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.

At the beginning of June, three friends & I took on a 50 mile relay that started at Mt. Rainier and ended along the waterfront in Tacoma.

Each of these legs bring back a ton of memories.  I was originally assigned legs 1, 5, and 9.  Due to some navigation issues (on my part), buttahcup ran back to back legs (8 & 9) and my last leg was number ten.

Start of the race near Mt Rainier

So pretty!!

The first leg was mine and since my training had been spotty, it made my day that it wasn’t too terribly bad (minus the old couple passing me).  I was close to my expected time for 5 miles and maybe if I hadn’t stopped to take photos… but it was so beautiful!

About a mile into the run

A few miles later

Happy to be finished with my leg, we cheered Robby K as he ran under this bridge.

The muddy path below the bridge… I received many complaints about the muddy trails. So muddy, he lost his shoe at one point. (Karma would get its pay back.)

View from the bridge

Leg 5 was hot but paved and some familiar running territory.

Karma Leg 10. Most of the leg was this sandy trail. At times, the fine sand was hard to run in. The kicker though was the large mud puddle covering the whole trail for about 30 feet. I tried walking up the steep embankment & decided that was the wrong choice. I backed down & tried climbing through a fallen trees branches, slipped in mud and landed knee deep in the mud puddle, horse sh!t and all. Karmic payback.

Team More Cowbell at the finish line.

The relay was so much fun.  Even though we complained about our running legs, the legs in between were a total blast.  It was fun cheering everyone on.  I’m still amazed we ran from Mt Rainier to Ruston Way in Tacoma.  We are already planning on having more teams next year.

It was a good start to this lil challenge especially since I was out of the office for half the week (equals lunch out).  I did cut out sugar minus the dipped cone I had Saturday.  All in all, a good start.

On deck: a 7 day cleanse (mostly fruits & vegetables with a few days of poultry thrown in).  I am refusing to eat tomatoes and if that skews my results, so be it.  The idea alone makes me want to vomit.

Although I abhor the idea, I think a food journal is going to help keep me accountable.  I was shocked to learn this little equation last year & it made me a bit more attentive to what I was eating.

your weight * 15 = # of daily calories to maintain your weight

I will leave you with that thought because I’m sure it will leave you a bit dumbfounded.  And curious to see where all your calories come from.

In January I met a new runner who was training for her first half marathon.  We ended up running together, early Saturday mornings in the cold winter months.  There is a lot you learn about people when you run with them.  Life stories are shared, secrets, hopes & dreams.  Anything to keep your mind off running.

One particularly cold morning, (she was running six miles, I was running ten), we had a conversation about weight.  She believed sharing with other people made her more accountable.  On my run over the bridge, writing a blog post in my head, I was so excited to share my last secret.  When it came time to write the post, I chickened out.  February passed.  March.  April.  May.  Still chicken.

I am not quite ready to share but I have made a compromise.  On Pinterest (I am Niki B – I have some killer boards), I found an idea that will help me realize my goal.  A nice visual picture instead of numbers on a scale.

It goes a lil something like this:

I have two jars: one is full of rocks, the other is empty.  (And apparently my jars are too big because the number of rocks does not look impressive.)  Each rock represents one pound.

the weight I have to lose jar

the weight I’ve lost jar

It would appear I’ve been acting like a kid who just finished school & is going crazy on summer vacation.  Except those weeks of crazy have turned into lazy bones watching back to back episodes of The View & General Hospital.  I need to be more accountable to my goals – I have some big ones!  Some of those goals won’t happen if I keep going down this path.

So, tomorrow morning the challenge begins and it will end on my birthday.  Each Monday I’ll photograph my currently empty jar and post my progress here.  (Sorry for any boredom added to Monday moanings but deal with it.)  Once September hits, I”ll fill up my jar with different rocks & start the challenge again.  I haven’t quite decided what the prize is (because I love winning prizes!).

This is a hard post to write because this race was kind of… boring.  The quick rundown so I can get to the fun stuff!

PROS

  • Great crowd support
  • Beer stop & the best cheerleaders (two years in a row!)
  • Familiar with the last two miles (last mile is downhill)
  • Great race shirts & different shirts for each distance

CONS

  • Boring course through Olympia neighborhoods
  • No medal (received dog tags & a coaster – save money on the coaster & go for the medal)

I can’t imagine running this race again.  It is run well but once you run the course, you are only going back for a course PR.

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.

I was really excited to travel to Big Sur.  Not because there was a race in Big Sur, even if that race is touted as the marathon you should run, if you run only one.  But because I had some beatnik vision of what Big Sur was all about plus a little nonsense about the mystical properties of the area.

What we’ve learned about moi: I am easily influenced by books.

And seriously, when you come across a view like this, how can you not be inspired?

But I digress.  Due to things that sound like excuses (coaching, lack of rest, etc), I opted out of the full marathon.  I had a few feelings about it.  Even though I paid the extra money to be a part of the Runner’s World Challenge, I felt unworthy of taking any part of their service (I think mostly the after race tent & festivities).

Tail between my legs, grabbed my number for the 9 mile race & left the expo.  Even avoiding the runner man extraordinaire, Bart Yasso, who I have wanted to meet since I signed up with Team in Training last spring!  (Maybe he’ll come to the Seattle Marathon in November & I can make up for my blunder!)

And now, for the race…

Standing at the starting line, I wondered why I was there.  I mean, I’d run 7.5 miles two weeks before the race and 13.1 miles a month before that.  I wasn’t training.  In fact, I had done the opposite of train & only played volleyball.

The horn blew & I started to run.  The first mile is always the hardest and this mile was no different.  Reaching a small hill, I stopped to walk as we entered into a neighborhood and the milepost 1 sign.  At the end of the neighborhood, we took a right onto a sandy path with the following view opening up.

GOR-GEOUS!

I ran a little on the sandy path, stopping to take photos here & there.  I finally gave up & decided it wasn’t worth running anymore.  By that, I was stopping so often to take photos, I decided it was better to enjoy the scenery along this course & worry nothing about the race.

The moment I decided to enjoy the view…

After the first milepost, I didn’t see another until I was back on the marathon course and I’m a bit hesitant to believe I walked a nine mile course.  Mostly, because it was the fastest nine miles I ever experienced.  Or maybe, this is what happens when you enjoy the scenery & focus none on the run.

We entered Point Lobos State Park (worth the park admission to see the view!!), was serenaded by an Irish flutist (??) followed by a Scottish bagpiper.  All the while, wondering when I was going to see the next mile marker (I was wearing one day old new shoes).  Point Lobos has been referred as “the greatest meeting of land & water in the world” by landscape artist Francis McComas.  I am not sure I agree 100% but it is not the first time I’ve been intrigued to check out a place based on what someone else said.   (Milford Sound, New Zealand & Rudyard Kipling declaring it the “eighth Wonder of the World” may ring a bell.)

Point Lobos

More Pt Lobos

After the turn around & following my footsteps out of the park, I came face to face with those rare creatures – the marathon runner.  For the last 2-3 miles, I walked along the road as marathoners ran past me.  The runners passing me were in the 3:25:00 – 3:40:00 range.  I was impressed.  Running a hilly course (there is a 2.2 mile hill in the middle), these runners looked so strong.  No shuffling steps.  No ragged breathing.  Minus one leg cramp, they looked as if they had just run one mile.

After seeing the course, I think I may have been a bit premature thinking it was a good first marathon.  And maybe it would have been – who knows.  I do know, I’ll be back.

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on the road