Friday, February 12, 2016

Christmas rewind

OK... I know it's almost Valentine's Day. BUT... our computer was on the fritz (thank you, Windows 10!), and I am so behind with sharing. In case you're feeling nostalgic for the holidays, here's something to help you out :)

Christmas break was kind of a wild ride this year!

It started crazy with Mom's accident. Eryn, Mom and I all missed the last day of school, leaving things hanging a bit - personally and professionally.

After spending half the day with her in the emergency room (always good family time!), we took turns babysitting her concussed head. Then we had a family dinner of Chinese takeout comfort food.

Saturday was the Ugly Sweater Run, our first fun run as a whole family (minus our concussed mother):
After, the Wood side went to lunch at Native Foods Cafe (Jill's a vegetarian, too!) and then a little shopping while we were at Bridgeport Village:
Before the hustle and bustle of Christmas Eve activities, I made sure and got in a nice, early 5 miler:
Love seeing this guy at the end of my December runs:
The day was filled with family, handbells at church and then late snacks at Eryn's. I failed to photograph any of that. There's always next year!

Christmas morning always starts with an early call time at Mom and Dad's for a light breakfast and piles of presents! Vaulted ceilings mean big trees!
Merry Christmas! Done with lots of fun at Mom and Dad's - time to go to Ma and Pa's house for more!
Pa got lots of Minion-themed gifts, including this custom-made stocking cap:
The whole fam:
My time off included lots of time with this crazy lady:
Local friends and family gathered for a casual wedding reception for Jill and Maroof: (MORE RECEPTION PICS TO COME!)
Gizmo snuggled with her panda while we watched some movies:
Our tree:
Brad got some sweet Star Wars gear:
Icy days meant extra time for reading and cuddling:
I feel so fortunate to have a job that shuts down during the holidays. I'd trade pay for that time off any day :) I hope your holidays were full of family and love and all good things!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

No. 8

No. 8 was Diane Mott Davidson's The Last Suppers, and other culinary mystery from my sis:
An Episcopal priest gets murdered right before the main character's wedding. The fiance, a homicide detective who found the body, is kidnapped.

The book goes into some church politics between the traditionals and the charismatics. And because the author is Episcopalian herself, I think a lot of the denominational info is authentic. I don't have much experience with the Episcopal church, and I found it interesting.

Also - it's a good mystery that had me guessing until the end :)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Tualatin River Greenway (2/6/16)

We explored a brand-new trail in our community!

When developers turned Tualatin's old KMart property into the Nyberg Rivers shopping center, news articles said master plans included a greenway along the river. My cynical self figured they just said that to gain approval, and that part of the plan would be axed when budgets ran over.

Well, they proved me wrong!

Construction's been in full swing for many months, and the trail is now open! (The official grand opening isn't until April 9, but it was sure packed with people Saturday when we explored)

The Tualatin River Greenway starts right behind the Tualatin Public Library:
It runs behind the shopping center, under Interstate 5, along the river, behind the Nyberg Woods Shopping Center (owned by the same property group) and dead ends at the defunct mobile home park:
When the mobile home park is soon turned into apartments, the greenway will continue the short distance to Brown's Ferry Park and connect with all those trails.

We ran from our house and through Cook Park, and it was exactly 3.5 miles to the fence above - perfect for a mid-distance run. And it was mostly off road on trails!

On the return trip, we stopped to read all the placards and learn all kinds of great history of the area. I love history and geology! Fascinating stuff :)

The east side of the freeway has these great, wide boardwalks to keep us on trail and up off the wetlands:
And the whole thing is right along the river:
I think the planners did a great job on this trail - very impressive! I can't wait to incorporate it into more workouts :)

Friday, February 5, 2016

Cascade Half Marathon (1/17/16)

While training for the Holiday Half, I always had Cascade in the back of my mind for a back-up race. I ran it last year and did awesome, surprising myself and PRing by several minutes on the flat course.

Unfortunately, racing back-to-back half marathons isn't necessarily a great idea (Dec. 13 and then Jan. 17). First you have to recover from the first one. Then you have to taper for the second one. And in between was Christmas and all it's excitement and activities. Not the best recipe for success.

I did really well working out over Christmas break, but I did a lot of cross training and not tons of running miles. Honestly, I was a bit burned out from months of training and then the disappointment of missing my goal by so far. 

I waited until the last minute to sign up (Thursday, I think) because I was scared of what might happen. I knew I wasn't 100% prepared and was a little gun shy after December's failure. I was also watching the weather forecast and it looked terrible.

I finally decided to pull the trigger and stop being scared. I would give it my best and run for fun - no pressure.

Brad went with me Friday night for a short, easy shakeout run in the dark:
We were very visible with lights and reflectors:
We woke early Sunday to very heavy rain. It was supposed to pour all day with moderate wind. But I couldn't complain... I knew that when I signed up. Last year was wet and windy, too. In fact, I blame that southerly headwind for making me miss the 2-hour mark in 2015!

The sun rose as we drove south to Turner - and by that I mean the clouds got turned from black to dark gray. We parked behind the school, and I noticed that the wind wasn't so bad. Then we walked to the south side of the building... THERE'S the wind!

Waiting inside the dry school with heat and real bathrooms!
This was my motto for the day!

It was raining so hard that almost everyone stayed inside or huddled under the eves until right before the start. (and this was the south - windy - side of the building!) OK... let's do it!
Go time!
The course is a very flat out and back in wide-open fields. Last year, the southerly wind provided an intense headwind in the last portion of the race and a crosswind for much of the rest. This year, the wind was coming from the south/southeast. So that whole middle section was into the wind.

In retrospect, I should have slowed a bit more to conserve energy. Instead, I ran too hard and ended up losing my steam. By the time it turned into a tailwind on the return, I was too pooped to take advantage.

After seeing me off at the start, Brad found a parking spot near mile 5 and waited with the camera:
As I passed, I told him that 3ish miles of constant headwind was really taking it out of me. He said I still looked strong.

Two days before, our 20-month-old cat got very sick and stopped eating. We'd spent lots of time, energy and money trying to figure out what was wrong. It was incredibly stressful and definitely affected my race day. 
The vet was to call back Sunday morning between 9-11 (the exact time I'd be running!) with test results. Of course, she called right when I was passing Brad the second time. I saw him on the phone in the car and knew he was talking with the vet. Talk about a stressful moment.

I still managed a smile and wave as he snapped some photos out the window:
When I knew that my 2-hour goal was no longer possible, I changed my goal. I really wanted to just have fun and enjoy being so hardcore that I was racing in a crazy storm ;) 

Also, last year's event was the first time I ever ran the entire 13.1 miles - without stopping for walk breaks or at aid stations. So I decided to make this the second time I ever raced a whole half marathon without stopping. It's a true mental challenge to keep going when your mind and body are telling you to stop!

I gave it my all on the home stretch and did manage to pass a couple people.
My official time was 2:07:49. I came in 172/265 - 12/25 in my division and 67/142 in women.

Now days, I usually place in the top third. Placing in the middle was really an indication of how fast this field was - these were hardcore runners, especially to come out in weather like that!
The rain and wind never let up. This was not a shower situation - this was wall-to-wall rain. Can you see how soaked I am??? I felt like I was wearing a swimsuit instead of shorts and shirt!
I was proud of this race. I didn't let a bad day get me down - I still enjoyed racing, even though it was tough. That's a good day in my book :)

Because I was soaked to the bone, I changed clothes in the car before heading to the cafeteria for hot soup, bread and cookies!
Hot, salty soup is amazing after running in the rain :)
Per our new tradition, I showered, put on my race shirt and then refueled with PizzaSmith:
Half marathon No. 22 in the books! :)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

No. 7

Eryn hooked me up with my latest read: Michael Connelly's The Crossing:
The wait list was LONG, but Eryn grabbed the non-reservable copy from the Sherwood library. She read it in two days and then gave it to me... and then I read it in two days, well within our two-week loan window.

Connelly is a great writer! His Bosch novels are about an LAPD homicide detective who goes a little rogue sometimes. But he's a good guy and always gets his guy. This one was a little different, as he's retired now. It was a very fast, entertaining mystery.


Monday, February 1, 2016

January one a day

Just a sampling of my January in photos...

1/3 - cuddling on a icy day:
1/4 - no school!
1/5 - late start!
1/6 - birthday ribs:
1/7 - kickboxing:
1/8 - 15 minutes of rolly-table relaxation:
1/9 - muddy Wildwood run:
1/10 - birthday bike:
1/11 - lunch walk:
1/12 - union strong:
1/13 - I love the woods: 
1/14 - newest Netflix addiction:
1/15 - puny baby:
1/16 - beautiful sunset after a hard day at the vet:
1/17 - soaking wet Cascade Half Marathon:
1/18 - sick fur baby:
 1/19 - she's eating!!!
1/20 - come on, Gizmo!!!
 1/21 - interested in water again!
1/22 - I guess I missed this one :)
1/23 - Angel's Rest with James and Brad:
1/24 - muddy trails:
1/25 - No. 6 finished:
1/26 - Cook Park flooding:
1/27 - I need to get out every day on my lunch!
 1/28 - Night-time run with Brad and Lindsey:
1/29 - Remembering Edna:
1/30 - Lacamas Lake trail run:
1/31 - whole-family workout!