Five More Things About Me

The theme for this week’s Friday Five linkup, hosted by CynthiaCourtney and Mar, is….random! Or, free Friday five.

Since I got some positive responses to last week’s “Five Things About Me” post (thanks for reading & giving feedback!) I thought I’d try another round of it, with a little twist.

Read – Five Books I’m Reading (or Have Recently Read)

  • Live from Mongolia – memoir by Patricia Sexton “from Wall Street Banker to Mongolian News Anchor” – young woman follows her dream to, well, Mongolia. Not as long as I would have liked, and not quite as good as I’d expected, but still pretty good. She does a reasonable job weaving information on Mongolian history and culture in with her story, though I could have done with less of it.
  • Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love – ed. Andrew Blauner ($5 from each copy to The One Fund)
  • Running and StuffJames Adams, British, about his journey into ultrarunning, including running across the US. Right now, only on Kindle. Honest, funny. I’m enjoying this a lot.
  • Overthinking the Marathon and Chasing the Runner’s High by Ray Charbonneau, a runner who writes honestly and pretty well. I read and re-read these in the months leading up to my race. Overthinking the Marathon is my favorite, basically a daily log of his life and training leading up to a goal marathon. I look forward to reading more from Ray, who you may have caught on podcasts recently as he edited The 27th Mile (proceeds to the One Fund). From Ray’s siteThe 27th Mile is an entertaining collection of stories and articles contributed by a wide range of talented writers who run. They’re marathon champions and weekend warriors, ultramarathon racers and fitness joggers, running magazine pros and bloggers, best-selling novelists and indie publishing standouts. All proceeds from sales ofThe 27th Mile go to The One Fund Boston.
  • The Champion’s MindDr. Jim Afrenow – one of several “mental training” books for athletes I read in the last weeks preceding Shamrock. Useful. The author even responded to tweets and gave me advice on what sections to read, as when I got the book I had less than a week to go. (I bought it on Kindle.)

Eat – Five Things I Love Eating

  • Sweet potatoes, garnet or jewel usually. My favorite are the purple inside/purple outside “Stokes” variety that’s not widely available (and not available again until November). I eat one every morning as part of my breakfast, topped with one or more varieties of nut butter.
  • Nut butter (surprise!) You’re either going to love me or hate me for telling you about Fastachi, which has THE most awesome specialty nut butters. It’s not cheap, especially with shipping, but worth it – and a great gift. (their raisins are quite good too, and reasonably priced) Sign up for their newsletter as you get an initial discount code and then they’ll mail out sale/offer info. I buy their pistachio (only place I’ve seen it), walnut, cashew and pecan (which is eye-rolling good and dangerously decadent). Their almond butter is fine, but not worth the price for me. My fave almond butter is Whole Foods chunky, almost impossible to get these days (guess there IS an almond shortage), so I’m liking Maisie Jane’s chunky or creamy. (Fastachi’s  peanut butter was good but DH is the only one who eats pb in the house now, and he’s fine with Smucker’s natural.) I also eat creamy peanut-free Nuttzo, which I didn’t think I’d like because of the hazelnuts, but have become addicted to just like the others. It’s really expensive, especially if you have it shipped, but I like the backstory of its creation and that it supports a good cause. You can often find bloggers with discounts or a sale – I bought 8 jars last time Whole Foods had it on sale as it was almost 50% off. I tend to use walnut/almond on sweet potatoes during the week, saving pecan for post long run or post race. My nightly snack of frozen banana chunks is topped with walnut, pistachio, cashew, almond and Nuttzo.
  • Arctic Zero – this is going to be another “you’ll love me or hate me” for telling you about it. It’s expensive. Available originally in Whole Foods and many other stores (now). It’s kind of like a whey protein shake with fiber, formulated to taste similar to ice cream or ice milk. It’s one of the two exceptions I make to my non-dairy rule (the other being post-run whey protein). I take Lactaid with it just in case, but it’s gluten-free and generally fairly lactose-intolerant friendly. I can’t eat the chocolate flavors anymore, but I used to like chocolate and chocolate pb. My favorite is Vanilla Maple – alone or with fruit or nuts and maybe some Torani sugar free syrup (brown sugar cinnamon is a fave for this purpose). I also enjoy Strawberry, Coffee (quite good) and I’ll eat the Cookies & Cream on occasion (no actual cookies). When they make it – seasonally and not every year – their Pumpkin Spice is a treat. Sometimes I’ll order by the case (8 to a case) to get a discount from the store, but it’s pricey and I can easily eat too much. Did I mention – a pint is only 150 calories and gives you a good dose of protein? My case habit is one of the reasons we bought a chest freezer (along with the specialty frozen meat we order). I didn’t like the bars, the chocolate coating fell off (very messy) and you can eat a whole pint for less calories than two bars.
  • Frozen fruit – strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, mango chunks, banana chunks (I freeze the bananas myself)…. Over the winter we bought frozen in bags from stores. Last year I scored big at a Whole Foods sale on organic blueberries and froze 2 cases worth in plastic bags. I’ll be looking for that kind of sale again, organic, on blueberries and strawberries especially, as I eat some almost every night.
  • Kabocha squash – probably my second favorite veggie/carb after sweet potatoes. I love that you can eat the skin, and I can either top it with nut butter or eat it plain. They can be hard to come by around here (without a trip to a Japanese market half an hour away), so I often buy multiples since they keep for weeks. I’ve found I like the green-skinned better than the orange skinned. I simply scrub, poke a slit or two in it with a knife, and roast in the oven at 450 for at least an hour – or if DH is charcoal grilling, it goes out there. I can tend to forget it’s in the oven and overcook it, which can make it a little liquidy.

Write – Five Writers Whose Work I Enjoy

  • Anna Quindlen – her non-fiction. Similar voices I enjoy: Connie Schultz, Mary Schmich.
  • Anne Lamott – Bird by Bird (of course) but I do enjoy her other non-fiction, generally.
  • Bill Bryson – A Walk in the Woods is my favorite, haven’t read all of his.
  • Tracy Kidder – The Soul of a New Machine is an amazing book, I still have my really old paperback copy.
  • Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files series – and Paul Blackthorne was a perfect Harry in the sorely missed SyFy TV series based on it.

Run – Five Places I’d Like to Run (or Run Again)

  • Chicago’s Lakefront path – Despite growing up mere miles from it, I’ve only run there once, in a women-only race years ago. I’d like to just go for a run along the path, but I’m also looking at ultras held there.
  • Sedona – have run there, in neighborhoods and some trail near Bell Rock. Would like to run more trails there. Similar places might be Zion or Moab.
  • London – not sure where precisely, maybe along the Thames or through a famous park. Definitely would want to do a Parkrun (free weekly 5ks, hear about them on MarathonTalk) They’re starting to happen in the US, right now only 3 exist – including one in Durham, NC – need more people to organize them! I’d also love to meet the MarathonTalk hosts, Tom and Martin. I visited London when I was 10, with my parents (their anniversary trip) and loved it, have always wanted to go back.
  • Hawaii – not sure which island, maybe multiples! Definitely along the water though. I’ve been to Oahu, but would like to go to Maui, Kauai and maybe the Big Island as well.
  • San Francisco or Big Sur – have seen both in Runner’s World “Rave Run” section, haven’t been to either. Running the Golden Gate Bridge would be cool (though I’m not prepared for the hills in SF proper), and Big Sur would be lovely. Maybe someday I’ll do the Boston to Big Sur Challenge!

Visit the hosts’ blogs, read, enjoy – and find the other linkup bloggers at the bottom of their posts


As always, thanks for reading! Leave me feedback in the comments, and reach me via twitter or the contact me form.