Monday, April 30, 2012

OKC Memorial 1/2 Marathon

Yesterday I ran my 2nd half marathon.  The Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon.  The Marathon is in remembrance of the bombing of the Murrah building on April 19, 1995.  I wasn't living in Oklahoma at the time, but I remember sitting in Mr. Clark's history class and watching the coverage.  I have since visited the reflecting pool, but have yet to tour the museum.  
Yesterday 11,455 people finished either the Marathon or Half Marathon.  There was also a 5K.  I think there were over 25,000 registered runners for the event.  I was one of over 8,000 running the half marathon.  I finished with a 2:09:08 162/890 in my age group and 828/4986 for my gender.  
I was desperate to not have to drive and park and navigate downtown (I don't like to do that ANYTIME, but especially on a busy day like yesterday), so after a couple of facebook pleas, I was able to ride with a guy who also goes to church with me. I  met him at his house at 5:30 am and we drove down town and parked and started walking.  There were over 25,000 people out on the streets before the race and all of them feel to complete silence for 168 seconds to remember the deaths of the bombing victims.  It was a moment.  Wes and I walked slowly through the crowd trying to get to the start and we were off.
It was perfect temps, overcast skies, but VERY humid.  I think the humidity may have helped cause some of my issues.  It was almost perfect running conditions.  There was a little weaving at the beginning, but it wasn't bad and I was able to fall into a rhythm pretty quickly.  A quick rhythm.  I kept trying to slow myself down, but it was HARD.  It's so easy to get swept with the crowd, and I just wanted to RUN!!!  I found a girl who was running strong and steady and about at my much to fast pace.  I asked her her goal time, hoping I'd found a running buddy.  She wanted to run 9 minute miles.  I was hoping for an overall average pace of just under 9:40 minute miles.  I really thought about it.  I knew her pace was much too fast for me.  I knew I should run a smart race and stick with my race plan and slow down.  A lot.  I KNEW that.  But I didn't WANT to do that. I was feeling good (of course I was...I'd only been running for a couple of miles!)  I purposefully chose to abandon my race plans hoping that the crowd and distractions and adrenaline would help me maintain. (This wasn't even rational thinking.  I run 9 minute miles when I'm running a hard 6 miles.  6 miles is a LOT less than 13.)  I chose to go for it and hoped I could hold on.  My "pacer" had to slow down at mile 8.  I never saw her again.  I just kept running strong.  Until mile 10.  I was hot, tired, and had an upset stomach and was getting lightheaded.  So I stopped to walk.  I walked a couple of minutes, and when I felt better I ran again (much slower) 10+ minute miles.  At this point I decided to take off the hat I had worn in case of rain and carry it.  I hate carrying things in my hands when I run.  HATE.  But that breeze on my head felt so nice.  I ran through the finish with the exception of one necessary potty break in mile 12 at the last aid station.  There were EMT's everywhere and when I quickly veered off the road they all jumped up to catch me as though I were falling....but I wasn't.  I just started taking things off and throwing them down and headed right for the port-a-potty.  It started misting on me and felt oh so nice.  

The race was so fun and just flew by (except after mile 10.  And the stretch down Classen did get a bit long).  The route was great, but in all honesty, I wasn't really looking at Oklahoma City as I passed it, noooooo...I was watching the people.  Turns out, big races are GREAT for people watching.  Runners and spectators alike.  There were people watching from their yards, playing music, cheering, yelling, waving signs etc.  Superman and Wonder Woman even came to watch us run.  There is a hill named "Gorilla hill" (Note: NONE of the hills on this route were anything like the hills by my house and they were barely blips on my radar.  Nice.  Thank you all the hills by our house!)  Anyway, on Gorilla hill there were probably around 10 adults all in banana costumes.  

I felt pretty rotten at the end and was all kinds of light headed and dizzy (NOT normal for me at all) so I walked around a ton, cooling down until I felt better.  My stomach was a bit off all day long yesterday and I didn't really eat much.

Anyway, I'm glad I finished.  I'm happy I improved by time from my last 1/2.  However, I am frustrated that I walked (again.)  And I mad that I made a stupid choice and decided to ignore my race plan.  As we can did not work out well for me.  And I'm disappointed I missed by goal time of under 2:05.  Because I KNOW I can run that.  I HAVE run that on a training run.  I did really taper week before the race, but I ran a 13.1 mi training run the Sunday before AND a 13.1 mi training run the Saturday before THAT.  I'm not sure running 13 miles 3 weeks in a row was a smart thing to do. Oh well.

Next race?  Sooner State Games Half Marathon May 19, 2012.  I WILL abide by my race plan.  I want to run sub 2:05.  I want to NOT WALK!!!  I think it will be much easier to maintain my race plan and not get carried away.  It will be a MUCH smaller race. 

* I'll post pictures when they post them.  The race had professional photogs.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I say I'll Never Forget

But....I know I will.

8:00pm is my favorite time of the day.  One, because it's bedtime for Luke and Leta and I'm tired and ready for a break.  Two, because it's time to put Max to bed.  Every night he fusses at me as I put him into his sleep blanket that is laid out on the couch.  Then I nurse him and he immediately calms.  More often than not he relaxes and eats with his eyes closed, top hand reaching up to grab at his hair or ear.  Or my hair. As I shift him to carry him upstairs, he looks up at me with big blue eyes.  As soon as he's positioned he closes his eyes and begins to drift off to sleep, still making sucking motions with his mouth.  Too cute.  Every night I get to carry a sleeping baby up the stairs and into his room.  I kiss his cheek and say, "Goodnight, I love you.  Go to sleep I'll see you in the morning."  It is perfection.  These moments with them/him slip away so quickly.  I have a few more months of this at best.  When I walk up the stairs, I always think, "I'll never forget how this feels." or "I hope I don't ever forget these moments."  And I'm sad, because I know I will forget.  Or I will remember it, but it just won't be quite the same, and I won't be able to recapture these exact feelings.  Today, I'm feeling like it's just not fair that they have to grow up so quickly.  And it makes me sad.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Next Generation

of Round Robin's have begun.

Dear Solomon,

I like Solomon because he has train tracks and Solomon is cute and his house is great.  When are we going to your house again?  Solomon text us back when are you going to come to our house.  Solomon, when Grandpa comes tell him that I scream when I get tickled because I don't like to get tickled, unless it's with a wooden spoon. I've been playing with the tent upstairs.  There's an earring in our house.  What have you been playing with? How is Emery?  Solomon if you have the color red and I want to color at your house I will always want to color with the red marker.  I also like blue and orange and green.  I like pink and purple.  Mommy has an iTouch and Daddy has an iPad.  Solomon could you come over to my house and sleep in my bottom bed?  The mattress is in the guest bedroom but Daddy will bring it in when you come.  My name is spelled L-U-K-E.  And Max is spelled M-A-X.  And Leta is spelled L-E-T-A.  If you give me the color red I will let you go down to the basement and play ghost with me.  Can we have a fort next time we come to your house?  I remember you have fort word.

Love you and miss you,

Dear Audra,

I like Michael and Audra and Solomon and Amelia and your new baby, Emery.  I like mommy's flowers that are for decoration.  Please help no one to ever lie up at your house.  We have a Dory movie and the movie of the Little Mermaid.  And we have the Polar Express.  The Polar Epress is a winter movie.  Mommy made granola.  Sometime could you come over to our house and watch the Polar Express.

See ya later!

Luke asked to "do words" to Solomon.  I type ver batim, which he loves, but it ends up being really scattered, thought wise.  Well we're off to "do words" to Grandpa Olson.

Dear Luke,
I have a fort.  I do have the color red, I will give it to you.  I have many different colors.  I like to color with them.  I just made many crafts.  I have crayons and a sand box to play in.  I have a swingset, water guns, blocks and a kitchen set.  Downstairs is nice and I just love to make airplanes.  You know cause it is all fun.  And I love playing tag and ghost.  I will give you the color red if you want.  I have a stuffed Tigger.  He is my special toy and he is very cute.  I have paper to draw pictures.  Luke I have played on the swingset and in the sandbox.  Dads coming home and we are going to have supper.  Luke it is nice if you would come over sometime to go camping in the backyard.  We could have snowball fights if the snow is wet.  Luke maybe next summer when you come we could play with water balloons.  I have just learned to swim.  I can swim.  I can swim.  It is fun.  It is really fun to go swimming.  I love to go swimming.  I’d love it Luke if you could come over and do it.  I will sleep in your bottom bed.  I have an ipad.  It has games on it.  You can play a game on it.  Some games you will find you will see the color red.  Luke, I can even have playtime with Emery.  I can even hold.  Next time you come you can hold Emery.  You all can hold little baby Emery.  Emery is doing fine we get to kiss her and hug her when we are saying goodnight to her.  It is fun. Maybe when you come to my house you could try sleeping with me in my small tent I made.  It is really, really fun.  My sister Annie built it but it was hard so mom helped us.  And we play prison.  Dad plays Gargamel with us.  I have windmills.  It is fun. I have just started on a pot holder.  I have chalk and a honey pot game and Legos to build with.  I would love it if you came over.

Like you,

Leta and Max,
Hey Leta.  I know Max is really fine, but now we have a new baby.  I am glad I saw your baby before ours.  Because I didn’t want to miss seeing yours.  Is baby five months old or 10 months old?  Is the baby 13 months old?  When is the baby 4? 

Solomon love you and miss you.  See you and not see you.  Love you.  When are you coming back.  We will come to your house sometime.  Oh yes we will!
All done.  Love Luke and Leta and Max and Kyle and Rachel

Friday, April 6, 2012

Beef and Broccoli

Beef and Broccoli
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp sugar
1 T cornstarch
1 T low sodium soy sauce
1 T water
2 T vegetable oil
1 1/2 lbs flank steak, sliced into this strips

Whisk together marinade ingredients.  Toss the steak with the marinade to coat.  Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

For sauce:
1/2 c low sodium soy sauce
2 T brown sugar
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 T flour
1 T sherry
3 T vegetable oil
2+ heads broccoli, florets only

In a small bowl, stir together the soy, brown sugar, garlic, flour and sherry until smooth.  Set aside.
In a large wok or saute pan, heat 2 T of the vegetable oil over high heat until shimmering.  Add broccoli and saute 3 minutes, stirring often.  Transfer broccoli to plate.
Carefully add the remaining T of oil to the hot pan.  Add the marinated meat and half of the sauce mixture and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring often, until the meat is cooked through and no longer pink.  Stir in the broccoli and remaining sauce.  Saute 1 minute more.  Serve immediately.

This was seriously good.  I served it over brown rice and it is a regular on our table these days.

Creamy Chicken Noodle Skillet

Creamy Chicken Noodle Skillet
2 T light butter
2 T flour
2 c skim milk
8oz No Yolk egg noodles
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c Parmesan cheese
1 lb raw chicken, diced and sprinkled with salt and pepper

Cook noodles according to package directions and drain.  Reserve 1/4 cup cooking liquid.  While noodles cook, in a large skillet, cook chicken over medium heat.  Brown on all sides but don't cook all the way through.  Remove chicken from skillet and set it aside.  Int he same large skillet add butter.  Once melted, add flour and using a whisk, break it up.  Add skim milk, salt, mustard and Parmesan.  Whisk until sauce starts to thicken.  Add partially cooked chicken into the sauce and continue to cook until no longer pink in the middle. Add the noodles and stir to coat all the noodles.  If it's too thick, add reserved pasta liquid to thin it out.

Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs

Crock Pot Italian Turkey Meatballs
1lb 99% lean ground turkey breast
1/4 c whole wheat seasoned breadcrumbs (soaked with milk and squeezed dry)
1/4 c Parmesan cheese, greated
1/4 c parsley, chopped
1 egg
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp kosher salt + pepper

For the sauce:
1 tsp olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
28oz can crushed tomatoes
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c fresh chopped basil or parsley

In a large bowl, combine turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, garlic and cheese.  Using clean hands, mix all the ingredients.  Use a cookie scoop to form small meatballs, about 1/8 c each.

In a small sauce pan, saute' garlic.  Put in crock pot along with crushed tomatoes, bay leaf, basil and salt and pepper.  Drop meatballs into the sauce, cover and set crock pot to low for 4-6 hours.  We enjoy ours over spaghetti.  YUMMY!!

This was SOOO good, and using the cookie scoop made it so easy to make as well.  I made a double batch and froze the leftovers.

Chicken Enchilada Pasta

Chicken Enchilada Pasta
2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded (I prefer throwing frozen chicken into a small crockpot and cooking on low all day and then shredding when I'm ready for it.  Easy cheesy lemon squeezy!)
2 T olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 (4oz) can green chilies
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
2 (10oz) can green chili enchilada sauce
2 cups shredded cheese
1 cup fat free plain greek yogurt (or sour cream)
Short cut pasta

Cook chicken, drain and shred.  Meanwhile, boil pasta and chop veggies.  Heat the olive oil in a large, deep skillet and cook onion for 3-5 minutes.  Add garlic and red pepper and cook another 3-5 minutes.  Add cooked chicken, green chilies, cumin, chili powder, salt and enchilada sauces.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add cheese and stir until cheese is melted and heated through.  Turn off heat and stir in yogurt.  Stir in drained, cooked pasta.  Serve as is or top with any mexican-y type topping you can think of!  

Mexican Chicken Casserole

Mexican Chicken Casserole
1 cup chicken broth
2 (4.5oz) cans chopped green chilies, divided
1 3/4 lb chicken breasts
2 tsp olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup evaporated skim milk
2oz reduced fat cream cheese
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1 (10oz) can enchilada sauce
12 tortillas (flour or corn)
1/2 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese

1.  Combine broth, 1 can of chilies, and chicken in crock pot and cook on low for 6 hrs.  Reserve cooking liquid.  Shred meat and set aside.
2.Preheat oven to 350*
3.  Heat oil in a large skillet.  Add the other can of chilies and onion and saute' until onions are soft.  Add reserved cooking liquid, milk, Monterrey jack, cream cheese and enchilada sauce; stir well.  Stir in shredded chicken heating through.
4.  Prepare a 2 quart casserole dish.  Line the bottom with tortillas.  Spoon 2 cups chicken mixture over tortillas.  Repeat layers twice, ending with chicken mixture.  Sprinkle with cheddar cheese.  Bake at 350* for 30 minutes or until heated through.  Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

This was really good like this.  Sometime I will prepare the chicken mixture and serve it as a chip dip or tortilla filling.  Good and versatile.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I know, I know...

I know you're all disappointed that I haven't been updating my blog.  But ya know what we've been doing?  NOT MUCH!

Kyle did have his birthday and he requested apple pie for dessert, which turned out really well, I must say.  The kids had fun making him cards.  Luke's read:  I love Daddy because...he puts me to bed.  Leta's read: I love Daddy because...I hug my Daddy!

I've started a new Body and Soul session so these past weeks have involved me learning new routines.

Kyle is starting to get his garden planted and finished up his "drip lines".  He has been busy updating his website and adding some new features so there has been much coding filling up his days.

We have been having an unusually  warm spring, ,which is making me nervous for summer and so the kids have been loving getting in lots of outdoor play time.

Leta asks every day, "Who coming?"  She is quite disappointed when the answer is Nobody!

Max can crawl (for real crawl) and pulls up on EVERYTHING and even does a bit of cruising.  He made it onto the 3rd stair the other day before I got him down.  His skills are not advanced enough for stairs!  He is great at pulling up, but doesn't know how to get back down.  The results are usually not good.  He almost always ends up falling and hitting his head.  Cries of pain coming from Max are not unusual at all these days.  It also means he sometimes "gets stuck" pulled up in his crib during nap time and I have to go lay him back down.  In the earlier stages, this resulted in many poor naps, but he seems to be doing better getting down now this past week or so.  He has 6 teeth.

Luke has had more difficulty going to sleep at night.  He will come out 3-4 times with ridiculous excuses.  His foot itches, his forehead itches, he has dry skin on his feet, he needs to blow his nose etc.  He is still taking naps, but I have tweaked it a bit.  Luke and Leta go down for naps around 1:30-1:45, so around 2:45 I'll take a book up to him in his bed.  If he's asleep I wake him and he has rest time with a book until 3:30.

Easy Skillet Lasagna

1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14.5oz) can Italian diced tomatoes, drained
1 (14.5oz) can tomato sauce
1/4 c water
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp salt
1/2 c ricotta cheese
1/2 c mozzarella
2 T Parmesan cheese
6 oz short cut pasta
2 T parsley

1. Brown turkey and onions in a large nonstick skillet.  Add garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, water, basil, salt and pepper.  Cook until it thickens up, about 5 minutes.
2.  Add cooked noodles to the mixture and stir well.  Add  scoops of ricotta over the noodles; add in mozzarella and Parmesan.  Stir in parsley.  Cook about 2 more minutes, or until mixture is thick.

This was SO yummy and fast.  And I bet you're wondering why it's a skillet lasagna when there are no lasagna noodles.  Well.  The original recipe calls for 6 oz of broken up lasagna pieces (broken into 1/3) fully cooked.  And that's what I did.  And it was good.  But NEXT time I make it...forget the lasagna pieces, they were bigger than bite size, and they made a mess when breaking.  It's for sure a great lasagna noodle use up if you're needing that, and if I do have lasagna noodles I need to use up, I'll make it with them instead, but for me?  no mess and no cutting for the kids seems simpler to me.  The original recipe didn't call for any meat...but you know us Soper carnivores!  I had to had some in.  It made a great addition.

This is adapted from the Weight Watchers One Pot cookbook.