Saturday, April 30, 2011

planning sunday's lunch or dinner--haven't decided which...

Last week I suggested that we dine in on Sundays as part of a way to enjoy dining at home. Last week's Sunday meal was successful--grilled ham, pineapple, peppers, corn and mushrooms with au gratin potatoes. I tested some of my culinary limits and succeeded. Yes, I can slice potatoes thin without chopping a finger or two off.
While enjoying said meal, I casually mentioned my hope of creating this custom. I figure as long as I have meals planned, they will support it.
I enjoy roasted eggplant and was inspired while perusing a local market earlier in the week. And, I have used an eggplant recipe on numerous occasions that I enjoy. I found it in the Moosewood Cookbook. I know it is great and believe that I can execute the recipe without too much effort.
Instead of relying on past recipes, I decided to consider other options. I googled eggplant recipes and found many ideas. And, we already have mint, thyme, parsley. I wanted to incorporate those ingredients if at all possible. Moreover, I know how much tomatoes are an asset in this house. Finding a recipe that could blend them all would be ideal.
After checking out a few recipes, I returned to the smitten kitchen where I had found the israeli cous cous recipe from the other day. I liked what they recommended and wanted to see what other goodies they offered.
I found a recipe that they adapted from Giada. They had made improvements to the original recipe. It was funny how many people had commented on her lack of flavor. Agreed, they enjoyed watching her perform the recipes, but were disappointed in how bland most of her creations are.
Regardless, I am looking forward to seeing how it all comes together. Apparently, eggplant does not make for the most beautiful dish. If it tastes good; well, I am sure the appearance can be overlooked.
I will shop tomorrow for lovely tomatoes, eggplant and garlic. I believe everything else can be found within the pantry. Well, wine will be purchased too. How else can I prepare a meal without sampling wine?

Friday, April 29, 2011

longing for the beach

Happy Friday~

I am dreaming of the beach. Miss the tranquility, peace and endless amounts of time to reflect on life.

Maybe I will convince my friends that I should return for a brief stopover visit. That could work.

Yes, I think that is what I will try to do. I want to capture more moments of beauty with my elph. Last month, I thought my camera was broke. Super bummed. I asked a few friends to look at it. I had tried to fix it myself by adjusting the lens, turning it off/on, taking the battery out with no luck. My friend, Jeremy, looked at it and suddenly it was functional again. I have no idea what he did or how he adjusted it. I am thankful that he fixed it. At least for now.

I am not ready to find another camera. My elph accompanied around the world and continues to capture moments of my life. Destinations, food, friends and wine seem to be part of most of my photos.

I miss the beach and street fare. Although I did find a place that sated that need earlier in the week. Pastor tacos with cilantro and pineapple. Yummy!

Yes, I miss the beach. Maybe a return trip is possible~

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dinner number five....

My friends dine out--a lot. I have known this for as long as we have been friends. How could I not? I mean, I have spent numerous meals with them. Italian, mexican, pub fare. You name it...we have experienced it.
I love visiting them. I do. It's just that, sometimes, I enjoy making a meal at home. I will admit it. I like homecooked meals. In the past, they have grilled chicken and vegetables. A nice change and something they like to do. I am not a grill person, yet. I prefer testing my skills in the kitchen. And, I am learning that I like to prepare meals and expand my culinary knowledge.
Thankfully, my friends are willing to explore that option. They let me experiment hoping that it will taste decent. I ply them with alcohol--beer--and pray that the fare will be suitable.
They have every possible gadget available. Yes, cooking in their kitchen is delightful. We started with Easter dinner and it has continued until tonight. We have enjoyed salad, bruschetta, tomatoes and an array of dips with bread. Light fare and ideal for this weather.
Tonight, I offered to make oven roasted tomatoes. I love tomatoes and oven roasted tomatoes are the best. I can eat them as is. No other condiment, starch, or pasta is necessary. Yet, since it is supposed to be a meal, I looked into what would accompany the tomatoes. Cous cous, mint, parsley, kalamata olives and olive oil. In theory, it sounds appealing. I am hoping that I am capable of creating a wonderful dish. My friends can be picky and I want them to want to dine at home. Enjoy their lovely space and dining room table.
I am feeling more confident in the arena of the kitchen. I am interested in expanding my knowledge. Maybe take a cooking class. That might work. If only I had paid more attention to Brian while he was making us dinner. Instead, I filled up our wine glasses and waited for whatever wonderful creation he made for us. Too much wine and not enough watching. I took it for granted. Brian loved making us dinner. I miss that along with many other things that I miss about my life with Brian.
I did retain some knowledge. Pour more wine, enjoy life and good food. Yes, food continues to unite us all. I need to return to the tomatoes to make sure that this evening is a success.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

another favorite

Another recent favorite--fish tacos discovered while visiting Eugene, Oregon.

Two of my sisters live there and fortunately, I have been able see them this year. They like food but tend to prefer more tex-mex mexican. Jade's favorite place, Chapala, is good, but I like more authentic fare.

I walked into this restaurant with my friend, Jeremy. He has a few places that he frequents in his neighborhood. Jarro Azul is a place that we checked out on an earlier visit. I enjoyed it and was, in fact, looking forward to trying another dish there. We walked over to it and it was closed.


At this point, Jeremy suggested a soul food place, a pub, or there was another mexican restaurant but they would not offer margaritas. It was soda, juice or water only. I was interested in the soul food but intrigued by the mexican place. Drinks could wait.

I told Jeremy that we could enjoy drinks post lunch. I was really in the mood for mexican food.

The restaurant was located next to a carniceria that was owned by the restaurant. Jeremy raved about the carne asado tacos because of the carniceria.

I was in the mood for fish tacos and so that is what I ordered. They had photos of their offerings instead of a printed up menu.

There was a salsa bar with pico de gallo, limes, and four different salsas. I really enjoyed the salsas.

Simple fare and delicious. I have been on a mexican food kick for the last few months. I love it. There is a movie, Tampopo, about a man's search for the perfect noodle in Japan. I feel like I am on a quest to find the ultimate mexican restaurant. There are too many options out there. I am enjoying the idea of it and love all of the homemade tortillas--yum.

Still, it is super excessive and I do take breaks from it. I must. Otherwise, I might have to start a fitness regime blog to take off all of the weight. Moderation is the key.

Next time, in Eugene, I will definitely seek this place out again. I wish I knew the name of it. I remember it was in an orange building, on a corner, next to the carniceria. That helps, right?

Monday, April 25, 2011

daily reminder

Trying to remember to enjoy life.

Inspired by my recent footprints in the sand.

Messy, unperfect, but motivating nonetheless.

Yes, I am committed to this saying.

What inspires you? What are you thankful for?

Easter dinner

Easter lunch=successful venture.
And, possibly a new trend for my friends to try. Sunday lunches at home.
I love my friends and have known them since 99. We met when I was a bartender at a pub in Arizona. For whatever reason, we started meeting outside of the brewery at other bars and eventually restaurants, holidays and vacations. They have known me through success and hardship and remained supportive. Encouraging, even, of my nonsensical impulsive decisions.
As long as we have been friends, I have noticed a few things about them. They prefer to dine out exclusively. Rarely, if ever, do they eat at home.
A few times over our ten + year friendship, we have grilled at their home. Few and far between the meals enjoyed at restaurants.
Yesterday, being Easter, I suggested making a home cooked meal. Her husband was all for it. He would pick up a ham. They already had this gorgeous pineapple that we could grill and I suggested grilling vegetables. Jan wanted au gratin potatoes. I looked on-line and they consulted a few cookbooks. They had a recipe that they liked and so I opted to use that cookbook.
We cleared the table. Gorgeous table that is covered with items--books, bills, flowers. Like I said, they rarely dine at home. The table is beautiful when available for dining.
All, in all, the meal was delicious. The asparagus was too stringy; but otherwise, I loved the pineapple, grilled mushrooms and peppers. I even liked the ham.
The potatoes were fine. I think I would doctor up the recipe to improve upon it. More garlic and onions, less milk.
Afterwards, we sat outside of their massive patio and contemplated life. I suggested making their Sundays a tradition of utilizing their home. They have other family here and wanted to have them over. I recommended a rotating Sunday dinner guest. That way, they could experiment with cooking and work their way up to incorporating more people.
I think they might take a cooking class to spruce up their options. Yes, easter lunch was a success. Great way to illustrate how cooking at home can be simple and delightful.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter

Happy Easter!

This is the only visual of spring that seemed suitable. Taken a year ago at an amazing NYC eatery that will remain anonymous. Let's just say, I have blogged about him and this dish a few times. It was that decandent!


I believe we are grilling pineapple, red peppers, asparagus and ham to celebrate.

street fare

Yummm...more street fare delightfulness.

Derek, my foodie friendly tour guide in Mexico, directed us to this location while in the process of tracking down the ultimate burrito. Yes, we found a few of them, too. More on that later.

After a day of kayaking, ATV'ing and drinking cheap mexican beer, I desperately needed food. Up until that point, I had dined in numerous tourist friendly places. Jonny does not love food the way that I do. Meaning, I had eaten too many meals of bland uninspired food.

Derek, however, does. I had chatted him up on several occasions about the food that I was interested in. He had offered to take me to the burrito place, one night, but the time got away from us and I settled for a salad. Hit the spot, but left me unsatisfied. Salad is a poor substitute for homemade tortillas, beans, avocado delight.

We found "the" place with the best burritos and headed back towards my friend's house. Derek took a quick detour to show me the best taco. Pork and pineapple yumminess.

It was excellent. We were the only diners and so we could completely focus on the process of making the taco. They were accompanied by cilantro, pico de gallo and limes. We washed it down with a real coca cola. I have not had a soda in years and it tasted perfect. They were so good that we ordered two more. I loved the flavor combination.

The burritos were exceptional, too. Machaca and carne asado. Yes, I was in foodie heaven. Finally, a meal worth the calories.

Of course, I was thankful for my am run and the kayaking. Otherwise, I would have had more guilt associated with the food consumption.

There was another burrito place near my friend's house. We passed it each time we drove out of their neighborhood. Always had cars and I thought--why not? I am sure it is good.

My last morning before heading out for a hike, we stopped for a burrito. Beef, avocado and tortilla. Simple. Served with a grilled jalapeno and a baggy of pico de gallo. Yes, it was excellent and I regretted my choice to not check it out on my own. Next time, I will venture out more to experience the street fare.

Grateful for the tour guide and his love of food. I saw a side of Mexico that I might have missed otherwise.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

fish or shrimp tacos

Shrimp tacos. Another favorite.

Inspired by my summer in Guadalajara.

School has some odd demands or so I tried to convince myself while avoiding the language requirement.

In high school, I took latin. Foolish. I felt it would aid me once I attended law school. About three weeks into college, I knew that law school would not be in my future. It was not a fit for me. I think it truly disappointed both of my parents; but, I was happy.

Back to the food factor, eventually, I completed a year of spanish. Going five times a week at 8:30 in the morning was not appealing. If there was a way to finish said requirement in a few months, wouldn't that be preferable?

My friend, Jean, and I signed up for study abroad and headed to Guadalajara, Mexico, for two months. We stayed with a host family that provided meals every day but Friday night-Sunday lunch. For those meals, we were on our own which did not bother us since we wanted to travel around Mexico anyways. For weekend we stayed in Guadalajara since they thought we all had mono. It was a false alarm which forced us to stay quarantined in our host families' houses. Yuck! I think she made us hot dogs that Sunday night.

Anyways, there was a fish taco stand on the way to the bus that we took to get us to school. We would walk by the bus, daily, and wonder about the fish tacos. Never curious enough to try one until the week before we returned to the States.

Fish tacos are delightful. I loved them and still do.

I visited a friend of mine who is living off grid. Full on, RV lifestyle. I support him and his decision to pursue this type of life. It wouldn't work for me, but not everything can fit for everyone.

I spent a few days in Yuma, AZ, and we crossed the border into Mexico.

I parked my car with fear that it would be gone when we returned to it. I had my bike attached and so yes, I felt that it was out of place, somewhat.

We walked around and were approached by multiple people inquiring if we wanted dental work. Apparently, this is a huge thing in Mexico. We declined and found a restaurant. Aron had been there before and felt confident that I would also enjoy the fare.

I did. It was great. Who isn't happy with chips/salsa and beer? The restuarant was full of tourists (mostly) and we listened to the band sing random mexican and american songs.

Aron wanted his shoes shined and from previous visits knew that they charged one dollar. He had two pairs shined while I continued to enjoy the ambiance.

I did fully enjoy the meal/experience. We walked back towards my car with me secretly praying that it would be there, unscathed. It was.

I drove to the line to cross the border. I think we could have walked faster. An hour and 45 minutes later and we were in the States.

The shrimp tacos was worth it. I hope you can appreciate the photo, too...



Perfect meal any time of the day. Who isn't inspired by a cheese enchilada topped with an over easy egg?

Pure bliss is what I would call this meal/experience.

I found this gem of a place back in 2000 while living in Phoenix. My friends agreed to celebrate my birthday at the restaurant of my choice. Being difficult, I demanded, that we must go to this restaurant and only at their central Phoenix location. I wanted the cantina part of the experience in addition to the mariachis. The Mesa location would not cut it. It seemed to mainstream and the ambiance severely lacked.

The Phoenix location was an inspiration.

My friends agreed, begrudgingly, at first. I mean, we were heading into the hood. Would it be safe?

Her husband picked me up and we met her at the place. While waiting we enjoyed a few pitchers of margaritas and snacked on the hottest salsa. It was a Wednesday and the place was packed. I think we waited for a table for three for over an hour. Kept drinking margaritas and enjoying life.

Finally, we were seated and we ordered food. I think at that point in my life, I was a fan of carne adovado or a tamale plate. Who knows? I am sure that it was excellent.

Fairly certain, I convinced the mariachis to sing the ....canta, no llores song while eating the fare.

They paid the tab and we left. I left loving that restaurant and knowing that it would always be a fave in my book.

My friends left surprised that we made it safely out of the hood.

Eight years later, my friend live a few miles from the location. Ironic.

They dine at the restaurant three, if not, four times a week. Yes, it is a constant in their life, too.

A few weeks ago, we went there and this was my meal. Now it is my standby--enchilada and egg. My only negative would be that the salsa is not as hot as it used to be. I can inhale it and not die. In 2000, that was not the case. I tried to inhale the salsa and spent the rest of the night drinking margaritas to cool the heat.

Yes, this plate is an inspiration. Truly.


Irony. Having car checked out before heading out on roadtrip. Being given the green light to be free and confident that car is sound.
Returning to friend's house and realizing that something is wrong with car. Did I mention I was in the middle of nowhere? For real. On an interstate but with no upcoming service stations.
I called my friend and explained that something was up with my car and that I didn't know what to do. She suggested keep going unless it began to overheat. Yes, I knew how to watch for that, too.
So, I drive. I watch the heat indicator, any visible signs of distress--black smoke, etc., and eventually make it to their home without having to leave my car alongside the road. That would have been a sight. Me, riding my mountain bike, holding my laptop and other necessary items. Fun stuff, indeed.
I call my volvo guys and explain that my car hesitated when I accelerated too fast. I said could it be a transmission issue? They said that it might be a fuel pump problem in the main engine.
I asked for a referral, if they knew of anyone, in Phoenix. They told me to look in the yellow pages.
Duh...of course, I knew how to do that. I was hoping that they would know of someone through conventions attended or new customers that had relocated from Phoenix to Denver. No such luck!
My friends are Toyota people. Their mechanic had no referral either.
I went on-line and found a few listings. I was intent on finding an independent volvo shop, not a dealer. I found a place, called them, and dropped my car off. They told me that they would hopefully get to it early Friday morning.
I felt solid about them and left my car in their capable hands. Friday morning comes and goes. I call them. I cannot help it. I am used to being kept in the loop when it comes to my car. At this point, they were still unsure as to what the cause of the distress was. They told me they should know something in an hour.
Two hours later and still no call. I call since we are in the area. Phoenix is gigantic. I didn't want my friend driving around unnecessarily on my account.
Still, no news. We should (hopefully) have an idea in an hour.
I think that is the tag line...knowing something in an hour.
We wait, enjoy a glass or two of wine and finally decide to drive over to the shop and see if my car had moved from where I parked it.
I walk up. My car is in the shop and the owner walks over and tells me--you need a catalytic converter. If we can't locate a refurbished one, it will be around $1200. Ouch!
However, your engine is in great shape. Your transmission looks fine. We ran all of the diagnostics checking your fuel and that, too, is great.
I know it could be worse, but, still, I am bummed. And, there was no way of predicting that this could happen. I take really good care of my car because she is awesome! I want to keep her healthy and running.
The owner told me that he was waiting to hear back from a few shops about the catalytic converter. He told me he would call me, either way, by the end of the day. They close at 5:30. I was curious to see if they would call or not and let me know that they would have my car til Tuesday.
No call at 5:30. I was disappointed in them. I believe in following through with what you say. At 6:30, we were on our way to dinner and I had an incoming call from the shop. Yea~he is an honorable guy.
I must wait til Monday to find out if he can locate a converter. That is doable and my car remains safe.

Friday, April 22, 2011

recent flights

For the first time, ever, I flew with my laptop. Delightful.
My friend had to drop me off four hours early to the airport. Had I not had my laptop, I would have died from boredom. Sure, people watching is entertaining. Four hours of people watching is a stretch.
Definitely a blessing and something that I looked forward to while sitting at DIA. I turned my laptop on and waited. Clicked on the available connections and waited.
Eventually, I find out that there isn't an issue with my laptop, but the domain server is not working. Super bummed.
I relax, read and wait for the check in process to begin. I notice this guy that is in on his phone, talking, somewhat loudly. I get in line and board the plane.
I have the window seat. Normally, I prefer the aisle since I can pop up, grab my bag and high tail it off the plane.
I situate my belongings and wait to take off. I see the man from the gate and know that he is sitting next to me. I don't know how or why, I just know, that he will be in my row.
Yep, the middle seat. Immediately, he starts talking to me. I had a few magazines that Jenn had given me. Typically, I fly with a book, my ipod and a journal. The magazines were a novelty that I wanted to peruse. Budget Travel and a Cosmo. Talking would have to wait.
Somehow, I did not project that vibe and instead spent the entire flight talking to this guy. He lived in Flagstaff, was married and had been a teacher, a river rafting guide and fitness instructor. He organized a sprint Tri in August that I should consider signing up for.
Obviously, I let it continue and so I wasn't too annoyed. I mentioned my desire to travel, enjoy life and lead an unconventional life that frustrated my father. Ken asked me if my relationship with my mom was strong.
My response, no. But, it is what it is and I love her and she knows this.
I dropped it at that.
The entire flight we b.s.'d. I had told him my name at some point. Our plane arrives and he goes--Destiny, it was nice meeting you.
I should have corrected him. I hesitated and said, thanks, you, too.
Upon departure, I find myself walking with him to his connecting flight. He looks at me and says--Destiny, you should really call your mom.
Funny. Destiny can call her mom. Me, well, that remains to be seen.
Regardless, I should have corrected him. I thought it was funny that he could tell me his life story and forget my name. And, I haven't spent a flight like that in awhile. It can be positive and negative at the same time. I really wanted to read those magazines. Yet, there is a possibility of a sprint tri in my future. I have considered making that leap since it is the natural progression.
He was a wealth of knowledge and information. People seem to change directions in their lives more frequently than I thought. River guide, fitness instructor, teacher, salesman....I guess there is always a fit out there that seems more suitable than current situations.
I look forward to what my next flight holds--conversation, crying babies, magazines. Yep, I am ready.

post race celebration

1/2 Marathon concluded. Next one chosen--Georgetown-Idaho Springs. I think that will be race #2 of 2011. Very excited.

I e-mailed my friends to put that seed in their heads, too. I think Jenn is in. We shall see about the Goddess and Sara Jo.

Yes, the half went well considering my training lacked. But, I now feel confident that I will be able to run a 1/2 with little training. I will no longer be intimidated by the mileage. I guess that is something.

Post race, we dined at the Crown Pub in Ft. Collins. It is sort of like our tradition. We went there, last year, on my co-worker's suggestion. He felt that it would be a suitable place for us to celebrate and it was. Omelette with avocado. Heavenly.

This year, I had been dreaming of avocados the entire race. They motivated me not the promise of beer. We drove back to Ft. Collins after collecting the car. We knew from last year that the shuttles were quick/prompt, but we caught the last one. We wanted to ensure that we retrieved our car before the shuttles stopped.

I was disappointed to find out they know longer offered brunch. No avocado with eggs--bummer! Instead of my chosen post-race meal, I enjoyed a turkey avocado bacon sandwich. The steak fries were delightful. Yes, it made the effort of the 1/2 worth it.

Afterwards, we returned to Denver and watched Glee. Finally. Lindsay was catching up on the first season and I was happy to rewatch the episodes. Most of our runs, I would bring up Glee at some point during the conversation. Until recently, Lindsay would listen to my mangled recap of the show. Now, she is a committed fan, too.

Of course, I wanted to spend time with Steve and Sarah. We had arranged to meet to celebrate Sarah's birthday and catch up, in general. Brussel sprout hash, cheese plate, and mac and cheese tempted us into choosing that place. Typically, the wine wins me over, but Sunday night, I drank cocktails. Fairly certain, I shocked my friends with that choice, too.

The time went by too fast. I remember arriving, ordering my first drink and then paying the tab. Where did the night go?

There is always next time. My friends, thankfully, all seem to get along and enjoy each other's company. I spent most of my night talking with Steve and Sarah. Lindsay entertained Sara and Chris. The way we were arranged set that up. We sat in a line instead of on a corner which would have enabled us all to be a part of the conversation.

I enjoyed the opportunity to enjoy great food, conversation and cocktails. Yes, cocktail can be a lovely substitute for wine.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


It has been a whirlwind the last week.
Excessive lifestyle--dining at most of my favorite places--wine bars, foodie friendly and mexican.

I suppose I could live in mexican restaurants. I tried a few months ago. Really, I did. I think, if I remember correctly, I ate at mexican restaurants for ten consecutive days. Too much. I love chips and salsa but even I had had too much during that 10 day stretch.

The 1/2 Marathon kept me honest. No drinking on Saturday and my dining was healthy. For the first time in a week, I enjoyed a homecooked meal. Heirloom tomato bruschetta followed by baked salmon burgers and asparagus. Delightful. The company was lovely as well. Lindsay's grandma, Betty, is a hoot. She turned 80 last year and got a Betty Boop tattoo. Yes, Betty knows how to enjoy life.

The race, well, went better than anticipated. Like I have written, numerous times, my training severely lacked. I hope to make that race my reference point for future races. Upward and onward. Next race, Georgetown-Idaho Springs. Or, maybe I will find another race before August to test my redemption theory.

Yes, excessive behavior. Still, I wouldn't change anything about the last week. Well, maybe one thing. I met a friend for happy hour and we continued to imbibe through dinner and into the night. Conversation and wine equally flowed. A few appetizers here and on to the next spot. I was enjoying myself. I convinced my friend we should have one more cocktail before walking back to her apartment.

Mistake. Only in that we truly did not need the final drink. In my head, I wanted a chartreuse cocktail--no idea why.

Nevertheless, we began the walk back to her place. My phone rang and I answered it. I was talking when, suddenly, she darted off in the opposite direction. I called after her, but she was gone. I knew where she lived, in theory. I was unfamiliar with which building she lived in but since she wouldn't respond to my texts, I headed in that general direction.

I contemplated my options. Find her. Walk to a hotel and hope to get in touch with her the following day. My belongings were in her place and I needed them. Or, ironically, my friend lived a block from a place that had been a safe haven for me for 8 years. I considered walking in there but decided against it. I had not seen any of them in four months and what a way to make an entrance---I am intoxicated and stranded....can someone help me?

No, it didn't seem likely or right. My best bet would be to find my friend. I walked to her complex, jumped a fence. Real smart since the 1/2 Marathon was a day later. Had I stepped down wrong, I could have messed up that plan.

I walked around her complex and entered the building I thought was hers. It wasn't. I was about to walk up to a hotel that I knew was near when I ran into my friend on a staircase. I have no idea where she came from. I was just happy to have found her.

The next day, she asked me what happened. I forgot to mention that I had received a text from the bartender from our last stop. She told me that my friend had left her wallet thingy at her bar.

Makes sense, right? Drinking leads to irrational thoughts and behavior. I think my friend realized that she did not have her wallet and was trying to locate it along the Cherry Creek Trail. She didn't and somehow managed to walk home, unscathed, and find me in the process.

I would have changed my insistence to have that one last cocktail. It was my idea that landed us in the precarious situation of me sleeping outside or in a random hotel. Thankfully, that did not happen. Everything worked out and I had a good story to reflect back on. The next morning, it was fun to process where the breakdown started.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Half Marathon

The day arrived.

Was I ready? Absolutely not. But, I wasn't stressed out either. I decided that I should enjoy this 1/2 Marathon and it truly made a difference. I left my watch at Lindsay's house and didn't obsess over how fast/slow our pace was. We walked parts of the hills and watched many other people struggle to maintain any sort of composure.

The hills are ridiculous. This course, to me, would be more of a PW--personal worst. I am fine with it. Today, I am sore, a little, but in no way like I should be. Going slow and not trying to conquer hills enabled this blissful state.

I am so thankful for Lindsay. Seriously, I have friends that are "run" runners. There is no way that I would have been able to accomplish a leisurely run with one of them. I trained. I did. I just didn't train that consistently. My heart wasn't completely in it.

Training, alone, proved to be a tad more difficult than I thought it to be. I missed running with my friends. I considered backing out of the event. I did. However, I knew how disappointed my friends would be. I talked them into this particular race. I needed to complete the task. There was no way I could back out and save face.

The race began and we were off. Immediately, we confronted the first hill and trudged up it. Midway we opted to walk. I know we were walking faster than some people were running. We were surrounded by other runners and people walking. I started to take in my surroundings. Gorgeous day. Taking photos took focus since I wanted a visual of the 1/2.

Overall, this was my worst showing in terms of the 1/2 Marathon. But, I felt, it could have been much worse. Elevation and lack of training could have made for an ugly day. I enjoyed people watching and with Lindsay. That girl is the BEST. She is supportive, encouraging and always positive. Never a negative thought.

People watching. What a trip! My favorite example would be of this woman that was running with her husband or boyfriend. Purely motivating him to keep going. She was counting while running and in front of her guy who was uncomfortable. He looked like he was dying from the physical exertion. Still, he had his visual in front of him. This woman had on a skirt that she scrunched up to expose her panties. Beige panties, at that. No joke. I couldn't believe what I saw and than I wanted to avert my eyes or run downhill. This could only happen on a hill, right? Everyone around us on the course had the same thought--are you kidding me? That is not the view I was hoping to see while running.

Or, the lady who had half of her jacket off but was stuck since her braided hair was wrapped through her hat. She struggled with the disrobe while trying to run. Yes, people watching at races can be entertaining. T

he last four miles of this race is boring. I remembered thinking that last year, too. We walked, some.

At that point, it was no longer about doing it within a certain time, it was about the joy of running with friends. As we neared the finish line I considered sprinting. I enjoy finishing that way. Lindsay really wasn't interested in that. She encouraged me to go. I wouldn't, though. We started the race together and we were going to finish that way. I resisted the urge to push ahead unlike some people I know (sound familiar, Shari?).

They handed us medals and a pint glass.

Successful day and a wonderful memory--check.

Personal worst--check.

Would I run it again--absolutely! Perhaps next year, I will conquer the hills.

Sunday, April 10, 2011


Like attracting like. I seem to return to this thought a lot lately. What should I be doing with my life? My dad thinks I have completely lost my sense of direction. He doesn't understand my unconventional desire/need to live the life that I choose. It doesn't have to make sense to him. He would never choose some of my recent decisions. My dad is traditional, uber conventional, and a career man. He is a provider. My sense of freedom, although, welcome in my world, makes no sense, at all, to him. He never liked that I chose to work in the service industry instead of pursuing a career with my degree. One time, he suggested that I work as a bank teller since it was a professional job. I think that would be a slow death. Recently, I read about numerology. My life expression is an eleven. After I read the description a couple of things jumped out at me. Mostly that I made decisions based on intuition, logic and emotions which rarely made sense to my more "rational" peers. That is true. Who else would travel around the world for five months trying to find peace and heal? Or, currently, the present moment I have found myself in, who else would want this? However, it does make sense to me. I love reflecting on how I got to this moment. I wanted it on a subconscious level. I am still floundering deciding what my purpose in life is. I suppose that is my quest--discovering what is my passion. Where do I thrive? What makes me have to do something in order to attain it? Food. Wine. Travel. Those three pretty much sum it up. What I want for my life is travel. I love it. I love meeting people, creating connections and exploring new cities and countries. My idea of a life well lived would be to fill up my new passport within two years. See more of the world and still be able to visit family and friends within the States. Yes, that would be the ultimate experience. Honestly, running would factor in, too. I went yesterday for 9 miles and it felt amazing. Yes, running is now part of my life. How to make it all work together and create an ideal life? Hmmm. That remains the question. Til then I will be positive, enjoy life and remember that like attracts like. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Running today

One week til the 1/2 Marathon. By no means am I in "normal" condition. The last 1/2 Marathon, I ran, was brilliant. I timed it perfectly in my full marathon training schedule. I breezed through the run and felt incredible. I think it fell between two 20 milers. Running 13 miles seemed so easy. Yes, I loved the last 1/2. This go around, I have been lazy. Running when it feels right instead of consistent. I miss my running partners, too. One week to go and barely feeling confident about my physical ability. Well, that could be much. Had it been my first attempt at a 1/2, I would probably back out of the commitment. I would explain to my friends that I am not ready for the challenge. Since I have run a few of these, I will be okay. I have no doubt that it will be interesting and likely that my time will be off from other events. I welcome it. I want to know how little I can train and still perform at a 1/2. I went hiking yesterday and experienced some cramping in my calves. I stopped to stretch and we continued the uphill battle of the hike. Today, I went for an hour and a half run. I stretched, pretty well, or so I thought. I started out and felt some tinges of shin splints. Stunned, since I had prepared by stretching. Stopped, walked, stretched. Continued to go. It felt like I wasn't getting enough oxygen to my legs. I don't know. I do not know how else to explain it. I stopped at a grocery store to use the bathroom and evaluate how the run was going to progress. I stretched my calves out more and started again. At this point, I saw a few other runners on the same trail as me and for whatever reason, everything clicked. No more discomfort anywhere. Running felt amazing and I was so thankful that I continued to go instead of stopping to go tomorrow. Honestly, I would have found excuses to push it to Monday, then Tuesday, and before I know it, it would be Sunday and my long run would have evaded me. No, today was ideal. Amazing day to enjoy running. I met one guy on my loop back who was training for a full marathon in a few weeks. I wish I had continued to run with him. He had a great pace and we ended up heading the same direction. I like talking to other runners about previous events, upcoming races and how they train. I am still trying to figure out the way that works for me. Work in progress, I suppose. Nevertheless, I am grateful for the desire to continue to challenge myself in this way. I realized, while running today, that anything you put your mind to, you can attain. In hindsight, I think I had projected negative thoughts about today's run mostly because I would have preferred more time in bed. Who doesn't enjoy a lazy Saturday morning? When I finally let go of some of those feelings, my run, greatly improved. I could have went farther as well. Next time, I will. Next Sunday, I will run 13.1 miles and then treat myself to beers post race. I cannot wait! I need to plan out my other 1/2's this year, too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

return of the magenta sports bra

I went hiking, last week. Glorious, delightful and definitely welcome. I opted to wear my magenta sports bra since it had been in storage during the winter months. In the past, I had soaked it water to find it stain numerous white t-shirts. Next, I added vinegar to the water in hopes of diluting the pink dye. No such luck. The bra kept staining my running clothes and t-shirts. I would wash it between wearings/soakings/etc. only to find that it still retained some of the dye. Pocketsize told me to throw the bra away. I probably should have. It wasn't about the money. I liked the bra and was unwilling to give up on it. Eventually, I believed that it was wearable without staining clothes. Back to the hiking story, I wore the magenta sports bra and one of my favorite running t-shirts to go hiking. My friend drove us to designated spot. We checked in with the park service and continued to drive into the park. The drive in took an additional twenty-twenty-five minutes. The road was challenging, unpaved and I was thankful that he was driving. I definitely would have gotten us stuck. He parked the car and we started our hike. Not too long since I needed to get on the road and head to my next destination. I loved the beauty and wish that that option had been presented earlier in my visit instead of my last day there. Next time, I suppose, I will ask to go hiking. Simple, tranquil and serene. I loved it. The hike was short because of me. We returned to their house and I decided to pack my things and shower. I looked down at my shirt and realized that it was stained with pink hues. Embaressed because I didn't notice that until I opted to shower. And, grateful, that we didn't stop for lunch on the way back to the house since I would have unknowingly walked around displaying the awesome pink stain of the bra. Damn that bra and its ability to stain my clothes. I think I will throw it away. It has been six months--at least--that I have washed, rinsed, wore and stained numerous t-shirts. Yes. I think it is time. If I had only listened to Pocketsize months ago.....I could avoided the hiking fiasco that I created in my mind. My friend didn't comment on it; but, I know he noticed the stain.....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Must have coffee. I love it. Everyday. I have to have it. Recently, I spent some time visiting a friend and he doesn't drink coffee or have a coffee maker in his house. Granted, they had a french press. Funny, how I could not find coffee, anywhere, in their house. Frustrated, I figured I would be able to stop at a convenience store, restaurant, anywhere, and get my fix. Instead, I ended up at a lamb roast where the only available beverage was beer. I thought I would die....somehow I managed to make it through the day without my standard cup of coffee. No headache or breakdown from lack of caffeine. Surprised since I have experienced that lovely caffeine non-stop headache. When I traveled around the world, I suffered through several cups of nescafe to counter that headache. Even in Belize, I drank a dreadful cup of Nescafe just to have my daily cup of coffee. Today, I stopped into a local place and ordered a standard cup of drip, dark roast, coffee. The girl behind the counter said, "If you can wait five minutes, I am brewing a fresh you mind waiting?" Absolutely not. I love fresh coffee. My dad used to drive routes through the midwest when I was a child. Several times, he told me he despised convenience store coffee that had been sitting all day or all night. He would always ask the clerk---Is this fresh? "Sure," he would be told. Only to discover that it could be a half hour fresh or longer. To him, and to me, this is not fresh coffee. While working in the service industry, I have always tried to stick to that standard. If the people wanted a good, fresh cup, I would brew a new pot. Always. Because I love fresh coffee. I can tell a difference, too. I miss the Goddess and the weekly running conversations and coffee. She would always bring me a pound of coffee from Allegro. Boy, do I miss the coffee. The last pound of it, I gave to my friend that lives in an Airstream. I thought of that today as I was patiently, waiting, for the perfect brewed cup. Foolish, I should have kept it for myself. I don't think he appreciated the coffee as much as I would have. In two weeks, I will run with her and stock up on more coffee--I hope. I never believed I could become so reliant on a beverage that wasn't wine....kidding. Coffee definitely wins that fight. It is a must have in my world.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

cross training and other ramblings

Two weeks.
Time has flown by. The only saving grace is that I have managed to run, somewhat, each week. And, I am committed to running the 1/2 Marathon. Even if I walk the majority of it, I am doing that event. Determination and the promise of beer can motivate/inspire anyone through 13.1 miles. That will be my mantra--one step in front of the area, one more step, beer is around the corner--or something to that effect. I will run. I will run. I will run.
I love the tech shirts and it is a beautiful course. Challenging, hillacious (uncertain about that word--oh well) and fun. Perfect to run with others so that more people can share in the misery.
Fun times, indeed.
I am hoping for a beautiful day, too. I understand that the weather is less than desireable in Denver right now. Snow. Cold. Yuck. I am so ready for spring. Please be a nice day on the 17th. Praying for sun.
There is still time to train. I am running, solo, mostly, to prepare for this 1/2. I miss having training partners. The Goddess's new job has limited our ability to run during the week. Plus, I have been preoccupied with other ventures. Running keeps me even-balanced, I think.
Still deciding on a full marathon for 2011 and cross training. I need to improve that aspect of the process. Thankfully, I have been able to golf, bowl, and hike in the last few weeks.
Golfing was terrible. I was unable to hit the ball anywhere. I have been a few times in the past and this was, by far, my worst showing at golf. I was miserable. Eventually, I became more interested in the drinking aspect and that seemed to improve my game, a little. 9 holes was all we managed. I remembered thinking--how do people actually playing 18? I would go crazy.
Bowling was mixed. We played five games. My first and my last sucked. I think I bowled five consecutive times and hit the gutter. My friend and I decided to call that a possum. Then, I would hit a strike or a spare. My game was all over the place and entertaining. We ate Schwan's Pizza and drank cheap beer. Perfect way to spend an afternoon.
Hiking was definitely the preferred activity. I loved the landscape and solitude. Unfortunately, the hike was short because of my time issues. Next time, I will take more time to enjoy nature. Sheer bliss.
I wonder how I got here now without focusing on the training aspect. I must pay more attention to that detail for the next race. I don't want to be sore or crabby because I was lazy. Hindsight provides clarity.
Regardless, I am committed to the 1/2 and looking forward to spending time with friends. Opportunities for photos and beer. Ideal, right?