Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Fall Racing

This is my second fall racing season and for the most part I've selected the same races, with a couple new ones tossed in. One being a half-marathon at the end of September. It's the Hollis, NH Applefest Half. 

Whenever I mention I am going to run this race to other runners I get the same feedback...that "it's tough," "it's hilly" and my personal favorite "don't expect to improve your time." I've chosen this race despite this feedback. I know I can do it. I might be pretty tired and sore when its over, but in the end, I'll be able to say that I did it. I'll save the flat courses for next year.

I've chosen a mix of 5 and 10k's with a 5-miler and that hilly half. Here's a list of what I plan on running.

September 19:   Run for Ryan's Cup; Chelmsford, MA (5k)
September 25:  
Applefest 1/2 Marathon; Hollis, NH
September 26:   Littleton Road Race; Littleton, MA (this is a big maybe; it will depend on how I feel when I get up in the morning)
October 2:        Huff and Cuff; Devens, MA (5k)
October 10:      Tufts 10k for Women; Boston, MA
October 24:      Miles for Myles; Luneburg, MA (5k)
November 7:    Genesis Battlegreen Run 2010; Lexington, MA (10k)
November 21:  30th Annual Slattery's Turkey Trot; Fitchburg, MA (5-Miler)
November 25:  6th Annual Ayer Fire Dept Thanksgiving 5k: Ayer, MA

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Half Birthdays, Water Guns, and Science Geeks


This week we celebrated Ben's 5 1/2 birthday. I never thought I would celebrate half birthdays, but the idea came together kinda last minute. Ben was having a few friends over for one last time with our neighbor's giant waterslide and I decided to make a cake and have a mini-half birthday celebration. The cake was just so-so. I don't think I'd make it again. I made the basic vanilla cake recipe from the Pillsbury website, with the only substitution being about 3/4 of a cup of light cream (I needed to use it up before it went bad) and about 1/4 of skim milk. The cake was quite dense. I decided to make the cream cheese frosting again, but this time it came out too sweet. I liked it much better with Preacher's chocolate cake I made two weeks ago for my brother's birthday. Next time I will definitely use less powdered sugar. I used only one layer and cut it in half and made it literally a "half a cake". The other layer is in the freezer and I will frost for my parents the next time they are down for dinner.

I have two recipes to share this week...

Heirloom Tomato, Bean and Feta Salad
I bought some amazing heirloom, yellow, and red cherry tomatoes, basil, zucchini, and corn from one of the many roadside stands in Lancaster. I used about half of the tomatoes and basil to make a salad that unfortunately I don't have a picture of. It was a delicious salad. I perused Tastespotting and looked a bunch of different recipes and then looked in my refrigerator/cupboards and came up with this:

1 pint of mixed heirloom, red, and yellow tomatoes (quartered)
1 can of small white beans, thoroughly rinsed
1 cup of chopped fresh basil leaves, stems removed
1/2 to 3/4 cup of fat free feta cheese
salt, pepper, garlic to taste
balsamic vinegar (approx 1/4 cup)
olive oil (approx. 1/8 to 1/4 cup)
cubed french bread (preferably a day old)

Toss everything but the bread together and let rest for an hour; add bread before serving.


Zucchini Mini Chocolate Chip Muffins
(makes 24 muffins and 1 mini-loaf)
I want to call these muffins healthy and for the most part they are, I just don't have access to my Weight Watcher Recipe Builder anymore and so I don't have an exact idea of how healthy. I am planning to do a little web searching tonight to see if I can find another recipe builder to use in the future.

I bought some large zucchinis specifically to make some muffins. We were all out of our other muffins and I wanted to fill up the freezer with a fast and healthy treat for everyone. At first I was going to make a carrot, zucchini, pineapple muffin, but then realized I only had a little bit of carrots, so I decided to hold off on those for the next muffin recipe. Again, I used Tastespotting to help find a recipe and modified this one here. I  changed the recipe quite a bit, but I am VERY happy with the results. And was my taste-taster, Isabella.

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cake flour (I had about a cup left that I wanted to get rid of, so I used it in this recipe)
1 cup unprocessed wheat bran ( I used Hodgson Mills)
1 cup almond meal (from Trader Joe's -- really just ground up almonds)

1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon Penzy's Baking spice

3 Eggs
1 cup skim milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 Cups shredded zucchini
1 Cup brown sugar
1/8 cup honey
1/4 safflower oil
1/2 - 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (about 3/4 of a 12 oz bag)

Mix dry ingredients together in one bowl; set aside
In another bowl, beat eggs, add milk, vanilla, brown sugar, honey, oil and applesauce; mix thoroughly. Fold in zucchini and mini chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes (about 5 longer for the loaf).

It wasn't a stellar week for running or workouts. Chris left at 4 AM on Sunday for San Francisco and so I had to get a babysitter to do any workouts. I got two in; one 7.8 mile run and one 60-minute workout. I tried to get our babysitter back for one more morning, but it didn't work out. Chris returned on a red eye on Wednesday, but we had Cabot Safety Coloring contest party and Ben's Track and Field camp end of season BBQ, and then Chris had to be in Boston for 8 on Thursday, so I made up for it on Saturday with the 9.5 mile run. I also ran the pond this morning, bringing the week's total to 20 miles. Alls well that ends well.

Here's the only Garmin-linked run. Next week I should have more.
Flanagan Pond Loop (2.8) by mappy17 at Garmin Connect - Details

I'll end this post with some pictures from the Cabot Corporation Annual Safety Calendar Coloring Contest and the water gun fight at track and field.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Preacher's Chocolate Cake

My nephew Zach stayed with us a few days last week. It was my brother's 44th birthday (on the 15th) and I made a delicious chocolate cake for him. He ate a ton of it and took home more, so I know it was good. I usually buy birthday cakes from Concord Teacakes in West Concord, MA (not to be confused with Concord, NH -- where I grew up), but while on vacation, I read the March/April issue of Yankee Magazine and there was an article about a cake lady from Madison, NH (she's 81). Her story was great and the article included a recipe to one of her favorite cakes, Preacher's Chocolate Cake. I had to make it; I will be making it again. I made a tasty cream cheese frosting to go with it.

One of our super-nice neighbors lent us their giant bouncy waterslide while they were away on vacation this summer. We used this twice this week. Water + bouncing = LOTS of fun. We also went to Davis Farmland -- one of my favorite places to take our kids too, they've got a bit of everything (endangered animals, play villages, playgrounds, bouncy hut, face painting, spray park, hayrides, and did I mention animals). Zach loves this place! We also went blueberry picking -- our 3rd time this summer, and of course, to Sandy Pond.

I only have one Garmin link to my run as the watchband to my GPS broke and I need to replace it. At first I was a bit sad, but now I'm feeling okay about it as I am less focused on the clock/my time and more focused on the run itself.

Ayer/Groton 7.8 by mappy17 at Garmin Connect - Details
I ran this run twice. Saturday I didn't want to run as Chris and I went out to celebrate our 8th wedding anniversary (it was in July) and I passed up on dessert to try my first-ever chocolate martini. The martini was delicious and combined with the wine and pre-dinner cocktail...let's just say there was no way I was going to do the Ayer/Groton loop again. 

I ended up running three days: Sunday (7.8), Thursday (7.8) and Saturday (2.8) and a weights workout on Monday. Chris left for San Francisco on Sunday. More on that in another blog update. For now, I'll leave you with more pictures from our fun week with Zachary.

Sturbridge Village -- what a riot!
Davis Farmland
Squannacook River Runners Track & Field Camp

Here are a few more from Sturbridge Village

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Post Vacation Roundup

This post is long overdue. No witty stories, but I will include a few pictures, my top 10 favorite (and silly) things about our trip, and links to my runs.

Highlights from the trip

  1. Isabella's giggle when picking up hermit crabs
  2. Ben learning to boogie board and wave board
  3. Watching Chris boogie board
  4. Delicious cupcakes and ice cream from Emack and Bolio's
  5. Palomas and Toasted Head
  6. Running 4 out of the 7 days to counteract all the calories from the food I ate!
  7. The outside shower
  8. Getting up at 6 to go to the laundromat 
  9. Catching crabs in Mill Pond with baloney
  10. Seeing a seal bobbing past us in the water on the first and last day of our trip

My Runs...
Nauset Heights/Beach and East Orleans 6.55 miles by mappy17 at Garmin Connect - Details
Nauset Heights/Beach and East Orleans 5 miles by mappy17 at Garmin Connect - Details