The Glamorous Life of a Runner

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First of all, here’s the only picture I have of Christmas Eve or Christmas Day since my photographer boyfriend couldn’t be there due to a sick doggie and the rest of us fail completely at taking pictures (suffice it to say, we all had a lovely day together)

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A dark iphone selfie of me and the boys on the night of the 24th as we settled in to watch a Grinch marathon (original cartoon and then the Jim Carrey movie).

Anyhow – I ran on 4 miles as planned on the 24th, but never did run on the 25th. I was supposed to run 3 miles and then 2 on the 26th so instead I ran 2.7 on Thursday – a good compromise and also a good experience about running in really dry, Santa Ana conditions because I could FEEL the dry air in my nose & throat. It’s supposed to be better on Sunday, but still quite clear and warm in the sun. Just an unseasonably beautiful, hot December this year which is awful for the plants but rather nice for early morning long runs!

But I figured out that I better be well prepared as far as hydration for sure so I stocked up for the rest of the weekend (both pre and post race) and made sure I have enough extra calories to consume along with the liquid the race organizers will provide nearly every mile or 2:

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Then, I also need to do some maintenance on my toes to continue to guard against hot spots and blisters (which have been blissfully minimal this time around as I trained since I have been diligently keeping up the grooming)

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I’ve had to run around a bit since the 25th too. We had to get 17’s right thumb checked out – he fell on it in football practice back in October and unlike his left thumb which also was jammed, the right one never totally stopped hurting especially when he has to hold a pen to write so we were off to the orthopedist (same one who fixed his knee) yesterday and then getting an MRI done today. Well, actually, TWO MRI trips since they apparently didn’t get a complete view the first time. Basically 10-3 was taken up with driving to and from and sitting around getting the scans done. So I wasn’t really on my feet thankfully! Anyway, he has a bone spur that was pulled out of place by a ligament that over-extended and the MRI will reveal whether anything is keeping the ligament and bone from properly re-attaching eventually. If not – it is back into surgery for the boy! Weeeeeeee.

Tomorrow I pick up my race packet and THEN the countdown officially begins! I can tell you though, I will be VERY ready for a nice long run on Sunday. It will just a little weird to have a few hundred other people running with me 🙂

Bacon Wrapped….(does the rest of this title matter?)

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Ok, so the specific completion of that title for today is: Bacon Wrapped Dates.

This is not intended to be a recipe post, but in order to get that photo, the online search did result in one. Though I think all I really needed to find out after eating one of these is exactly how long to put them in the oven and at what temp (15-25mins at  375)..I haven’t made them myself, this is just the result of what I tasted at a restaurant just now.

The annual holiday lunch with my AVP resulted in me tasting one of these appetizers. Something I *never* would have order because it had the word “date” in it, and I don’t generally like those.

HOWEVER, when it is wrapped in a thick, juicy slice of bacon and has blue cheese oozing out the ends, well…I figured it wouldn’t be All Bad.

Oh heavens – it was ALL GOOD! No, it was ALL AMAZEBALLS!!

Further proof that Bacon Wrapped…..(fill in the blank with an edible product)..is always worth eating!

For the record the ingredients are:

  1. Dates (either fresh or dried but they need to be pitted and split in open
  2. Goat cheese (or any soft cheese really)
  3. Uncooked bacon slices cut into 1/3s

Stuff the dates with the cheese, wrap with one of the bacon strips, bake at 375 for 15-25 mins or until bacon is done to your liking and cheese is golden at the edges. Skewer with toothpicks and serve. 2 mins later make another batch because that’s how fast you will eat them!

Decorations and running

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I may be flailing at the Holidailies commitment, but at least I did write a Blogmutt post on Friday! So, the intention to have writing here spark the re-ignition of my writing THERE has worked!

Right now my focus is on preparing for the Holiday Half Marathon on the 29th and on preparing for Christmas. I have just one more day of work, but as is typical of this time of year, I also had a dinner party to attend this weekend so I had to squeeze in early cleaning and finalize gift buying and wrapping.

On that note, the tree does finally have gifts under it, not cats!

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There are cards on the mantle:

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Sitting the in the glow of these lights in the living room is still the highlight of every day:

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Meanwhile, I keep having to get very creative to find time during the week to run. The long runs are great, but you also have to get those shorter runs in – for me that means night runs. I just don’t have the time or inclination to get up early and run before work. It’s easier to leave work even just 15 minutes earlier to get home and get out on the well lit streets by 5:15 and run until 6. Still plenty of time to cook dinner after. Last week, this meant running in the rain as we did our weekly speed run on the middle school track. It was dark, rather chilly, and yes, wet, but we still finished-up with a smile.

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The real issue is the surface we run on. We spent the last few weeks exclusively doing the longer runs on trails. The two 13 miles runs I did were no problem at all and recovery was quick. Then last weekend and again today I ran on what will be the actual race route. 10 miles each time. Partly trail, but a lot of it is on pavement. And OH MY ACHING EVERYTHING!! Wow does it make a difference on the bottoms of the feet, the toes, the ankles, the shins, and the hips to literally “pound the pavement”. I promise that once this race is over I will be back out on the relative cushy trails again! Bring on the hills and uneven terrain and rocks and whatever! SO much better than asphalt or pavement.

I’m ready though. This week the mid-week runs will be easy. 4-3-2 Tues Wed Thurs. Since I only work on Monday it will be no problem to do those quick runs and then REST on Friday and Saturday.

Yeah, REST – I might need to look up how to do that :->

Ginger Molasses Cookies

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Yay! The first new recipe of the season that’s a keeper!

Source = Silver Palate Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 12 tablespoons *unsalted* butter (1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Directions:

Preheat over to 350 degrees.

Melt butter; add sugar and molasses and mix thoroughly (I used the low setting on my Kitchen-aid through the whole process). Lightly beat egg and add to butter mixture – blend well. Sift flour with spices, salt & baking soda. Add to first mixture and blend well. Lay a sheet of parchment paper over a cookie sheet and drop a tablespoon of batter at a time, 3 inches apart. The dough WILL spread so try to keep to the 3 inch rule! Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven while still soft and immediately remove parchment sheet with cookies on it to the counter to cool. Makes at least 24 large, flat cookies that are moist in the middle.

They are delicious! A little crunchy, a little chewy, with a lovely warm, spicy flavor blend.

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Molasses + butter + egg + sugar blending (action shot!)

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Finished raw dough

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Hot out of the oven!

Cookie Party

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Hello 2013 Holidailies readers! I didn’t forget you, I just…well…needed some recover time after last week’s rush of tasks to get back in the swing of things. First of all, let me direct your attention to the Cookie Recipe Page at the top of the site. Several years ago I started experimenting with various cookie recipes during the holidays and now the season doesn’t seem complete unless I’ve softened some butter and taken out the mixer. Thanks to the football dinner, this process was delayed quite a bit. Usually I start baking as soon as I finish putting up decorations. So, it was really odd to have ingredients on hand just sitting around for the last week or so! Finally, though, the invitation arrived to the neighborhood cookie party this past Sunday. That got me moving! Saturday night I tried out a new chocolate cookie recipe and promptly tossed it after just two batches came out of the oven. It was awful! I think that is the first time I have thrown out dough.

So, I fell back on the most reliable recipe I have and also the most requested. The second recipe on the page – Ricotta Cheese Cookies straight from the Good Housekeeping site.

The best dough ever - guaranteed!

Ricotta cheese cookie dough – The best dough ever – guaranteed!

Thankfully I started off Sunday by running 10 miles so I knew I could indulge in the yummy results! Yes, yes, I know – raw eggs and yadda yadda, but this stuff is too delicious to resist! It’s light and fluffy and just the right amount of sweet without overdoing it. The cookie party was a blast – some yummy food, a great time catching up with what seemed like nearly everyone on our block, plus so much to choose from to take home:

Where do you start?

Where do you start?

Since the ricotta cheese cookies are 17’s favorite, I talked him through making another batch for the house last night. (Yes, he used the mixer and learned the importance of gradually dropping in flour and the magic of parchment paper!) I brought in the cookies I chose from the party to work along with some of my own and I will keep the workplace stocked up during this final week before our vacation 🙂

Tomorrow night I will try out a new recipe that I hope is not full of fail like the first one was. I’d like to add another to the recipe page for this year. Stay tuned!

 

It was all a blur

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It happened so fast didn’t it? First it’s August 2004 and the first day of pop warner practice, then you blink, and it’s Dec 2013 and the night of his final football banquet.

The banquet day itself was a double blur. Last minute flurries of emails and running out to buy supplies and charging camera batteries and collecting checks and responding to more changes in attendance (yes, even on the day of!).

The tables were set:

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The posters were on display:

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The seniors were seated at their places of honor

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The liaisons got up and thanked the players, coaches & parents for a great year:

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I passed on the coveted Falcon Parent Pep Rally Award bullhorn to our excellent social media volunteer (who I know will carry on the legacy since he has a junior & freshman in the program) I swear he’s firing off a tweet as he walks back to his table!

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The boys then thanked their moms – mine thanked me for making sure my first question to the doctors any time he was hurt was always “So, how soon can we get him cleared to play?”

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One by one they received their varsity letters – or, in #18’s case, his 2nd year bar to add to his letterman jacket – then they wrapped up with individual players awards as voted on by the entire team. Not something the coaches picked out, but something their peers chose to recognize them for their efforts.

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Introducing the 2013 Scout Team Player of the Year – #18:

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And that was that – a few more quick photos with my guy and my co-liaison who I now call a true friend:

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And the night was done.

Of course, I still have helmets in my garage. And a couple more checks to collect & then drop off to the foundation. And I need to find a place to hang the fabulous framed team photo signed by all the players for me. And then Sarah and I have to plan when we will go to the spa for a massage and facial since enough money was collected from the parents for us to go enjoy a day of pampering (sweet!). But…..for now…I will stare at his well earned award (we kept him healthy for a full season!!) and this photo of all these great kids and wipe away a few tears as I think back on the last 9 years, the last season, that last night and thank each and every one of them for allowing me to go on this tremendous ride with them.

 

 

Preview of Football dinner

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It’s late, I am only posting this to sort of meet the holidailies commitment – but – after a manic two weeks of preparation, the dinner was fabulous. I brought my good camera and handed it off to #18’s dad to take photos – some of them are good! But, this one is fomr my phone at the very start so it will have to do for today:

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