Monthly archives: December, 2014

Friday Five – Friday Favorites

Welcome to the Friday Five Linkup, hosted by my blog buds/local tweeps

Cynthia at You Signed Up for What?!,

Courtney at EatPrayRunDC and

Mar at Mar on the Run.

Make sure to stop by their blogs for their picks and hop along to the other bloggers in the linkup, featured at the bottom of their pages!

This week’s topic is Friday Favorites. So many places I could go with this… about some recent favorites, told to you on a Friday?


Running TideJoan Benoit Samuelson‘s memoir (written in the 80s, I’d love an updated version) Also loved “There is No Finish Line” documentary on/with her, parts of it around the 2010 Chicago Marathon.

Older, Faster, Stronger: What Women Runners Can Teach Us All About Living Younger, LongerMargaret Webb I’ve read it twice through now, and you can barely see the pages for the tape flags. Hoping my schedule allows me to hear her speak when she’s in town on tour. Also looking forward to the videos she’s going to post with some of the folks mentioned in the book. If you’re a Masters female (or close to it), I recommend this book!


Cranberry-orange relish and kale/butternut/cranberry salad, both from Whole Foods. I have two portions of the kale salad frozen for later enjoyment, and I’m already on my second container of relish, which I’m putting on my turkey sandwiches, on bread in place of jam…who knows what else I’ll do with it. I expect to keep eating it as long as they keep making it for the season (at least until we go to Arizona anyway).

cranberry relishes

cranberry relishes

kale, butternut squash, cranberry salad

kale, butternut squash, cranberry salad

And of course, kabocha! I think I’ll have eaten 4 kabocha all by myself from last Saturday through this Friday.

6 more kabocha!

6 more kabocha!

more kabocha

more kabocha


I enjoyed writing my Gratitude post last week. It made me think (hopefully it made you think too). I’d like to do more posts that aren’t necessarily running-related or linkups. Still working out ideas.


I’ve had a couple of good runs this week, surprising myself in this 3rd week post-Richmond. One was after a night where I was awake for hours with stomach pain, the other on a morning I was groggy and a little sore (from some melatonin taken to help me sleep and from the earlier runs in the week, respectively). I’m so happy with those runs – both my physical performance and my mental performance – though it always takes me “too long” to get started in the morning. (always something to work on!) I was buoyed by the goodness of my run for the rest of the day.

What are some of your recent favorite things?

Tagged – I Mustache You Some Questions

I’d been minding my own business, enjoying what I learned about people from the “Mustache” questions being bounced around, when lo and behold, I got tagged by Kassandra!

Four names that people have called me, other than my real name:
1. Cassandra – predictor of doom who was never listened to (in my project manager days)
2. Suzy – what my mom’s dad called most of the female granddaughters, whether it was our name or not
3. Penelope – what my dad suggested my parents name me
4. Speedy – what my chiro sometimes calls me

Four jobs I have had:
1. Page (person who shelves books in a library)
2. Secretary/Office Manager
3. Restaurant Manager
4. Bank Teller

Four movies I’ve watched more than once:
1. The Abyss
2. Raiders of the Lost Ark
3. Spirit of the Marathon
4. Star Wars (the original)

Four books I’d recommend:
1.  What I Talk About When I Talk About Running – Haruki Murakami
2.  Until I Say Goodbye: My Year of Living with Joy – Susan Spencer-Wendel
3.  Bird by Bird – Anne Lamott
4.  Mile Markers – Kristin Armstrong

Four places I have lived:
1.  Oak Park, Illinois
2.  Houston, Texas
3.  Morgantown, West Virginia
4.  Alexandria, Virginia

Four places I have been:
1. Sedona, Arizona (multiple times)
2. Oahu (twice, in the 80s)
3. London, England (with my parents, as a child)
4. Boulder, Colorado (for work a few years ago)

Four things I don’t eat:
1. Tomatoes
2. Onions
3. Peppers
4. Liver

Four of my favorite foods (not on my current eating plan):
1. My mom’s (or great-grandma’s) chicken and dumplings
2. My mom’s baklava
3. My mom’s Spritz cookies
4. Toast – pretty much any bread, store-bought, homemade, whatever grain, cinnamon raisin, etc.

Four TV shows that I watch (in no particular order):
1.  Elementary
2.  Grimm
3.  White Collar
4.  Madam Secretary

Four things I am looking forward to in 2015:
1. Running my first Boston Marathon!!!!
2. Other races I’m not ready to talk about yet
3. Getting faster and stronger as a runner and possibly going longer distances
4. Making new friends and maybe meeting online friends

Four things I’m always saying:
1. Well, yeah….
2. No worries
3. I can’t remember what I was going to say.
4. Seriously?!

I don’t want to limit the fun to just four more people, so if you’ve read this far, consider yourself tagged!

Almost Wordless Wednesday

I love kale. I love kale chips with nutritional yeast (fake salt & vinegar), I love “greenola” of kale clusters with nuts, dried fruit, spices and coconut, and recently I discovered a great kale salad with sautéed kale, diced butternut squash, dried cranberries and parsley. I also love pumpkin spice, and I like sea salt and caramel quite a lot.

Yet, to this, I must say: NO. Just wrong. (and at $5.50 per package, I’m not even going to try it just in case….)

kale done wrong

kale done wrong

Weekend Update – Thanksgiving 2014

This post is part of Tara’s Weekend Update linkup – check out her site to see what everyone’s been up to! 

I’m including the Thanksgiving holiday (in the US) and the day after (took leave from work) in this weekend update, just because. In case you missed it over the weekend, here’s my post on gratitude.

Now 2 weeks post-Richmond, and (gulp) 4 weeks until my ultra. 20 weeks to Boston. Training starts NOW. Welcome to December!


Thurs – 7 recovery pace miles. Started to do some of my leg strength exercises for the first time post-race.

Fri – XT day – convinced myself not to run and wasn’t going to go to the pool. Bike, core, Whartons.

Sat – 10.5mi, recovery pace. Still think I’m feeling the race in my legs. Could also be feeling my carb cutback (only having sweet potatoes on rare occasions, the last 2 Saturdays and on Thanksgiving) though ate kabocha M-W. Could also be the new shoes I’ve been trying since Wed. The men’s Adrenaline 13s still seem to be working (though heavier – in newest model, 2 ounces heavier per shoe! and feeling a bit different) so I ordered 2 more pair I found online. DH suggests I use them as training shoes and save the women’s Adrenaline 13s I have for racing. (I’ve also ordered probably 8 pair of other shoes, multiple models, genders and sizes, to try.)

Spent some time during the run staring at the Boston course profile I have taped to the treadmill (soon to be joined by the spreadsheet of grade changes) and thinking about how to adjust my December runs to train for Boston rather than the ultra. The reason I’m thinking of doing this is because – with only 4 weeks to go – I don’t think there’s much I can do to improve my time at the ultra, but I may be able to get some good early hill training in for Boston. I’m trying to make my goals for the ultra: #1 “don’t do anything to affect Boston training or race”, #2 “finish”, #3 “finish feeling pretty decent, with a smile”, #4 “finish in my secret time goal”. #4 is the least important and will be the first to get tossed.

So, I’m thinking of doing more hill work not only during the week as I’d planned (doing a McMillan hill module), but during my long runs, even if they wind up being not as long. I can run Sat and Sun and get more hills in, start building those muscles and getting used to running hills when tired, and probably still help myself a bit for the ultra. I’ll just consider the ultra as an “over-distance” training run for Boston, something I know some runners find helpful, like Ray Charbonneau.

Sun – 10 mile recovery pace run. No idea how I conned myself through it! Interesting to watch myself going back and forth (multiple times) in a matter of seconds between “I can go longer” and “I want to stop now”. Listened to Larisa Dannis and The North Face Preview show with Mike Wardian on URP.


Thursday (Thanksgiving) – After my run and a quick breakfast, DH & I decided to head into DC and visit some of the Smithsonian museums that were open on the holiday (and free, thank you James Smithson and all the Smithsonian staff). Though we weren’t the only ones with the idea, it wasn’t too crowded and we found street parking. We had a lovely time, walked a lot.

We saw a terrific nature photo exhibit at the Natural History Museum (recommend, it’s there through April – I’ll be sharing photos in weeks to come)

photo exhibit poster

photo exhibit poster

photography award explanation

photography award explanation

Stopped by the Botanic Garden (but didn’t wait in line for the holiday exhibit/trains, we’ll do that when it’s dark) where I learned that the flowers on grapefruit trees smell much like plumeria which I adore.

grapefruit flowers

grapefruit flowers

grapefruit flowers


grapefruit flowers up close

grapefruit flowers up close

And made a stop by the Smithsonian carousel, which has special meaning to me and DH. We rode it, and I chose a Boston-themed horse!

my Boston-themed carousel horse

my Boston-themed carousel horse

Then we came home and ate mid-afternoon. What did we have? If you’re really interested, it was all takeout! I would get all of the items again and may try to make the salad myself (and bought more cranberry-orange relish on Sunday).

smoked turkey (leftovers Friday, rest frozen)

roasted brussels sprouts (leftovers Friday, rest frozen)

and these yummies (leftovers Friday, rest of kale frozen, finished the cranberry conserve/relish Sunday)

kale, butternut squash, cranberry salad

kale, butternut squash, cranberry salad

cranberry relishes

cranberry conserve/relish

We chatted with family on the phone, went for another walk, and watched some TV.

Friday – Did some laundry and a fair amount of holiday decorating, plus taking another walk.

Saturday – DH had migraine so I was on my own all day/evening. Got my run in. Then roasted kabocha which was so yummy I ate 2/3 – 3/4 of one!

more kabocha

more kabocha

Also read Runner’s World, made a trip to the store for more kabocha (since I ate so much) and some other items, and worked on this blog post. Enjoyed leftovers while watching “There is No Finish Line” with/about Joan Benoit Samuelson, one of my heroes, inspirations and role models. (I started researching travel to Beach to Beacon…..I want to run it.) I’m also reading her book Running Tide.

Sunday – After my 10 miler, had an early massage at 10:45! Went way better than I’d expected for being less than an hour after I stopped running. Felt quite good after, though I’ve stiffened up now from sitting. Read Running Times, got further behind on blog reading. Drafted at least the run part of my training plan for Boston. Gives me a scared feeling in the pit of my stomach. Going be tough, given I need to work on both hills and speed. But it’s in pencil so I can be smart and adjust. Might as well be ambitious at the start, right?

Leftovers for dinner, TV and to bed to start the new week!

This coming week promises some “weather whiplash”, starting above 60, with several days of rain (ice pellets for my Tues chiro appt!) before moving progressively back down into highs in the 40s/50s next weekend. I’m not a fan of this type of see-saw as it irks my allergies and I think more people wind up sick (meaning more people I have to politely tell to respect my personal space bubble). Monday and Wednesday are office days, T/Th telework.

Friday, I get my first bone density scan. I’ll be interested to see the results, though I’m a little nervous given my Dad’s severe osteoporosis, my surgery-induced hypocalcemia (though last test had me just above the bottom of the normal range, first time in YEARS, despite giving up dairy! maybe because??) and my high-risk due to being a Caucasian female ectomorph, age 48.

On the offsetting side is running, which should help at least the lower body. The ankle tests I’ve done (through work) have always come back pretty good. I do wonder if I’ll get info on muscle/fat as well (as mentioned in Older, Faster, Stronger when the author and others have DEXA scans). May call doc or hospital to ask if so, or if it can be added. Not sure what the insurance would think of that though.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving (if you celebrated) and weekend! Please tell me about it in the comments.