Friday, July 30, 2010

Weekly Roundup

The stars were definitely aligned this week for running. Kids were in camp from 9-12, the humidity was all but gone, and temps were mostly in the low 80's.  According to my "DailyMile" stats, I've run 14 miles this week. I've got one more day to bang out a long run (8+), but we are leaving for the Cape and I hope I want to get up at 6AM to do the run (although Chris says "you are going to get your run in -- otherwise you'll go crazy stuck in traffic.") Thanks honey.

Here's the breakdown of my mileage...
Sunday --   0
Monday --  4.2, plus a 60 minute weights workout at the gym
Tuesday --  2.8
Wednesday -- 2.8, plus a 60 minute weights workout at the gym
Thursday -- 0
Friday -- 4.3

Saturday -- ???

Monday and Friday, I ran to the Hospital and back -- I'm digging this run! and Tuesday/Wednesday I ran the pond.

I felt good most of the week, except for Thursday I felt a little sore in the hips/legs. Thankfully, it was gone by this morning. The reason for not running on Thursday? I decided to pack while the kids weren't home. It made for a nice and quiet morning. Here are the links to my runs.

This week I made some delicious Banana Muffins. They were really good; so good that Ben ate one and liked it (He's not a muffin man...). The recipe made 12 muffins. To prove just how good they were, I just finished baking another batch to take down to the Cape (we still have three left over from the first batch). I like to store my muffins in a ziploc bag in the freezer so I don't eat them all; this time I left them in the fridge. Either way -- they are delicious!

I made some modifications to the recipe; here it is. 

One-Bowl Banana Muffins
Recipe adapted from
  • 2 large ripe bananas, peeled
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter -- I used 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup milk -- I used about a 1/2 cup of plain non-fat yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour -- I used King Arthur 100% whole wheat
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
I also added the following to the top of the muffins before baking

  • 1/8 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tablespoon of Turbinado sugar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375. Line 10 muffins tins with muffin/cupcake liners. (I made a full dozen; no liners)
  2. Put the bananas in a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Add the butter and microwave 20 seconds at a time until the butter is softened but not melted. (It is fine if a little bit of it melts).
  3. Mash the bananas and butter together until there isn't a lot of lumpiness left.
  4. Thoroughly stir in the sugar, beaten egg, milk, vanilla extract, and salt.
  5. Place a sieve over the bowl and fill it with the flour, baking power and baking soda. Sift the contents into the wet ingredients, trying to stir the sieve as you go to distribute the leaveners. I did not do this step; I read on Simply Recipes (for banana bread) to sprinkle the leaveners directly into the wet ingredients and mix gently; then I folded in the flour (see next step).
  6. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Stop when they are just moistened. We'd rather have a couple lumps than risk overbeating it and having tough muffins.
  7. Distribute the batter into the tins. Sprinkle oats and sugar on top. Bake about 25 minutes.

Family Fun
My parents came down from NH for supper and a visit with the kids on Sunday and my dad brought down some fishing poles. Chris and the gang went down to Sandy Pond to fish and swim...and for the first time ever -- the kids ended up with baby leaches on them! We were surprised to say the least. They swam on a part of the pond that we'd never swam at and either a). there are leaches in part of the pond or b). babies just happened to hatch at the same time the kids were swimming. No harm done and the kids are still talking about them today! Here are some pics from that great adventure.

We are headed down to the Cape tomorrow -- our first trip there! Staying in Orleans, within walking distance of Nauset beach. I won't be posting anything until we get back. Be prepared for lots of pictures and silly stories about all the fun, food, and fitness the week brings.


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday Long(ish) Run through Groton

I haven't run since Tuesday. Wednesday was a gym day and I did my normal 60 minute workout with a mixture of free and circuit weights. I try and get a full body workout each time, instead of focusing on just upper or lower body. Thursday, as I mentioned in my last post, I wasn't able to get a morning run in as Chris took the train to Boston. Thursday night (even though we were all tired from a busy week) we ended up going to the Fruitlands band concert and met up with a bunch of friends. I'm so glad we did even if it meant I wasn't going to get a run in. We enjoyed a bottle of Toasted Head Chardonnay and the kids ran around and had fun. By the time we got home, the bats were out and the kids were asleep by 9:15 -- so unbelievably late! Chris and I settled in for some reading (my latest book is Case Histories by Kate Atkinson), and then off to bed ourselves. No run on Friday morning -- we all slept in.

So here we are on Saturday morning after taking three days off and I need a long run. My plan (however unscientific it is) is to bring my overall mileage up to 25 miles/week and my long run up to 10 miles by the time I return from vacation on the 7th. That meant another run through Groton because there are no shortcuts -- making sure I get the mileage in.

I ran down Oakridge to Groton Harvard and turned right. Two smallish hills in the first mile and then downhill past Washington St (part of the HS loop) and then back uphill towards the hospital on Old Ayer Road. Two miles in and I cross the border to Groton,farmland, and the most wonderful blackberries I've ever tasted. I ran down the hill and turned left onto Smith, taking me through a nice residential neighborhood and past the rail trail over to Route 111/Farmer's Row. I ran up to the Groton School and it was here where I debated where to go next. My choice was to keep going straight to Higley or turn onto Peabody. I knew Higley would ensure that I got to nine miles, but I didn't bring any water and so opted for what I hoped to be an eight mile loop, and turned right onto Peabody. I crossed back over the rail trail and then back onto Old Ayer Road, past the defunct orchard/meadow, Regal Horse farm, and the "woolies" (Scottish Highland cattle). At this point I completed my loop at Smith (about five and a half miles) and started the climb back up toward the hospital (and those delicious blackberries!), toward home. Had I brought water/energy beans, I might have been inclined to go the long way around Flanagan Pond for an extra two miles, but I had enough. Back down Oakridge and ended at the house with 7.81 miles in eight seconds less than 1:15. Not too bad. I kept a pretty consistent pace throughout the run, with mile seven being the slowest.

The plan this week: 3-5 miles tomorrow (Sunday) and then run Tuesday-Friday, while the kids are at  ACS Summer Camp (Under the Sea!) from 9-12. That should help push those miles back up and perhaps get to 10 on my long run next weekend.

Here's a link to my run...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Today's Run: Six miles via Sandy Pond/Washington St and a Trip Down Memory Lane

The storm last night made for a cool, breezy, yet still humid run. I definitely enjoy running early in the morning better than any other time of day. Lately, though, I've been sleeping in and haven't been challenging myself to get the miles in. Especially when it's hot...and humid. Today was one of those mornings that I debated with myself how long I was going to run, while running. I almost settled on three when I remembered that Chris was heading into Boston early on Thursday and I would most likely have to run in the evening and only do three, so I went for it. I'm glad I did. Overall it was a good run, with a decent pace and not a lot of traffic.

Today, Chris and I are celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary. We got married at the Dockside in York Harbor, Maine and that morning the weather started off about the same as today (I didn't run back then, so not quite the same). We didn't have a back up plan and our wedding and cocktail hour were going to be outside. But just as today's haze is burning off, the day turned out to be beautiful and we have fond memories of our wedding with friends and family who traveled from all over to be with us. Now eight years later, we are so thankful to be together and we have two beautiful children and a happy life. It can't get much better than this.

Tonight, we are taking the kids out for $1 ice cream cones at Baskin-Robbins and will save our dinner out in Boston for after our vacation to the Cape in August.

Life is Good.

Ayer 6 miles via Sandy Pond/Washington St by mappy17 at Garmin Connect - Details

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ayer/Groton 7 Miles on a Sunny Sunday morning!

Today's run: seven miles through Ayer and Groton. I knew I had to run today. I was supposed to do today's run yesterday -- even said I was doing it. Then I didn't. Chris and the gang left for Boston to take his mom to the airport and I just couldn't help myself. I sat in the house in complete silence for an hour. Bliss, I tell you. And before you knew it, it was just too hot and sunny to pound out seven miles. So I didn't, and felt guilty about it all day. Well, not all day, but for at least 15 minutes.

I chose today's route because it has no shortcuts, no cut offs that I could turn down and say to myself, "it's too hot to run today." I took water and some energy beans and headed out at...quarter to 11! Quarter to 11?! Was I nuts to think I'd do seven at mid-day sun and heat? Thankfully, today was less hot, humid and even had a breeze now and again while I ran. It was a good run. And I'm glad I did it.

Untitled by mappy17 at Garmin Connect - Details

Silly Saturdays

Last year Chris and I started a new tradition...Silly Saturdays. We picked a couple of Saturdays in the summer to eat outside and let the kids stay up later than usual and do silly things (like paint their feet and the deck!). It was a hit. During the winter, Silly Saturdays morphed into Family Movie Night and we'd watch a kid-friendly movie Ben and Izzy picked from the library. We don't do it every Saturday, mostly because the kids are tired (hockey/skating in the winter = early bedtime), but as the kids are getting older we've been able to manage a few later nights this summer without too much trouble.

Last night was a Silly Saturday. Grammy Jan left earlier this morning for Edmonton and we were all a bit lazy. Chris took the kids down to the pond, giving me a much needed day off from the sun, and I went to the store, and puttered around the house. I decided to make a tortellini salad with some wonderful colorful veggies--shredded carrots, yellow pepper, peas, and grape tomatoes--and used a yogurt based-ranch dressing. While at the store I picked up some wild sockeye salmon for myself as Chris and the kids had already decided they were having cheeseburgers (good for them; bad for me!) Isabella, who doesn't eat either burgers or salmon had a dilemma; she needed to pick one. She ended up eating a half of a cheeseburger -- her first and she LOVED it. She has officially joined the adventurer club! The only criteria to being a member is the willingness to try new things (food, activities, etc.).

We ended up with a lovely dinner on the deck, complete with Palomas, my new favorite drink. I had never grilled salmon before (I know, I must live under a rock...) but it came out perfect. I sprinkled some cumin, salt, southwest season from Penzey's spices, and some sugar, with a squeeze of lime and just let is cook for about 12-15 minutes. Then served it with another squeeze of lime. Quite tasty!

This morning I'm off for a long run; trying to find the motivation to train for my half marathon in September. Then it's off to Sandy Pond for a family swim. and steak tacos for tonight -- perhaps another Silly Saturday on Sunday?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Grammy Jan's Visit, Isabella's Birthday, Blueberry picking, and a Delicious Treat

Chris' mother is visiting this week and we've been having fun spending time with her. Isabella celebrated her 3rd birthday (on the 4th of July) and we had a friend party on the 10th. Of course after two-three weeks of hardly any rain we had a deluge during her party. Thankfully it didn't stop us (and Isabella!) from having fun.

Friends of ours let us borrow a giant blow up waterslide for the party and the kids played on it even though it was raining. We had two good outside times and two inside times while it poured. Izzy had her "rooster" cake and we all had a blast. Five years ago, I would have a been a big ball of stress, but having kids and finding peace with running has mellowed me out a bit. I still have my ever-expanding book of rules, but at least I can do it with a smile instead of gritting my teeth.

Getting back to what this post was supposed to be about...blueberry picking and the delicious (I hope!) breads I made as a result. We always take Grammy Jan blueberry picking when she visits. The place we go to is around the corner (about 2 1/2 miles from our house) and it's a good time by all. We stuff our faces with blueberries while we pick, take silly pictures and overall enjoy the hour or so in the fields. Doe Orchards also has raspberry bushes, peaches and apples in the Fall. We end up there a bunch of times in the summer for the blueberries and I think we picked apples at least three times last year.

I first thought about making a blueberry lemon pound cake, but then thought that would be too fattening -- with all the butter and sour cream. So then I decided I would find a recipe that was lower in fat and chose a coffee cake type recipe with yogurt. I thought I'd use Greek yogurt and since the grocery I went to was out of Fage, I picked the one that had the least amount of sugar, which happened to be Cabot. It turns out that I was so focused on the sugar, I forgot to see if it was non fat. And guess what -- it was whole milk. So much for a low fat version! I ended up putting a streusel with a small amount of butter on top with brown sugar. I did use whole wheat flour and I used a loaf pan (mistake #2). Thankfully, I used enough non-stick spray, it was easy to get out and the cake looks good. At least I think it does. It's still too warm to cut, but we plan on taking some to the Fruitlands band concert tonight. Grammy Jan is only here two more nights and then she returns to Edmonton.

I'll let you know how it tastes. And the miles I need to run to work it off!