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I love taking photos.  It is incredibly convenient to use my phone because it’s always within reach.  I have several photo apps on my phone but I only consistently use Instagram.  The problem is that everything on Instagram is square – do you know how hard it is to find frames for square photos?  (Note to frame makers: get on board!)

Check out the new apps I’ve added this week.

Gig Harbor – the original photo

the Instagram version

My new favorite app – Big Lens – you can change a photo to HDR in the “editing” room instead of prior to taking a photo. Photo love!

Picture Magic – negative filter.

Picture Magic – painting filter

Photo Effect Studio (PE Studio)

Pixlr-o-matic

Picture Frame + Phonto: The beauty of picture frame is you can adjust the frame size but there are so many options – you may not need it. Before I was using picture stitch – not nearly as many options & not nearly as flexible. Phonto allows you to add text to photos.

Big Lens – $0.99
Phonto – free
PicFrame – $0.99
Instagram – free
Pixlr-o-matic – free
PE Studio – free

All these apps are for the iphone – unsure if they also work for droid.  There are some overlapping filters between the apps but there are also other additions – different layers you can add to a photo.  I love how easy creating photos has become.  I remember working in the dark room; it wasn’t nearly as easy to get some of these filters.  And then it was a lot of hit & miss.  You may go through a dozen of attempts before you reached the perfect photograph.

Happy photo editing!!

Point Defiance has long been one of my favorite running spots.  Early weekend mornings, a portion of the loop is closed to cars and the whole section of road is free for runners, cyclists & long boarders to use.  And if you’re lucky, you may run to the cadence of monkey laughter because the zoo sits at the entrance.  Where else can you run (without fear) and have a hungry tiger licking his chops as you pass by?

Running by lounging water buffalo

Or a family of raccoons… who will sit pretty in a row along the road waiting for handouts. (DON’T DO IT!)

Early summer morning fog (good fishing??)

The sun & the trees make my heart pitter pat

Early morning light along the back stretch

Fall at the park

Cannot wait for fall running!

the ferry from owens beach

more ferry from Vashon Island

Summer running

Every season in the park

I am currently reading 14 Minutes: A Running Legend’s Life & Death & Life.  I came across this passage last night & it resonated with me – minus the high level distance runner part.

“I don’t want to misrepresent the nature of high-level distance running.  Along with pain & effort, the sacrifice, and the sense of self-loathing that arrives when you fail to perform to your own expectations, the sport is also a tremendous amount of fun.  Actually, “fun” is way too pallid a word.  The sense of exhileration you feel when you’re riding your pain, when after long & exacting work you’ve become pain’s master rather than its servant, is almost indescribable.

Often these peak moments arrive during training rather than in competition.  Maybe you’re running a series of 10 x 800-meter repeats in which each step is run faster than the previous one.  At the end of the sixth rep, you know you’re maxed out, that you can’t possibly run the next two laps around the track any faster or harder.  But after your minute’s rest, you throw yourself into the next rep & something happens by the backstretch of the first lap, some instinctive switch gets flipped.  You reach the edge that you intellectually know you can’t go past, but instead of easing back from the edge, you find yourself taking one small step over it.  That step is terrifying at first; any rational person would move away from the edge.

But a runner born, like the Kenyan or Ethiopian athletes, or a runner made, the kind that I was, learns to move toward it.  over time, you even learn to welcome it and then eventually you crave it.  What you assumed to be your ceiling actually forms your floor.  You look in the mirror & feel better about the person you see.  All you can think about is running back to the edge, and moving one more step beyond it.  You are moving on pure will.  The journey to the edge become intoxicating; dangerously so.”

A lil inspiration…

A few years ago my co-worker told me her uncle was running from the Canadian border in a 200 mile relay.  At the time, I thought the idea was insane, preposterous… unbelievable.

That was all before I was exposed to the world of running.

And this weekend, I will be joining a group of strangers (soon to be friends) for the same crazy adventure.  This adventure starts tomorrow!  Holy running shoes Batman!  I’m sure like all adventures, they seem like they are far in the distant future and then BAM!: one finds oneself on the eve of fun.

I’m part of Team Long Distance Relay-tionship. Click on the photo to meet my teammates.

I’m not ready!  I’m training ready but I am not packed.  I don’t even know what you bring or what you pack your stuff in.  Is a weekend bag enough or should I pull out my trekking backpack?  Do I need a sleeping bag?  Blanket?

If you’re on twitter you can follow us at #RagnarLDR or #RagnarNWP.  I will also try to update twitter.

Some logistics:  our first van starts at 8a on Friday morning.  I’m in van #2.  We are estimated to finish running 190 miles by 1:15p on Saturday afternoon.  Sixteen hours of insanity.

Leg 10 – my first leg is 3.1 miles. I start around 3:40p on Friday.

Leg 22: 4.8 miles at 12:58 a.m. on Saturday. This is way past my bedtime! And I have to run 4.8 miles in the dark! (I can’t lie, kinda stoked.)

And my last leg #34: 5.8 miles around 11a on Saturday morning.

So there you have it!  Let the insanity begin!

Strangely, my 21 day caveman transition is over.  And strangely because it seemed to go by quickly.  The first week was the hardest but after the carb flu induced sleepiness & the cravings subsided, it seemed easy sailing.  The good news is over that 21 day period, I lost 18 pounds.  Going forward, I will continue to avoid sugar & grains with the occasional cheat meal.  And I am no longer going to feel bad about eating leafy greens.  After seeing a Vegan food pyramid’s bottom layer of leafy greens, I’ll keep my salads.

As for the new fruit & veggie taste test challenge, I’ve tried the following new fruits: kiwi, black plum, raspberries, blackberries & anjou pear.  New Veggies: red, orange & yellow bell peppers, daikon, zucchini, eggplant & portobello mushroom (fungus, whatever).  I had a violently physical reaction to raspberries & blackberries & will NEVER try them again.  The eggplant, zucchini & mushroom were grilled – verdict is still out on their raw counterparts.  I did find a veggie I liked cooked: grilled romaine lettuce.  Maybe cheater, but it was fantastic.

Other than caveman, I have been working on my “Christmas in July” projects.  It is going much more slowly than I imagined but I am really enjoying the process.  Although, I think everyone on my list knows what they will receive from me this year.  C’est la vie.  I have rediscovered my love for all things graphic design & am happy this project has brought me back to it.  Small peek at my 1st almost completed gift…

I also love it will look like I have a small store when I finish with all my items. What girl didn’t play store when they were little?

Last but not least, I’ve found my running stride again.  Mostly in part to a dear runner friend.  (She needs a nickname!)  I am not sure I would be as disciplined with my long runs had she not been running by my side.  And the long weekend runs have been fantastic lately (minus the one I didn’t eat).  We’re conquering hills a few weeks ago we were running only half way up.  Taking a running break has perhaps been the best thing I could have done this year.

I will be ending this week running Ragnar – stoked beyond belief – and will share a bit more about the race Wednesday.

Scrolling through craftgawker (another obsession!), I found a recipe for hard boiled eggs – minus the boil.  I was excited to try this because I love hard boiled eggs but making them is not all that easy.  Let them boil for 20 minutes… does that mean when it starts to boil?  Or when it comes to a rolling boil?  And you know what they say about a watched pot…

When I came across this recipe, I was excited.  I could put the eggs in the oven for 30 minutes & do other things.  No more watched pots.  And since I am no longer able to bake things with my mini-muffin pan, this is a great substitute.

I baked them for 30 minutes at 325º F.  It was recommended to test one egg but I decided to go all or nothing.  After baking, I placed them in an ice bath for 10 minutes.  The original blog stated baked “hard boiled” eggs are creamier than the boiled eggs and the egg white is not as greasy.

And then there was the taste test… a total success!

I’m ecstatic about this lil find & totally recommend it to everyone else – especially if you like to make deviled eggs.  And since I love deviled eggs, my next food project may be to make my own mayonnaise.

Can you ever have too many eggs?

Last Monday, I transitioned to a paleo diet – what I lovingly refer to as caveman.  Basically, if a caveman could eat it, I can.  The flow chart (I can’t remember where I found it!) does a great job clarifying what is good or bad.

Maybe my lunch buddies would disagree, but I didn’t have a hard time with the transition until Friday at lunch (un-hungry!).  I seemed to want everything I couldn’t have including foods I don’t normally lean towards.

Besides the fact most crossfit addicts swear by caveman, I was also drawn to this because it stated I would not always be hungry.  Let’s fact it: cavemen didn’t have three meals a day.  In addition, I would still have energy to do stuff.  Case in point: Wednesday, I ate lunch but not dinner & was able to play two hours of volleyball without hunger pains.  (And I played well!)

I’m hooked for that reason alone – as long as I can have the occasional crème brûlée.  Dinner is my BIGGEST obstacle.  I don’t always have time between work and practice or playing or running or …n to make dinner.

After seven days, cutting out sugar & grains, my jar is a lil fuller.

It has been declared I have a very limited fruit & veggie list.  In addition to this 21 day caveman diet, I must try a new fruit or veggie every day.

To date
1. red plum
2. cucumber
3. nectarine
4. snow pea
5. blueberries
6. japanese pear

I’ve tried some of these before but I don’t gravitate towards them like spinach or apples.  To further my fruit & veggie agenda, I must continue to eat the ones I can tolerate.  So far, the only one I will never try again is the nectarine.  I am going to have a hard time with the stone fruits.

I’ve been a bit MIA but it has not been due to lack of things to share.  Quite the opposite.  I have too much to share but not enough time.  I really did believe I would have more time after the volleyball season.

A very quick overview:

  • Walked Capital City Half Marathon in the rain.  The only consolation is less of a downpour than the previous year.  It is probably my last year running Capital City Marathon events.  (More on that in the next week!)
  • I paid my deposit to run Ragnar Relay: Northwest Passage: 190 mile relay starting at the Canadian border to Whidby Island with a group of 12 people.  Stoked doesn’t even begin to describe it.  Especially, since last weekend…
    _
  • …I ran a 50 mile relay with three other crazy runner friends.  We started at Mt. Rainier (Carbonado) and took turns running to Ruston Way in Tacoma.  I cannot even begin to share how cool it is to think my team ran the distance between the two.  (Much more to come on this event.  Too many stories to share!)
  • My happy place this afternoon: Taking on the Bermuda Challenge is on my race wishlist.  Airfare has been $627 from Seattle for the past six months.  (Pathetic, I know.)  This morning, I received a fare alert for $334.  Round trip!  I couldn’t drive cross country for $334 in gas.  My happy place for the last 4 hours has been pink sandy beaches and turquoise water.  This trip is going to be better than running because I will be a certified diver.  Does a vacation get better than running & diving?  Add in pool time & a Dark & Stormy – SOLD.

There are a few other interesting stories to share as well but I’m totally lost daydreaming about a hammock in the Atlantic Ocean.

Yesterday, someone asked what my plans were for the weekend.  I shrugged & said I was running a half marathon.  I realized later how strange that sounded, even to my ears.

Because once, a half marathon seemed like an impossible distance.  And although I won’t be running the entire half this weekend (my training has been sporadic at best), the allure of running thirteen miles has diminished.  Don’t get me wrong: I have many improvements to make at this distance.  But the scary part – the impossible part – is no longer there.

What makes this weekend better:

1. buttahcup will be running her first full marathon.  I can’t wait to congratulate her on joining an even smaller number of people who run this distance.  (Something crazy like the 1% of the 1%.)

2. The infamous Robby K is running his first half marathon this weekend & has a goal time of 85 minutes.  For those non-math wiz’s – that is a 6:45 minute mile!  For 13.1 miles!  This race is big for several reasons – one reason which he thinks is not as important.  He is not a planner.  All his past races, his modus operandi is to sign up the morning of the race.  So, for him to sign up months in advance and put in the training is a bigger accomplishment than just crossing the finish line.  He has his eye on a BQ this year (in his 1st or 2nd marathon).

I can’t wait to hear their stories!

3. A few of my TNT girls are heading to Portland this weekend to run the inaugural Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon.  Part of me wishes I was joining them because these girls are top notch & really, some of the most inspirational girls I know.

Wishing everyone swift feet & great weather this weekend!  And if you’re not running, I’ll wish you fair skies.

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on the road