More S’mores Please!

13 Sep

Since IMC it has been a battle with the desserts. Some weeks have been good and some not so much. I decided last weekend we should quit desserts (but I had just made chocolate chip zucchini bread) until after NYC marathon! Dan was ok with it because he isn’t working out as much and doesn’t want the extra calories anyway! He proceeded to tell me that the said bread was considered dessert. I begged to differ but said ok we will eat the bread and Saturday we would quit! Today marks 50 days until the race.
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Well we got invited over to a friends house for a some fire pit action last night. I thought yes. S’mores. I haven’t had a s’mores in years. That would be my last hoorah!

Last week I presented: How to build an ice cream sandwich. This week will be how to make an epic s’more!

You are probably thinking: yeah yeah yeah. You put the chocolate on the gram. You roast the marlow. Put the marlow on the chocolate and a gram on the marlow. EAT!! —> That is the long story short!

Here is what you need!
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My s’mores are different kind of. You will not be surprised when you tell you this! I made 4. They each had another marshmallow added. I used a variety of chocolate.

This was the sequence of the third one:
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Here is the MOST important part:
You have to put the entire s’more on the stick and put it back in the fire!
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Only for a few seconds but it will melt the chocolate!
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You can finally eat it! Be careful! It is messy!!
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My 4th and final one was OUT OF CONTROL:
I roasted 4 marlows! Hello! Here is the aftermath!
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So messy!! So good!!

Here is the BEST picture of the night!
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Here’s to 50 days until the New York City Marathon!! 50 days of NO treats!! Here we go!

How do you like your s’mores?

You Really Want To Do An Ironman?

12 Sep

I have been wanting to write a: How to decide what Ironman to do? I finally sat down to write it!!

As most of you know I have done 4 Ironman races. They were all M-Dot sanctioned races. I had little to do with any of my selections. Let me explain:

I was talked into decided on Ironman Canada 2009 about 3 months before the race. I remember vividly the day Sheryl talked me into it. We were running 15 miles on Wildwood trail. It was a gorgeous morning. She said why don’t you do Ironman Canada with us in August. I thought Please. No way. I barely knew what an Ironman is. Well the bug was already in my head and I knew if I did not sign up I would regret it. I spent the next 3 months training for 140.6 miles. Knowing what I know now I can not believe I got into the race without A) going to Penticton to volunteer/sign up B) signing up a year in advance.

Another friend Shannon had already gotten a group of us to sign up for Coeur d’Alene 2010. I was just following the pack. I went to IMCdA to volunteer and sign up in 2009 for 2010. This was my first big experience with an Ironman. I couldn’t believe that I was going to do this in 2 months. I had signed up for 2 Ironman races and I had never even done one! What the What?!!

I survived those 2. A friend, Christine, wanted to do a “flat” Ironman. She was going to sign up for Arizona 2012. I thought flat is boring but I signed up anyway. That is where I had a huge PR!

My fourth and what I thought would be my LAST Ironman was Ironman Canada but really Whistler. (I still don’t know why they did not just name it Ironman Whistler.) If you don’t know Ironman Canada was in Penticton for 30 years. They changed it to Whistler in 2013. We were actually set to do Lake Placid until we learned that Tri-Bike Transport did not serve Portland to IMLP. We schemed, talked, and eventually voted and decided to do Whistler instead. I still wanted to do LP but the group voted and we were set! (We were happy to be in Whistler and not Lake Placid after we heard about the weather as we were getting ready to swim early that morning of July 27th!)

I tell you this because picking an Ironman is a big decision. There are so many things to think about!

FIRST!
You have to decide if you want to do an “M-Dot” sanctioned event or if you want to pick just a 140.6 mile “iron-distance” race. You may or may not know what I mean by this. Let me explain:
A M-Dot race: a race put on my WTC(World Triathlon Corporation) In my opinion they have the monopoly on 140.6 distance races. When you hear the word “Ironman” this is where it comes from. If you are hoping to qualify for Kona then you have to do one of their races.
Iron-distance race: the same 140.6 miles you do in an “Ironman.” But put on by someone different than WTC. (Challenge, HITS, Beach To Battleship, Vineman, etc)

In my opinion anyone who has raced 140.6 miles is an Ironman. Some people think differently!

SECOND!
You have to decide where you want to race. Somewhere you can drive to? Somewhere close enough that you can train on the course? Do you want to fly with your bike? Do you know about Tri-bike Transport? (I think there is other transport companies but I don’t know about them) Can you pack your bike up in a bike box and travel with it?

Those are huge decisions. 3 of 4 of mine were driving distance. 2 of 4 I trained on the course 4-6 weeks before the race. I used Tri-bike Transport for IMAZ. It worked perfectly. Very easy! Not one complaint!

Third!
Other things to consider.
The swim. Not just mass starts anymore. After Ironman(WTC) put out a SwimStart Initiative there are some rolling and wave starts now. If the swim is not your cup of tea then maybe you would want to find a race that is not a mass start. But if you are die-hard and want a die-hard Ironman then maybe a mass start is what you have prepped yourself to do since you started dreaming of 140.6 miles.

The bike. There are courses that are flat, rolling, and lots of climbing. Pick one that you think you will like the best. Ask yourself: Are you a strong cyclist? or a weak one? Do you like climbing? Do you like cruising flat?

Personally the bike is my strongest event. I like climbing. I like hills. 3 of 4 of my races where climb fests. Everyone talks about how AZ is flat. They are wrong. You definitely have a incline on your way out on the Bee-Line Hwy. You are not climbing by all means but it is not flat! I did like AZ. I had a fast bike split. Depends on what you are looking for in a ride. (You also have to think about where you live and where you will train.) If you have no hills to train on then it is probably better to do a flat course.

The run. There are hilly runs and flat runs just like the bike. What kind of terrain do you like to race on?

For me: Running is my weakness but I usually can excel on hillier courses then flat ones! (Case and point: I ran a faster Big Sur marathon then I did RNRAZ ’14)

It is also tougher to decide because you don’t know how your legs will feel after 112 miles on the bike.

Those are just some things to think about when signing up for your first Ironman or I guess your 10th Ironman Or Iron-distance!!

IF I decided to do another one here is my criteria:
NO mass start.
No M-dot.
A rolling course (bike/run)

Training and racing an Ironman(or 140.6 miles) is no joke. I think some people sign up for a race thinking it would be “cool” to do. They don’t think about all the hours, blood, sweat, and tears that go into getting ready for an Ironman. There is no such thing an “easy” 140.6 miles. There is nothing easy about the race. You just have to decide most importantly what kind of terrain you want to train and race on. Really ask yourself if this is something that you are willing to prepare yourself for! It is an amazing accomplishment and some what addicting!

What are your thoughts on Ironman vs. Iron-distance races? Any other tips on what to look for when deciding on a race? How did you decide what 140.6 miles to do?

Pints To Pasta 2014 Re-Cap

7 Sep

I did my 8th running of Pints to Pasta 10K this morning!

A couple morning logistics:
Packet-pick up: 6:15-7:15
Shuttles: 6:30-7:30—You are urged to park at the finish line and take the shuttle to the start.
Start time: 8:00

BEFORE THE RACE: We live right by the finish line (Old Spaghetti Factory). We walked down to packet pick up at 6:30. Took our shirts/swag home. Got on the shuttle at 7:10ish. Arrived at the start line about 7:20ish. Used the porta potty. Went out for a 10 minute “yog” to warm up. Did some dynamic stretching. Then it was GO TIME!

SWAG!!

SWAG!!

GOALS: No real goals. I am knee deep into my marathon training. I have been doing tempo stuff but no speed work. I love this race. It is always fun. I thought what the hell! This “race” was taking the place of my tempo run for the week. I had already done 8 miles of hill repeats and a 16 mile long run. I will see what I can do. :)

The start line! (the green balloons behind us)

The start line! (the green balloons behind us)

THE RACE: Here is the long and short of it.
The first mile is downhill: 8:51 (this is about what I usually do)
2nd mile is flat uphill to downhill back up: 9:13 (I wanted to work hard but not sure how hard I was working. I knew I would get a little relief)
3rd mile is short downhill to uphill over the Broadway bridge: 9:32 (I didn’t know if and when I should work harder??)
4th mile was downhill to flat: 8:51 (well that was definitely fast. Could I maintain that the 2.2 miles I had left??)
(The course remained the same but instead of running on the waterfront path we were running on the street. I actually liked it better!)
Mile 5 was flat: 8:53 (WOW! Still fast. I was working hard.)
6th and final mile was flat: 9:00 (It was hard. I was working hard. I was going as fast as I could. I thought I better let it rip. I was sure I would run out of gas before the end of the mile. I was on home turf I knew every curve and turn. I just needed to keep it together. Run hard. Run fast!)
Last .2 miles was flat: 8:19 (I had no idea where I was time wise but I did not want to regret slowing because it was hard.) ;)

56:28!! PR!!! I THOUGHT my PR was 57:20ish. I thought great about 45 seconds. I.would.take.it!! Well turns out my PR was actually 58:27. Hello 2 minute PR. I was super excited!

POST-RACE: I found Dan and some other friends!
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We went over to get something to eat: chocolate milk and Clif Bars. The pasta/salad/bread compliments of the Old Spaghetti Factory. 2 Beers from Widmer. I was pleasantly surprised that they had root beer too. I am not a drinker and definitely not a soda drinker but a few sips of root beer was delicious!
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This was the first year they gave out medals. Pretty nice too!
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Thanks for a great race Better Series! Already planning on next year!! :)

After the race I came home to watch/track Erin and Kecia rock their races at Ironman Wisconsin! Congrats Ladies! Awesome job today!!

HOW to BUILD an ICE CREAM Sandwich!

6 Sep

I have done some research and National Ice Cream day is the 3rd Sunday of July. Problem is when we were returning from the San Juan’s in August, I heard that National Ice Cream day was that day. I promptly decided that I needed to make ice cream sandwiches that day. Not store bought. Home made!

Sequence of events…
Made ice cream sandwiches…in August…
Took pictures…
Did not do the post on how to make an ice cream sandwich…
Dropped and broke my phone…
Lost all of my pictures because my iCloud is full…
Decided that I still wanted to do a post…
Bought all the ingredients to make them again…

You can make these as easy or hard as you want. No matter what. They aren’t that hard to make! :)

All you need:
12 or 16 cookies: (homemade, cookie dough, store bought)
1 pint or quart of ice cream
Serrated knife (I have a good bread knife I like to use)
Depending on what size—you might need a circle cookie cutter
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I made 12 cookies(chocolate chip). But I had a quart of ice cream(coffee bean blast–from Trader Joes).

Let the cookies cool.

Since the quart circumference is bigger than the circumference of the cookies, I needed a cookie cutter. (The first time around I tried to cut the ice cream but made a big mess. That is when I thought of the cookie cutter.)

Don’t take the ice cream out of freezer until you are totally ready!

Cut about a 1/2 inch Disk.
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Use the cookie cutter to make a circle(about the size of your cookies. Had I used a pint I would not have needed the cookie cutter.)
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Start to assemble sandwich:
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As much as I wanted to eat this:
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It needed to go in the freezer! My master photographer was also the master “wrapper”:
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We quickly realized that we were out of saran wrap so I had him wrap them in wax paper and then foil.

We could not wait longer than an hour so the first ones were a bit soft.
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Delicious though!!

If you can wait about 4 hours they are perfect!
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What is your favorite ice cream? What kind of ice cream and cookies would you assemble?

10 You Challenges: 4 Books

5 Sep

I didn’t like reading until after I got out of college. I still remember the book that started it. I was a big reader for a long time until I started to blog. All my extra time went to writing my blog and reading other blogs. I never commented but then started commenting a lot. I have been reading a little bit more in the last couple of months. I like to read before I go to bed. Some nights it is longer than others (especially while Ironman training!)

YOU

Here is my take on 4 books!

1. Comedy. I love Chelsea Handler. She is hysterical. I still remember reading Horizontal Life which was awesome. I think Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang was my favorite. I remember when I was reading it in the Vegas airport. Trying to hold back my laughing. It was so funny. The lady sitting across from me asked what I was reading. I don’t think she had ever heard of Chelsea! I am reading Uganda Be Kidding Me right now. It is unfortunately not as funny as the other ones. I did just read Tina Fey’s Bossypants that was really good too!
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2. Memoirs. Year Of No Sugar. I have not read this one but I am dying too. I totally have a sugar addiction (duh) and this will probably hit home! I hope anyway. There are 100 holds in front of me at the library! Maybe I will get it by next summer.
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3. Suspense/Romance. I love Linda Howard’s books. There is a perfect amount of suspense and romance. Dying To Please was the book that got me hooked into reading. I went back and read all her books before this one. She usually comes out with a new one every year! I quickly pick it up!!
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4. My aunt was a school teacher and whenever she came to visit she would bring us a ton of books. This is an all-time favorite. Plus I love cookies!! If You Give A Mouse A Cookie.
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What are your favorite books?!

Canning Experiement 2014

1 Sep

I have always wanted to learn how to “can.” I like to make big batches of salsa and pasta sauce. I was obviously super na├»ve when I thought I would just be able to make a recipe, put it in a jar, and seal it up. I knew we needed to put it in a hot bath or a pressure cooker to really “seal” it up but I didn’t really know what it totally entailed!

I quickly found out we had to use a recipe for the salsa because the acidity needed to be at the right level. If the salsa doesn’t cook properly and have the right acidity the salsa could do bad. It may not be safe to eat things like that! I had no idea!!

Jamie is the pro-canner. She has dabbled in salsa but does a lot of pickles. Erica has helped Jamie a few times and made pickles. Tracy and I have zero canning experience!
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The plan was to make a salsa recipe that Jamie found, a salsa recipe that I got from an old co-worker, and some pickles. We started at 9am Saturday morning.

We got right to work. Jamie and I were on salsa duty. Tracy and Erica were cutting pickles and peeling garlic.

Addison (Jamie's almost 3 year old.)was a big helper all day.

Addison (Jamie’s almost 3 year old.)was a big helper all day.

It takes a lot of time to prep. You make the salsa. Boil it the right amount. When it is ready you have to wash the jars (while they are warm) you sterilize them. Once they are sterile you have to work fast at putting the salsa in the jar, wipe the jar, put the lid on and get them back in the hot water bath.
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After we took them out of the hot water bath we waited for the top to “pop.” At that point we knew they were sealed right!
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After we had 21 jars of salsa it was time to work on the pickles.

Same sort of process: We washed the jars, sterilized them, filled the jar with garlic, dill, onions, and cucumbers and filled with brine, and into the hot water bath they went.
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WE finally finished up at about 5pm. We were all still smiling!!
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We had 41 jars of salsa and pickles.
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Have you ever “canned”? What have you made?!

10 YOU Challenges: 5 Foods

29 Aug

Here is the next installment of the You challenge. Food this week. This is actually really hard. I love food. I love dessert. How do I narrow it down?? This is what I have come up with:

YOU

1. Lets state the obvious. ICE CREAM. I definitely go in waves with what treat I like to have. Years ago it was cupcakes. Cookies and brownies took over after that. Ice cream has been around for probably a year. Luckily enough Dan keeps a tight leash on the pints so I don’t go overboard. If I had my way I could put down a whole pint every night!
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2. PIZZA. I love pizza. I like homemade pizza the best. I can use whatever ingredients I like! I made a pizza last night (I almost took a picture but didn’t. Then it was gone before I knew it!) I always like trying different pizza in different places I visit.
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3. SALSA. You can use salsa with so many things. Of course I love it with Mexican food. I even put it on my sweet potatoes in lieu of sour cream. I like to make it homemade with fresh ingredients but TJ’s is my go-to for salsa!
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4. SALADS. Not really a traditional salad with lettuce and carrots. I like lots of stuff in my salad. Quinoa, garbonzos, sunflower seeds, lots of veggies, avocado, strawberries, beets. Not all at once but a variety. You get my point!! :)
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5. BREAKFAST. I am so lucky to live in Portland where there are a plethora of breakfast places that are fantastic. I don’t go out very often because I am typically training but sometimes I do. I love scrambles mostly with a biscuit!
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Those are some of my favorite!!!

What are some over your favorite foods??

Pints to Pasta 10k GIVEAWAY WINNER: Congrats Andrea! I will be in touch!!
andrea

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