Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Too Many Choices

It's that time of year again!

I'm not talking about the time of year when you get to eat a lot of good food with your family and stress about shopping for the perfect gifts for everyone you love.

Well, yes, it is that time of year too. But that's not what I'm talking about.

It's also the time of year where your inbox fills up with emails from event companies telling you all about the awesome races they have planned for next year. Registration is starting to open up, and prices are low for the early birds. It's the time of year when you start thinking about what your goals are and what races would just be fun to do.

At least that's what time it is for me. :)

So, this year I've made myself a list of all the local races I'm considering doing. Ah, it's so hard to choose! I seriously wish I could do all these races! Even if that were physically possible (note, several of them are on the same days), there's no way I could afford it! Even just adding up the prices for about half of them, the total came to $2,073! That would kind of clash with our other goals for the year - like getting out of debt.

Anyway, my point is that we have a TON of awesome local races and I'm so excited to participate in some of them next year!

Would you like to see this glorious list?? I thought so!

Wait, first let me tell you a few other things to consider.

*RaceTri has a deal where if you sign up for Salem Spring (Sprint), Rock Cliff (Olympic), and The Utah Half, you get %15 off!

**BBSC has a similar deal when you sign up for Mountain Tropic, Scofield & Park City. They have to be the same distance, though, so I wouldn't be able to do Mountain Tropic Half or the Escape distance at Scofield.

***The Ultimate Tri Relay is new this year from TriUtah, and it looks really fun, so let me know if you're interested in that! It's like Ragnar, only with 4 x swim bike and run totaling 125 miles!

Ok, I know, you're just here to see the list.

Well, here you go (If I know the price, it's on here, and it reflects the lowest price you could get):

January 28 - SLCTC Winter Running Series 5k $40
February 11 - SLCTC Winter Running Series 10k
February 25 - SLCTC Winter Running Series 15k
April 21 - Rage Tri (Half IM)
April 28 - Front Runner Century (100k or 100 mile)
May 5 - Ironman St. George $600.00
May 19 - St. George Tri (Olympic) $90.00
May 19 - Bear Lake Monster Relay (50 or 100 mile)
June 2 - Salem Spring Tri (sprint)*
June 2 -Utah County Women's Century
June 2 - Little Red Riding Hood (Century)
June 9 - Utah Valley (Half Marathon) $69.00 - Already signed up for this!
June 15-16 - Wasatch Back Ragnar Relay
June 23 - Rock Cliff (Olympic)*
June 30 - River Rampage (Olympic) 65.00
June 30 - Mountain Tropic (Half IM) 170.00
June 30 - Mountain Tropic (Olympic)** 73.00
June 30 - Bear Lake Monster Century
July 14 - Echo Tri (Olympic) $65.00
July 28 - Scofield (Olympic)** $73.00
July 28 - Scofield (Escape) $170.00
July 28 - Spudman (Olympic) $85.00 (Lottery)
July 28 - Salt Lake Moonlight Run (5k)
August 4- Ultimate Tri Relay*** $85.00
August 11 - Herriman Black Ridge Tri
August 11 - Park City (Olympic)** $73.00
August 18 - Jordanelle (Olympic) $65.00
August 25 - Front Runner Century
August 25 - The Utah Half (Half IM)* $150.00
August 25 - Women Rock (Sprint Tri or 5k)
September 1 - Bear Lake Monster Half Marathon (trail)
September 8 - Camp Yuba Tri
September 15 - Top of Utah Marathon $75.00
September 15 - Ogden Valley Tri
September 22 - Murray Moonlight Run (5k)
September 29 - Women of Steel Relay Run
October 6 - St. George Marathon $80.00 (Lottery)
October 20 - Pumpkinman (Half IM) $170.00

Ok, deep breath...

Kind of overwhelming, hu?

What races are you thinking about doing next year? Have you done any of these and either loved it or hated it? Help me decide on a plan of action here. :)

PS - I'm not affiliated with any of these race companies (is that even what they're called?), I just like to make lists and know what all my options are. We've got a lot of options here in Utah!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Today it was just me, Amber and Brittany for our group run. I'm sad to say that my little running group is dwindling. (I blame it on the cold! Ok, and maybe the holidays.) But that was kind of fun because they're the ones who have been running the longest so we didn't stick to the couch to 5k plan, and just ran.

We were going to do 5 miles, but at almost 2 miles, Amber's stroller tire had a huge blow out! It was kind of funny because she had those tubes with the green slime in them, so it was oozing out all over! Luckily Pete was at home, and I had a spare wheel that I thought might fit her stroller so I asked him to bring it to us. The wheel fit (what are the chances?!) so we just popped it in and finished our run. Since the flat tire had taken up quite a bit of time, we just ended up doing 3.8 miles. That was good, though. Amber said that was the farthest she's ran with her stroller. Yeah! It was a nice day for a little adventure on our run too. :)

This evening we had the sister missionaries over for dinner, and I made breakfast. We figured missionaries probably don't get good breakfast very often so it would be something different for them. I made eggs, sausage, orange slices and cream cheese filled pumpkin muffins. These muffins are my new favorite so I wanted to share the recipe. They're so good - I may or may not have eaten 5 of them!

I got the recipe from Annie's Eats, but I health-ified it a little:

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Yield: 24 muffins

For the filling:
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the muffins:
3 cups whole white wheat flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tbsp. plus 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2 cups pumpkin puree
1¼ apple sauce

For the topping:
½ cup brown sugar
5 tbsp. flour
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
4 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

To prepare the filling, combine the cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl and mix well until blended and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1½-inches in diameter. Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log, and reinforce with a piece of foil. Transfer to the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, at least 2 hours. (I didn't do this, I just mixed it then put it in by the spoonful)

To make the muffins, preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice, salt and baking soda; whisk to blend. In the bowl of an electric mixer combine the eggs, sugar, pumpkin puree and apple sauce. Mix on medium-low speed until blended. With the mixer on low speed, add in the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.

To make the topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Add in the butter pieces and cut into the dry ingredients with a pastry blender or two forks until the mixture is coarse and crumbly. Transfer to the refrigerator until ready to use.

To assemble the muffins, fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 tablespoons). Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces. Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each muffin well. Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely. Sprinkle a small amount of the topping mixture over each of the muffin wells.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely before serving. (It may be hard to resist immediate consumption, but the cream cheese filling gets very hot!)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A New PR and Rock Climbing!

I actually got both of my swims in this week! Yay! Wednesday and Friday. That's the first time in the last 2 months that I've gotten 2 swims in a week. Tha'ts actually pretty sad. But, I'm happy I was able to do it this week, even though I slept in both days so I was rushed and had to cut them a little short. I still did it, though, and I hope that means I'm on the way back to making it a habit.

Yesterday morning I got to sleep in - well, stay in bed - until 9, which was really nice. After breakfast and getting george back down for his nap, I headed out on my run. I usually like to do a long run on Saturdays, but since I missed both my fast runs this week (Monday for snowboarding and Thursday for sleeping), I decided to do a fast run.

I ran nice and easy for a mile to warm up, then I did 5k as fast as I could, with another easy mile to cool down. It was hard.

I was able to do my first mile in 8:46 which was awesome, and I was so excited because I felt good and thought I could keep that pace up.

No, I couldn't.

Before I knew it I was back to my 10 min/mile pace thinking, dang it! I went out too hard. I need to learn to hold myself back a little more that first mile.

My next mile took 9:21 and I wasn't quite as happy with that.

I tried to keep my pace at around 9 for the last mile, but it was really hard and every part of my body was telling me to slow down.

I fought and fought, and even said, "come on!" out loud towards the end. I finished that mile in 9:20 (with :47 for the .1 which is 7:55 pace!) and I was dead!

5k Total Time: 28:15
Average Pace: 9:07 min/mile

It was hard, but it was worth it because that is :54 faster than my last 5k! Wahoo! I am so close to the 9:oo min/mile mark, though! That will be my goal for my upcoming 5k. I don't know if I've mentioned it on here, but I'm doing the Jingle Bell 5k on December 3rd with some of the girls from my running group. If you'd like to do it, join our team! It's called "West Side Stroller Runners" and we're going to have so much fun dressing up all Christmas-y for it.

After I got home, and got showered, we went up to Bountiful where the kids and I went to Joann while Pete and George went to Zapponi and ordered pizza. I was able to find the fabric I need for the rest of Ethan's quilt and curtains! This was the first time it was actually EASIER to go to Joann with my kids! It worked out so perfectly because there was a gingerbread house decorating contest going on so the kids watched that while I found my fabric, then they waited in the long line to pay while I got the fabric cut, and we were able to get back to the pizza place not too long after the pizza was ready! SWEET!

When we got done eating, we decided go to look around in DI since it's right there too, and I got a nice pair of jeans and a nice pair of Asics running pants for $10! I was pretty excited about that!

When we got home, Pete said, "Should we go climbing tonight?" Of course I couldn't turn that down so I set about texting some girls while hemming my new jeans because they were a little too long and frayed on the bottom. I was kind of skeptical about finding a baby-sitter since it was already 4:30 and we wanted to leave at 7, but I did get one!

We went up to The Front in Ogden. I'd never been there before, and it is really nice! Two weeks ago, we went to Momentum climbing gym with some friends and it was really fun, and it's bigger than The Front but it was so crowded and loud. This one just had a more relaxed atmosphere and there was never more than 3 other people climbing with us. It was fun. We spent 2 hours there and we both climbed until we couldn't climb any more. Pete did 9 routes and I was able to do 7.

Too bad when we got home, we found out our baby-sitter's mom had to come over and get George to sleep because he was just so sad. I'd really like to start climbing at least once a week, but that makes it really hard to want to leave George. :( But the good thing was he was asleep when we got home and he only woke up once at 4am, then went back to sleep until 8:30 which was better than usual!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Caldo, Caldo, Caldo

I got this recipe from a Spanish book Mindy brought home from school a while back. It's called Caldo, Caldo, Caldo and they made it sound so good, I had to make this the next day. Since it's pretty much the best soup I've ever made, I really wanted to put the recipe on here so I wouldn't lose it. This is such a perfect way to get your vegetables in on a cold winter's day!



1-2 soup bones (I never found these so I haven't tried it with them, but I'm sure they make it so much more delicious!)
1-2 lbs lean stew meat
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 tps cumin
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 ribs of celery

Fill large pot with 4 quarts of water and set on medium heat. Add bones and meat, bring to boil.

Skim off the brown foam.

Add seasonings, onion, garlic & celery and simmer for 2 hours until beef is tender. Add more water as needed.

Add vegetables: (use your favorite vegetables, here are some suggestions, the ones I used are in bold)

2 large carrots
1 turnip
3 large potatoes
1/2 green bell pepper
1 zucchini or squash
1/2 small green cabbage
2 ears corn cut into 4 pieces each (I just dumped some frozen corn in the second time I made this and liked that better, but I might have used old corn the first time)
1 medium tomato
3 sprigs cilantro

Continue to cook soup 30-40 minutes until vegetables are tender. If needed, add more water, salt and seasonings to taste. (I ended up adding a bunch more salt and pepper)

Serve with hot tortillas with a bowlful of flavorful rice on the side and a thin slice of lime.

I really like it just with bread and butter, but that's how I grew up eating soup. You know, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. Or something like that. :)


Monday, November 14, 2011

1st Snowboarding Trip of The Season!

I didn't go running today, and I'm not sad about that at all because I got to go snowboarding instead!

I know, sometimes I just feel like my life is just too good to be true!

Driving up there, listening to Audioslave with Pete, I didn't feel like a 31-year-old mom.

I felt more like I was 21.

Skipping school on a Monday morning, going snowboarding with my boyfriend.

The funny thing is that we didn't do stuff like this when we were 21. We didn't really have money for lift tickets back then, and I guess we were also living in St. George where snowboarding was far from our minds.

I also realized that when I was 21, I had a baby which also made it harder to do things like go snowboarding. And here I am again, 10 years later, with a baby again. Crazy!

Anyway, driving up there was kind of weird because there was no snow at first so we were a little worried. By the time we got up to Brighton it was 27 degrees and the ground was covered in snow.

We got there and went to make sure we'd get our tickets right away. We got the Pass of All Passes in the spring and it almost seemed to good to be true (like my life) so we were a little worried. It was just fine though! Phew!

I was getting ready to hook my pass onto my jacket, and put the metal hook in my mouth to zip up my jacket or something, but when I pulled my hand away my finger got stuck so I ended up cutting my lip a little. Smart hu?

Anyway, we got up there and I made it down with only falling once or twice. Yay! I was worried I would have to start all over, but I felt like I was almost at the point I left off in March 2010 (I know the date because the tag was still on my jacket).

It was so much fun! We did 5 runs before it was time to go, and it was awesome!

When it was time to go, we started driving out of the parking lot and saw a bunch of fire trucks and they had closed the road because there was a house fire somewhere in the canyon. They told us the road would be open in about half an hour so we went back to the lodge and got some cheeseburgers and took in the view of the mountains for a while longer. It was so nice, and I couldn't help but feel so happy to live where I live! I love it!

Here's the view from the cafe.

What a great morning.

To top it off, Elle and George were both so happy, and had a great time with my awesome friend and her kids while I was gone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Eight is Great!

This morning Pete took the kids to the screening of Happy Feet 2. We got 4 tickets when we went to the zoo for Halloween, and the kids were so excited. Too bad, when they got there, it was all sold out. They had over-booked, and apparently they do that a lot. It was disappointing, but no harm done. They picked up Toy Story 3 from Red Box on the way home and we had popcorn and candy so I think everyone was ok with it.

While they watched the movie I went running. I parked up by the capitol and ran up and down and around there for 8.2 miles. It was really fun. It was cold. It was actually warmer than last week, it was in the 40s, but it was windy so it felt colder. It wasn't quite as pretty as last week either, since there was no snow and a lot of the leaves had fallen off, but it was still pretty. I just really felt good and was so so happy to be out there and to be able to run.

8 miles is my favorite distance to run. It's long enough to be a bit challenging and sound impressive, but it's short enough that I don't need to bring fuel. It's even more fun when I run it at a nice easy pace, especially when some of it's downhill so I get to run it nice and easy, but still kind of fast!

What's your favorite distance to run?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Hard but Good Training Morning

This week has kind of been lacking training. For some reason or another, I didn't run at all on Monday. I can't remember why now... I think it had to do with George being sick and off schedule because of Day Light Savings and all that. I don't know. I did get the kitchen clean for a few minutes instead, though!

Tuesday was good. I always look forward to my Tuesday run because that's when I meet with my stroller running group! It's always so fun to see everyone and have a nice easy run. I did 2.2 miles with them, then did that again by myself, plus the almost half-mile to/from our meeting spot which totaled about 5 easy miles. It was good, but I totally had to pee during the last part and kept having to walk. That was so annoying, and I was just so mad that they've already closed the bathrooms at the parks I run by! George was asleep in the stroller so I didn't really feel like I should run in to 7-11 or anything either.


Yesterday I intended to go swimming in the morning, but I woke up feeling pretty crappy and like I was getting sick so I just went back to sleep. George didn't sleep well that night either so I was just feeling dead, and came home and took a nap for the entire time Elle was in preschool! Thank you George for sleeping for 2 hours so I could do that, it was nice!

Today, I turned my alarm off and almost skipped my workout again, but then George woke up at around 6, so I fed him and got myself moving and to the gym by 6:30. I ran for 10 minutes on the track, then one lap as fast as I can/one lap recover repeated for about 16-17 minutes. Then I just did another 10 minutes easy to cool down and hurried home. I stretched, made breakfast and got the kids ready for school, then Pete drove them in so I got to stay home with George.

While he was happy and playing, I did a Nike Training Club workout called "Full Action," but it really should be called "I Don't Want to Be Able to Walk Tomorrow." It's a ton of squats and lunges and jumping, along with pushups and planks and all that kind of fun stuff!

George was awesome and actually just played and let me do most of the workout without wanting to be held or climb on me. Then he got a hold of my phone and somehow got out of the app and ended my workout when I had like 6 minutes left. Luckily I was just to the stretching part so I did that on my own, then I was done!

Yay, what a morning! Then I was even able to put him down for a nap and take a nice shower without being rushed or barged in on, then sit and put my feet up for a few minutes (right now).

Sadly, I must go wake him up now and go pick up Elle. Luckily he's usually totally fine with that. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

First Snow!

There's something about going running after it snows that turns your usual running route into something new. There are puddles to jump, ice or slush to watch out for, and trees, weighed down by the snow, to duck under where you could normally just run. Everything just seems so much quieter and more serene, while at the same time more exciting.

That's how it was for me today after our first snow of the season! We got a good 4 inches which is a lot for Salt Lake. It had snowed all night so we woke up to a nice white blanket outside. When I told Elle, she immediately ran downstairs to wake Mindy up and show her. Mindy's first response was, "Our leaves are really pretty! I didn't realize they were so yellow." That was an interesting thing to notice when everyone else was looking at the snow. When George woke up, he was so sad and stuffy, but he even got excited when he saw the snow. I sat him in his high chair at the window while I worked on breakfast, and he just made cute sounds and watched the big fluffy flakes fall. It was cute!

Of course, the kids had to put their snow clothes on immediately and get out there! After some digging, we were able to find everything for everyone except boots for Ethan. I told him to wear my Uggs, which ended up working really well for him I think! They actually played outside for over half an hour which made me glad I got them nice new gloves this year! Usually they take more time getting ready to play outside then they actually play outside.

I had hot chocolate ready for them when they came in, and some pumpkin cream cheese muffins that were really, really good!

I was jealous of the kids getting to go out and play in the snow, and couldn't wait to go do my run. By the time I got George down for his nap, it had stopped snowing, and I went out in just a short sleeve + a long sleeve tech tee, gloves and ear warmers. Strangely, I wasn't even very cold at the begginging. I warmed up really nicely, and even pushed my sleeves up for a few minutes towards the end.

Everything was so beautiful, and I made a point to notice the beautifully colored leaves under the snow, along with all the white.

I ran up North Temple and through Memory Grove towards City Creek. I was surprised not to see any other runners out there. There are usually a lot on this route. I saw a few people out taking pictures and that was pretty much it. When I got up into the canyon, it was just so peaceful, and I had it all to myself. I had my music on, but low enough that I could hear the river and take in the stillness of the new-fallen snow and the trees surrounding me.

I really felt like I could just keep running forever! But I had told Pete I would just do 6-7 miles since I needed to get back for him to go help his brother move, so I reluctantly turned around at 3.5 and headed back down the hill.

I realized that this hill feels like about the same grade as the one you run down for a long ways in the Utah Valley Half Marathon. I think I'll have to do repeats on it when I get more into training for that race. That will be fun!

I ran a total of 7 miles at a nice easy pace (10:33 min/mile average) in 1:13:56.

I got home just in time for Pete to leave, then I had to hurry and get ready to get to my brother's graduation party in Logan. That was a little stressful and rushed, and we didn't get lunch, but I'm still glad I was able to do that run. It was just lovely. Everyone was fine, and we had homemade doughnuts and hot chocolate at the party (my brother just graduated from the police academy). That was almost a re-do of our breakfast! Oops, not the healthiest eating day! Afterwards, we went to Cafe Rio with my sisters and my dad before heading back, and that was really good.

When we got home it was practically bed time. Man, this day went by quickly!