Half Marathon Jitters

I’m running my first ever half marathon on Saturday – the Pacific Crest Half Marathon in Sunriver, Oregon. I chose this race because I LOVE Sunriver. It’s my home away from home; my happy place. I figured that if I’m going to run 13.1 miles, I want to do it somewhere I love; somewhere that energizes and invigorates me, and that is absolutely gorgeous to look at. 

Last year, I ran the Pacific Crest 5k and my dad ran the 10k. 2 years ago, my brother ran the half marathon. This race has become a sort of family tradition. This year, my dad is running the half marathon with me and my mom is running her first ever 5k. I love challenging myself and reaching new goals, and watching my family do the same. 

ImageDad and I before the Pacific Crest last year.

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Dad and I after our races. Muscle Milk comped our entry last year and is graciously doing so again this year. They are a great sponsor of the Pacific Crest events. Thanks Muscle Milk!!!

I’m actually kinda nervous for the half marathon. I feel ill-prepared. The month of June was supposed to be the month I buckled down and got serious about increasing my mileage and fueling for the race, but it was such a busy month that it passed in a flash and before I knew it, the race was a week away. Don’t get me wrong, all the busyness in June has brought good things. I completed my training to teach Group Ride and have been practicing constantly for that (I’m fortunate that cycling is great cross-training for running!), we had a family reunion and then family in town for a week after that, and I picked up more hours at work which we definitely needed. I wouldn’t have traded any of that for more training time, but I would feel a lot more comfortable about this event if I felt better prepared. 

The nice thing is, I’m not running for a specific time or to beat anyone. I’m running for myself – because I can. Because I never pictured myself being a runner, and definitely not running a distance like 13.1 miles. I’m running because I want to challenge myself and prove to myself that I can do it. I’m running because, well, why not? And let’s be honest, we all know I do it for the t-shirt and the free food at the end.

It’s my first half marathon, so I’m guaranteed a PR, right?? That’s something to look forward to. :p I’m trying to get out of the mindset of, “oh my gosh, I got so busy I forgot to train!” I want to go into this race knowing that I am more fit and stronger than I have ever been in my life and I CAN do this. I’ve never considered myself an athlete, but for this weekend I am going pretend I am one and run my heart out. It’s fine if I have to walk a bit and it’s fine if I’m slow, I will win just by crossing the finishing line.Image

After the Pacific Crest 5k last year.

Family!!!

Last weekend, I had a family reunion at the Oregon coast. It was the first reunion Brandon had attended of mine (brave, brave man). We spent the weekend at a camp on the coast that had paddle boats, kayaks, a game room, and a ropes course.

One of the first items on our family fun list was the ropes course. There was a beam about 40 feet in the air that you had to climb up, then walk across and a pole about the same height that you climbed up then jumped from to try to catch a bar that was hanging in the air. Brandon, brave man that he is, volunteered to go first…with this crowd looking on. Good luck, bud!ImageImageImageMy brother, Brice, actually did the balance beam blindfolded, but I didn’t get a picture of that, only video footage. Next up was the “Leap of Faith,” as the pole was called. Dad rocked it, grabbing the bar on the first try and doing 3 pull ups like they were nothing.ImageImage

Brandon also did the “Leap of Faith” and he too decided to show off by doing pull ups on the bar. 

ImageImageEven though pretty much ALL of my little cousins climbed to up the poles like little monkeys and fearlessly hurled their bodies through the air, I had no intention of getting that far off the ground then actually jumping off the (relative) safety of the pole and flying through the air while depending on my sweaty palms to actually grasp and hold on to a small metal bar. Brandon, however, had other plans. He picked me up and carried me to the pole kicking and screaming. Halfway there, he let me down, but the damage was done. I couldn’t go back to standing on the sidelines without my family knowing what I wuss I was (who am I kidding, they’ve known for years). But I decided that if my baby cousins could do it, so could I!

After a good 5-7 minutes of me whining at the top that I was just gonna climb back down because there was no WAY I was hurling my body through thin air towards a bar I KNEW I couldn’t hold onto, my family (in their gracious, supportive way) convinced me to “just jump already!” It was the most terrifying moment of my life! GAH! Horrible! …But kinda cool once I looked back up at the pole and realized what I had done. It was one of those moments that I’ll look back on when I’m faced with something that I just don’t think I can do. I’ll say to myself, “If I could make that leap, I can do this too.” But seriously, please don’t make me ever do that again!!!Image

We spent a bit of time kayaking in Devil’s Lake later that afternoon. Two of my teenage cousins took the kayak out by themselves…and had to be towed back to shore by a power boat because neither of them could row. There walk (float?) of shame:ImageImageBrice and Brandon had their own walk of shame. In all their adventurousness (is that even a word??) They promptly took off for the farthest reaches of the lake. See the guy in the orange kayak? He had to go after B & B and tell them to please not go any father than the buoys. Oh boys.ImageSome mother/son swing time.ImageClearly Brice and I don’t know how to swing.ImageBrandon likes to make s’mores by the firelight. ImageHere’s a picture of our section of the family that showed up to the reunion. It was great to see family from as close as right down the road to as far away as Pennsylvania. At most past reunions, I just ran around with cousins I see infrequently and eat way too much food, but at this reunion, while I did those things as well, I also learned a lot about my family that I hadn’t know… Like why we have a reunion and where my family came from. I learned that our first family reunion was in 1980 and that everyone at our reunion descends from one of 9 siblings who originally lived in Colorado. The picture below is everyone who descends from one particular sibling. The other siblings had family at the reunion as well, and 3 of the original siblings are still alive and were with us for the weekend. It was really neat to learn the history behind where my family comes from and to share that with Brandon for his first ever reunion. I think it even helped Brandon better understand why my crazy family is always doing stuff together! haha I’m so thankful for a family that values each other enough to make an effort to stay connected!Image

Cardio Makes Me Hungry for Muffins!

Today started with 16 miles on the bike in Group Ride. I’ve been on the bike a lot lately since I finished up my Group Ride training 2 weeks ago. Fortunately, spinning is great crossing training for my half marathon prep, otherwise I’d spend half my life working out. Between training for my half marathon at the end of the month and trying to learn all my new Ride material, I’m getting a real cardio behind-kickin’ and it’s making me extra hungry!

I was craving some pastries hard core this morning, so I decided to make some muffins. I have a package of Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix and I searched the internet for recipes with ingredients I have on hand because I just couldn’t wait long enough to go to the grocery store – I wanted muffins NOW! I found a recipe for Blackberry Vanilla Almond Muffins on the Pamela’s website. They looked sooooo tasty and I just happened to have all the ingredients the recipe called for….well, mostly. It called for 1/3 cup of applesauce but I didn’t have any, so I mashed up a banana instead.  (Sidenote: if you don’t want banana flavored muffins, I wouldn’t recommend this substitution.) The recipe also called for 1/2 cup of blanched slivered almonds and I didn’t have those either so I subbed oven roasted almonds from a salad topping package I had. :p They were a little salty, so I didn’t put quite a half cup in because I wasn’t sure how that’d affect the taste?? What can I say, I’m the queen of substitutions. I guesstimate, eyeball, and just toss a little of this and that in. Sometimes it works, other times it flops. Image

This time, I’m happy to say that it worked! Or…it might have, if I hadn’t misread one little part of the recipe. The recipe called for 1/3 cup of melted butter. As you can see, I have 1/3 cup of butter out and ready to melt in the microwave. It seemed like a lot of butter to me, but what do I know? So I melted it and mixed it in the batter. No bigs, right? Check it out – they came out beautifully! And I made them in my heart-shaped muffin pan because things shaped like hearts taste better (it’s a fact).Image

I bit into one and mmm….butter?? Seriously, they were realllllly buttery. So, um, ya the recipe said 1/3 melted butter, not 1/3 cup butter, melted..which is how I read it. Whoopsies!  They would have been good had I made them right, so I’m not gonna write this recipe off. Next time, I’ll make it correctly and let you know how it turns out. (Mom, I was gonna save you one, but you don’t want it..trust me.) 

Sidenote: Priscilla Ahn Pandora Radio is perfect cloudy-day lazy-morning baking music. Priscilla, Jack Johnson, Sara Bareilles, Howie Day, mmm! Perfect!

Oh! And I made Strawberry freezer jam with the strawberries I picked on Friday! It actually turned out and it was surprisingly simple to make. For some reason, I thought it’d be hard.Image

A Week Crammed Into One Post

Whew! Time flies! This morning, I woke up and realized that I haven’t posted anything in over a week! I kept meaning to, but things kept coming up and I’d tell myself I’ll post tomorrow, then something comes up tomorrow and I say I’ll post the following day.Today I’m actually gonna do it! 

I didn’t post last weekend because I spent all of Saturday and Sunday at a Group Ride training (Group Ride is my gym’s spin class). We spent a lot of time listening to pumpin’ music and pedaling our little leggies off. It was great! But I was pretty sore and tired for the next couple of days. Silly me, I decided that I didn’t need a day off of working out after that long weekend, so I went to a pilates/yoga class on Monday and on a run on Tuesday. By Wednesday, when I was exhausted and my legs were still sore, I realized that maybe I did need a rest after all. (duh)

Wednesday was also an awesome day because my little bro graduated from middle school!!!!Image

Yay, Coby!! High school better look out!

After his grad ceremony, we went to Limeberry for frozen yogurt. Mmmm!Image

The men. Brandon, Coby, Dad and Brice.Image

You have to wonder how much thought went into this card. “Happy birthday”?? Really?? It made for some good laughs when everyone read it, though. It’s like that scene from the Christmas movie, “Jingle All The Way,” where the husband is talking to the wife on the phone from work and he says, “Bye, and remember you’re my number one customer!” Well, maybe not exactly like that. Image

Yesterday, I decided to be domestic and take advantage of the summer weather, so my mom and I went to pick strawberries. I was quite proud of myself for spending a hour in the heat, putting my hands in dirt and plants and not complaining about bugs. Leaps and bounds better I was when my mom would take me to pick berries when I was, like, 8 and would cry every time I saw a bug. Image

I took them home, washed them all, and cut up a bunch for strawberry shortcake. Don’t they look delish!!?? I want to eat them ALLLLLL!!! With the rest, I’m gonna attempt to make freezer jam. Wish me luck! Any tips or tricks would be greatly appreciated! I’ll try not to sneeze in my jam too many times since my allergies are now killing me thanks to spending the afternoon in a field. ImageSo that’s what you missed while I was slacking on my blogging. You really missed out, huh? Bet you were dying. Well, you can rest easy now and enjoy the rest of your weekend!