Tales From the Back of the Pack

Tales From the Back of the Pack

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Weekend Recap

I'd been looking forward to this weekend for several weeks because I had a fun class scheduled on Sunday.

But first, let's backup just a little bit. After work on Friday, I met my girlfriend S for some serious heart-to-heart at our favorite place, Applebee's. We do the Kevin Hart Applebees! Applebees! impression every time.
I got home Friday after midnight, way too late and after eating a ton of bad food that was delicious. UGH.
I was also still recuperating from a late night out earlier in the week when we celebrated SZ's b-day. 
I feel like this week I made way too many bad food choices and definitely did not get enough sleep. But, at the end of the day, it's never a bad decision to be there for your homegirls. 
The last thing I wanted to do was get up early on Saturday to run. Thankfully, run buddy Val was merciful and pushed our meeting time back to 7:00am. He's seriously going to dump me for a better run friend any weekend now. 
I ended up with 7 miles just like that! After mile 2, I kept on keeping on and lost myself in my podcasts until I looked at my phone and knew I could hit 7. It wasn't the great run that I am over due for, but my calves weren't tight at all, the sciatica didn't flare up,  I had only minor GI issues for the  the last mile. It's more than I can ask for, really. 

I earned my french toast for breakfast today!
 After breakfast, a long nap was at the top of my to do list. Then, house chores while watching some marathon TV. Val's been peer pressuring me to start watching Narcos so I gave in. AND, I totally loved it. I love that it's in Spanglish--like me. As a bonus I learned a ton of new Colombia-style Spanish curse words. After that, I watched Portlandia because Netflix said it was a 5-star match and I'd never seen it before. It is HILARIOUS!! I can't believe I've been missing out on Portlandia all this time!!
Dinner was one of my salad masterpieces, with basil and cilantro and an entire avocado. Trying to undo all the fried food I've consumed this week. #toolittletoolate
Sunday finally came and I was super excited about a cheese making class I'd signed up for at the Institute of Domestic Technology. The Puff usually hates ignores my odd obsession of learning to live like we are in the 19th century. But when I had to get ready to leave for the class she insisted on tagging along.  
 I don't usually do this kind of stuff on Sundays because of church obligations, but this class I couldn't resist. We got there and it was like Seattle Hipsters Meets Little House on the Prairie and I was in heaven.
I won't go into the details but it sufficeth to say there are a lot of steps involved in making cheese. ONE thing I was surprised to learn--Shocked, really--was that rennet (which is essential in making cheese) comes from the stomachs of newborn calves. They have to be slaughtered for it. Whaaaaaat??? OMG. How did I not know this?
Rennet pills
I'm not a vegetarian but I like to feel that I know what's in my food and where it comes from, etc. And I respect the food that I purchase as much as possible if that makes sense. I really do think about the work that's involved, from the growers to the farm workers to how it arrives to my table when I'm eating a salad. I won't stop eating cheese,  but I am now conscious about the sacrifice that has been made for me so that I can enjoy it. #themoreyouknow
David the cheeseman
After the class we went over to Grand Central Market (GCM) in downtown LA to have lunch. 
Pizza for the Puff, of course. I went to the Chinese counter and ordered a bowl of  wonton soup. I wound up having to eat the soup with my fingers because I (again) forgot to bring my reusable utensils and I refused to use their disposable plastic spoons.
 I have these pouches of reusable utensils that I usually keep in my car for such occasions. I just need to remember to carry them. At least I did remember to bring a jar and took my leftover soup home in it instead of a Sytrofoam container. Yay.
 The leftovers from Applebee's the other night were brought home in a disposable box. I'm going to reuse the heck out of this container though before it goes into the recycle bin.

Time to finish prepping for the week! 

Do you have a favorite TV or Netflix show you're currently obsessed with? How was YOUR weekend? 

Friday, January 29, 2016

Lessons Learned and Repeated

"Never shop on an empty stomach." Yeah, I know that. Everybody knows that. And yet there I was at Lazy Acres market, pushing my cart up and down the aisles totally starving. As soon as I caught myself drooling over the russet potatoes, I knew it was hopeless. Now I'm going to have to figure out how to feed potatoes to the Puff this weekend. 
I may have lingered at the free samples station a little longer than what is acceptable in polite society. I know this because  the line behind me was getting riotous impolite. 
I brought my tins and muslin bags with me to the store for the meat and produce as usual but I couldn't resist the hot prepared foods station and ended up using disposables to purchase more hot food than I could afford eat in one sitting. Lesson learned (but repeated often anyway).
One positive thing about this trip is that the grapes were available for purchase loose (no plastic bag to throw away). I filled up my bag--which is a lingerie bag I got for free when I purchased a Moving Comfort bra--and ate them all on the way home. Grapes and berries are hardly ever sold loose like this except at the farmers market. Now that I'm studying this picture though, I think these baskets may have been intended as purely ornamental. Oops. 
And as long as I'm in confession mode, I also got a plastic straw the other night when I met BD at Stacked to pick up the Puff. I carry my own reusable glass straw but the waitress brought this one already in my drink before I could say "No Straw, please." Total rookie mistake.
I'm not doing much better with my running either. I'm having one of those awful run streaks, slogging through my runs this week. I have hated every step taken.

It shows in my pace and I don't even care. Running hurts my calves and my sciatica and I'm getting slower instead of faster and I don't know why I even care about running right now. Yep, I'm having one of those weeks.

Becky at Ok, so here's the plan blogged about having a great run today after several bad ones. I love reading about other runners' challenges and triumphs because they give me hope and motivation. So that's the only reason I went out again tonight.

And I had a terrible run again and it was slow and I hated every step. My calves were tight and they hurt so bad and I stopped like every 10 feet to stretch them out. I grabbed onto the nearest light post for balance so I could stretch my calves like this:
But I felt like a total idiot stopping and hugging every light pole and telephone post to stretch out my calf because from any angle it just looked like I'm hugging on a post all creeper-ish, like this:

Deep down though I know that a great run is going to get here soon, I just have to keep putting in the miles and be patient. In the meantime, I need to keep it honest.

Have you had a never-ending streak of bad runs? What was the longest?
I just remembered my last 6 mile run on Sunday (5 days ago) felt really good. How quickly I forget...

Monday, January 25, 2016

Less Is More

My car has been at the repair shop since Thursday. I've been having to drive the monstrous family SUV all around town instead. 
Hello from the other side
I'm glad to have this vehicle available as a backup, but the amount of gas it guzzles, besides being hard on my wallet, makes me feel like a terrible world citizen. It's a super handy vehicle to have for our family excursions and RAGNAR races-and it's paid for-so we keep it around. 

Speaking of Ragnar, it's been a minute since I've done one. I started doing Ragnars very early on in my running life. In 2010 Arizona Cousin had gotten herself roped into joining a team and remembered that I was doing a bunch of 5K's. A few weeks later we both found ourselves in the Wasatch mountains, thinking WTF is all THIS? Good times, good times.
2am run, anyone? Yes, please.
It's a lot of commitment financially, time-wise and there's a lot of STUFF you have to have. Ragnar is the reason that I purchased a reflective vest, a head light, butt light, and who knows what else. All this stuff that's necessary for those Ragnar unsupported legs. And at Ragnar you see hordes of other runners with a plethora of awesome running stuff that you just can't live without. 

Reflecting back on the years I've been running, I realize I've bought a cr*p ton of running stuff that I seldom use and probably shouldn't keep around. Any more though, for me, less is more. 

That being said, there are a few things I have purchased that I feel I are must haves for me. Here's my list (in order of importance) of shtuff I can't run without

1. Jaybirds Bluebuds X I can't run very far without listening to my podcasts and music. But MORE importantly, I love being able to shed layers as I'm running without fussing with headphone wires.
As an admitted So Cal weather wimp, this is a game changer. I don't stand at race starts shivering until the gun goes off. I wear my nice (no throwaway stuff) jacket or long sleeve shirt and then shed as necessary without pausing. I love these wireless headphones.

2. Really Good Sports Bra. Another game changer. I never considered myself large breasted until I started running and using the cheapo bras I found at Target. Ummm no. My sports bras are more expensive than my regular bras, and I own more sports bras than I do regular bras. I tend to rotate in the latest & greatest, but currently I'm wearing these:
 Moving comfort sports bra
The $8 Champion stuff from Target just will.not.do. 

3. The Amphipod Handheld Even though I hated the way this thing leaked, I loved the ergonomic design so much that I didn't switch to another brand. Now that I've replaced the leaky cap, I'm GOLDEN.
4. I love Nuun tablets. I love the mild effervescence and the subtle flavor. All the 'Ades (gatorade, powerade, etc) are cloyingly sweet for me & make me gag every time I drink them. Every time.
5. Injinji socks. Of course I wear them when I run, but I also wear these with all my nice tennis shoes and boots/booties that I wear when I'm not running. I don't like it when my toes are all squished together inside regular socks. Don't know how I ever lived without these. 
That's it! That's all the stuff I can't run without. I think it's a pretty small & reasonable list! Less is more, for real.

I'm linking up with MCMMamaRuns, Marcia's Healthy Slice and My No Guilt Life for Tuesdays on the Run. Click over & check out all the other Oldies but Goodies lists!

What running gear is on your MUST-HAVE list?

Weekend Highlights

My Saturday morning started out with a pancake fundraiser breakfast at church. The Boy Scouts did an amazing job feeding us. We brought our own cups/plates/utensils to avoid using the disposables that are ubiquitous at food gatherings at church. 
After breakfast I had to head out to a community event for work. Working on Saturday is not ideal, but BD had the Puff for the day so it wasn't too bad. And the reason this detail made the highlight reel is because I met my CA state senator.
Meeting him (Tony Ramirez) was not the actual highlight though. The highlight was that after he left, we had a conversation about our local government and realized we didn't know who our state reps were, or how our local government was set up, so we sat there & Googled the info and now we know. And learning something new (that I should've known anyway) was a highlight for me. 

After work, I met my dad for lunch. This Mexican does not eat Mexican food out very often, but I will always do it when my dad is choosing the restaurant. He knows all those little places where the food is authentic and cheap. Horchata and a plate of Enfrijoladas for the win. 

 Sunday, we had a late start at church so I went out for the run that should've (don't you hate when people say 'should of') happened on Saturday. Any time I can run more than 4 miles makes me really happy. 6 miles at 12:48 today.
The temps in So Cal this week are super warm-low 70's--during the day but dip down into the low 40's overnight. Getting out to run at 5am in 40-degree weather is really hard when your skin is used to 70 degree temps again. I just realized that I'm b*tching about temps in the 70's while the eastern seaboard is being pummeled with snow. Nice.  

I ordered a cheese omelet for post-run breakfast today. It is now my new favorite. Thank the gods for running friends who don't let you down. I have one. I wish I was one.

 When I got home I was greeted with this scene.
I love it when these two play together. Legos and cousins are forever.

 Later Sunday afternoon the Puff asked me to make popcorn. We make popcorn the old fashioned way, on the stove top from kernels purchased from bulk bins. There's no trash this way. 
I love that in her world popcorn does not come from a packet that you throw into microwave for 3 minutes.

And the best way to spend a Sunday afternoon in my book: marathon TV. Today I got all caught up on the episodes of Top Chef that I've missed. I'm really loving this season!

What were the highlights of your weekend?