged” as I could from the outside world for as long as I could 🙂

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The view from the front porch. Hello, bay!

 

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The hosts’ bunkhouse, where we slept. Soooooo cozy!

 

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Hulk heading to the wash house to brush his teeth

After breakfast our host took us to the local community center where she led a yoga class. It was just the thing we needed after sitting in the car half of the day yesterday! Then we explored the town a bit. We ended up at the Seldovia harbor looking for otters. No otters, but tons of jellyfish and other wildlife.

 

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Carvings by a trailhead for the Otter Trail
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Boats ‘n’ jellies

 

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Panda sighting! (Panda is our hosts’ dog)

 

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Harbor view

We had lunch by the harbor, then headed out for a hike on some local trails. This was by far the most fantastic part of the whole trip for several reasons.

Since folks around here are very self-sustaining and live off the land as much as possible, our host was a mushroomer. She knew several mushroom varieties that were safe for eating and whenever she hikes she keeps a lookout for her favorites. I had never mushroomed before, let alone foraged for food anywhere more “natural” than a farmers’ market, so it was really fun keeping a lookout for mushrooms. Many of the pretty ones we found were poisonous, and our host encouraged us to ask questions and keep looking for them.

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These we called “angel wings” and are very delicious, but hard to find.

 

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These are not edible, but it was just really pretty and I wanted to take a picture.

 

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Here they are, “hedgehog” mushrooms everywhere! They’re the big brown spots under the leaves.

Next to the huge score of mushrooms were blueberry bushes. I don’t think I ever just ate stuff from the forest before (except that one time at girl scout camp when I found a mulberry tree that I totally recognized and identified and helped myself; the camp counselors freaked out that they were poisonous berries and I got in trouble), and it felt so fun and, well, nourishing to eat berries right from the bush.

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I DID take photographic evidence of the blueberry plant, just in case it really wasn’t blueberries and I die someone can identify what I died from

After our foraging, we continued along the trail and reveled in the natural beauty.

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Doesn’t this mushroom look just like in Super Mario Bros? I have a feeling it is poisonous and will probably not give me super powers.

We then came to a secluded cove off of the bay.

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Next we climbed up and over the cliff to beach #2, aptly named White Rock Beach”

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2015 09 11 Emily and Tim White Rock Beach

 

At this point my phone died and I couldn’t take more pictures. 😦

But then we went to a third beach, and this one had tons of beach combing potential. We filled our pockets with rocks, shells, even a sea urchin shell. I picked out a special rock for each of the kids. Kids love rocks.

The next morning we had to pack up and make our trek to the Anchorage airport. Our Alaskan Adventure was coming to a close, so nature gave us one last gift and parted the clouds so we could see the volcano in the distance from our hosts’ front porch. Dormant volcano, for now.

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On our way to the ferry we were still keeping a lookout for wildlife. Our host said that it’s common to see a bear alongside the road this early in the morning, but alas we were bear-less. They seem less scary if you’re in an enclosed, moving vehicle. However we did find tons of starfish in the low tide. They were crazy brilliant colors like Skittles. It was like an alien invasion.

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Goodbye, Seldovia!

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The  boat ride was cold, so Hulk borrowed my beanie.

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We made it to the airport in time for one last Alaskan brew. And that’s when I decided I want to brew beer.

 

 

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My hair looks pretty shiny for now showering for six days!

Meanwhile, the kids survived the Gramma and Grampa invasion.

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It’s always good to “get out of Dodge” as my folks say. It was a total jackpot trip, and we couldn’t be more grateful to our Airbnb and especially our Couchsurfing hosts for showing us a fantastic time in this beautiful part of the world. Hopefully we will be able to explore more beautiful places and have many more adventures to come! Also, after this trip I realized I need to go to the beach more often. Seriously, we live, like, an hour away. Or just get out into nature more often; this should be a regular thing.

As always, go make it a great day in your own part of the world!

Hiking and Food and Stuff

So, not that I’ve been sleeping hard lately or anything, but apparently I slept right through a pretty decent sized earthquake last night. There was a magnitude 4.0 earthquake along the Hayward fault that’s a few miles from our house. My only disappointment is that I didn’t get to do my “panicky mom” sprint down to the kids’ room to find that they are still sleeping and blissfully unaware that anything happened.

But I sleep hard for good reasons. I got a lovely 5 or so mile hike in the other day.

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I’m also keeping up with my lunchtime walks around the office complex. It’s a great way to break up the day and get some sunshine in.

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Is it just me, or has the tide along the shore been unusually high lately? Maybe just me. But water shouldn’t be there, it’s weird.

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I’m so not “paleo” lately, and I don’t care. My brain needs a break from restriction. So I embrace my inner six year old.

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And all the food trucks. I have a soft spot for quality food trucks.

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That’s all for now, I have a pile of Korean garlic noodles to dive into.

Go make it a great day!

A Parade and a Day

Wow, this weekend just slipped on by. I’m now sitting in my hotel in Pittsburgh, once again, not really sure how I just got here. I mean, I know I got on a plane and here I am, but it seems like I was just sitting on the couch with the family watching Simpsons reruns even though that was last night.

Anyway, we were super busy all weekend. Squish and I headed to Point Reyes Station to go for a hike with one of my besties. It was perfect weather for it, and Squish pretty much napped in his stroller the whole time.

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Then we got pizza. Squish really wanted to practice his pizza serving skills.

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Sunday was the big Pride Parade in SF. All of downtown was pretty much shut down for the festivities. We met a friend up for brunch at the Four Seasons restaurant since it looks down on Market Street and we could enjoy the madness over fancy fruit plates.

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Squish really enjoyed watching the parade from the big windows and pitched a fit when it was over, going all, “Noooo! More! More parade!” It’s only cute if it’s not your kid. He started out well-behaved, I swear.

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Such a fancy pants. He knows the butter knife is licked before the salad fork.

I was up at the perfectly reasonable hour of 4:00 AM for my 7:00 AM flight. I nuked a couple of eggs for a quickie breakfast with some avocado and grapes,

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Then ended up packing the grapes in a baggie for the road since I always run out of time getting ready to go to the airport. Have yet to find that perfect balance of being ready on time and getting in as much sleep as possible. It’s so eerie when there’s no one about walking to the BART station.

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I arrived early to my gate and assembled my airplane necessities:

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You know, water, coffee, snacks, fitness magazine, trashy magazine. The usuals.

I am so glad I packed snacks. Our first flight had a ton of turbulence and they cut service down. I received my cup o’ tea but didn’t get a chance to grab any food.

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When I arrived at my layover, I had five minutes until my next flight boarded, so there was no hope in grabbing something to eat.  I somehow survived on my apple, almond butter, and KIND bar, but as soon as I walked into my hotel I ordered room service,

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What is up with the sideways pictures? Gah. My OCD doesn’t like.

Anyway, I felt super cramped and tight from the plane so I did a 20-minute yoga podcast to loosen up, and that did the trick.

Time to finish up some work then get some rest in before the work craziness starts tomorrow. Make it a great evening!