Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A longish run with some tempo

Last Saturday we met up with our running group for a Saturday morning run, the first time in a few weeks as we’ve been busy!  We had some errands to take care of around town after the run so we drove instead of riding our bikes.  Once we got to the store we set out for a 5 miler back across the freeway and over to my “happy place” aka The Elk Grove Park!  I LOVE running at the park.  It has a nice 1.44 mile dirt path, its scenic and offers lots of shade from all the trees.  On this morning it was alive with people running, walking, and setting up parties around the various picnic tables. 

I started out nice and easy and was able to maintain under 12 min miles the whole time ~ with two “tempo-ish” miles thrown in the middle.  After we got the park I suggested to the hubs to go ahead and take off ahead of me and get in an extra mile or so at his own pace and off he went.  I picked up my pace and was able to speed things up, just a little, for mile 3 & 4 and it felt GREAT.  This run was one of the few times I actually started slow and finished pretty strong!  I was impressed with myself :)

I’m really getting into a nice running groove lately whenever I get out the door to actually get the miles in.  I hope it stays this way! 

5.02 / 58:36 / 11:40 avg pace

  • 1 – 11:40
  • 2 – 11:42
  • 3 – 11:30
  • 4 – 11:21
  • 5 – 12.04
  • 0.02 – 0:17

Monday, June 28, 2010

Meal Plan Monday {June 28}

It was HOT this past weekend here in the Sacramento Valley and we took full advantage of our backyard and kiddie pools and enjoyed the sun ~ we’ve got the sunburns to show for it!  Lucy loves her doggie pool we got her and the three of us enjoyed cooling off yesterday afternoon while the temps reached 100 degrees. 

This weeks menu …

Monday ~ Stir Fry Veggies over rice with Corn on the Cob

Tuesday ~ Out to Eat for Date Night before the hubs leaves for his trip

Wednesday ~ Greek Pasta {I’m loving this right now, so goooooooood}

Thursday ~ leftover pasta {since it’s just me this week}

Friday ~ Pizza Friday for one :)


  • Breakfast ~ Bagel
  • Lunch ~ Soy Nut Butter {very similar to peanut butter but since I have a nut allergy I eat this instead ~ it looks, smells, and tastes similar} and Jelly Sandwich & fruit
  • Dinner ~ Chicken & Rice Bowl


  • Breakfast ~ Eggs & Potatoes
  • Lunch ~ Turkey Sandwich & fruit
  • Dinner ~ Quesadilla

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tuesday’s at the track, week 5

Summer has arrived and it was HOT at the track workout last night!  Even the ever-predictable Elk Grove wind was HOT.  After riding our bikes the 2 miles to the track, we were soaked in sweat but ready to bust out a good workout. 

The workout
1.5 mile repeats with 3min rest in between

Warm-up:  10 min / 0.82
1.5 – 17:37 / 11:473 avg pace
rest – 10 mins {Guess what I got?  Shin pain!  UGH.}
1.5 – 19:36 / 13:03 avg pace {lots of walking}
rest – 5 mins
Cool down – 0.28 / 4:39

Total mileage with warm-up & cool down = 4.27

After feeling so great after last week’s workout I was ready to hit the track again.  I was slow out there last night and just had to keep reminding myself that at least I was out there and it didn’t matter that I was the slowest person. 

It was really hot, but it’s only going to get hotter as the summer progresses.  I also, stupidly, decided to run without my ipod last night ~ I don’t think I will be doing that again anytime soon.

The shin pain was minor and in my right leg {my shin splints from earlier in the year were in my left leg}.  When we got home I stretched, foam rolled and iced my shin and its feeling just fine!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Meal Plan Monday {June 21}

Better late than never …

Monday ~ Caesar Salad with fried fresh garden zucchini

Taco Tuesday ~ Refried Bean Tacos with fresh guacamole

Wednesday ~ Turkey Meatloaf

Thursday ~ Greek Pasta {based on this recipe}
*We didn’t have this last week since we ended up eating out on Saturday for my father-in-law’s birthday celebration

Pizza Friday ~ Mediterranean Herb Pizza {based on this recipe}
*We didn’t have this either last week


  • Breakfast ~ Bagels
  • Lunch ~ leftover meatloaf sandwiches
  • Dinner ~ BBQ Tri Tip


  • Breakfast ~ Eggs & Potatoes
  • Lunch ~ Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
  • Dinner ~ BBQ Chicken

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Tuesday’s at the track, week 4

Last week’s workout was tough for me because I felt out of place at the track with all the other super speedy runners so I was very apprehensive about tonight's workout.  Thankfully it went better than I expected!

We chatted with our Coach and then did a nice and easy warm-up before starting the workout; and followed our last sets {I did three sets; the husband did 4} with a cool down.

Tonight’s workout:
bleachers & 800’s

bleachers = 0.34 / 5:21
800 = 5:11
rest = 2:30
bleachers = 0.33 / 5:39
800 = 5:23
rest = 2:30
bleachers = 0.34 / 5:52
400 = 2:42

Total mileage with warm-up & cool down = 3.48

I feel really good about tonight’s workout!  I really pushed and gave it all I had.  I am still having a hard time with starting too fast and losing my steam and I really need to start focusing of staring slow and finishing strong.  Right now, for me, the most important part is that I feel like I’m improving.  I feel like I’m becoming a stronger runner and moving from a beginner into intermediate status as a runner … and I couldn’t be more excited!!!

I’m definitely thinking that after doing a Jillian workout DVD yesterday and three sets of bleachers tonight that I better be wearing some flats to work tomorrow because I have a feeling I am going to be very sore!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Meal Plan Monday {June 14}

I noticed over the weekend that we have a couple of zucchini ready in our garden to be picked so in addition to having those to munch on with some hummus I am going to make some zucchini patties this week!  I LOVE fresh zucchini from our garden!  We have 5 plants this year.  I am really looking forward to lots & lots & lots of zucchini this summer :)

I also noticed over the weekend how big Lucy is getting!  She is growing sooo fast.  We had to get a new collar and harness already!  We are still taking her to the dog park twice a week but she is still scared and skittish around the other dogs; mainly the bigger ones.  We’ve also been putting her on a runner in the yard for a couple of hours during the week.  She uses this time to dig small holes to China in our yard OR chew on an old cable wire sticking out of the wall AND the foam around the water pipes.  Oh puppy!  She really does like to be outside and I like to limit her crate time whenever possible so we’ll keep putting her out there and Jon will keep filling the holes back up with dirt :)

On this weeks menu …

Monday ~ Zucchini Patties with stir-fry veggies {frozen mix from Costco} over chow mien noodles

Taco Tuesday ~ Shredded Chicken Tacos

Wednesday ~ Rice Cooker Rice & Black Beans

Thursday ~ leftover Enchilada’s {from the freezer}

Pizza Friday ~ Mediterranean Herb Pizza {based on this recipe}


  • Breakfast ~ Bagels & Green Monster’s
  • Lunch ~ Sandwiches
  • Dinner ~ Greek Pasta {based on this recipe}


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Garden Update #1 & #2

We planted our garden back in April and then we had a lot of rain and cold temperatures for a long few weeks.  And now finally the weather is getting warmer and the rain has finally gone away!  The garden is growing and we’ve even been able to harvest some cilantro and will be picking some zucchini this weekend too!

Here are some photos & updates since we planted.


Everything is starting to grow!!!










Harvest Cilantro:
We used this cilantro to make homemade salsa :)


Everything is getting even bigger!  The cilantro is overgrown so I pulled it.  One jalapeno is dead as some leaves from the zucchini plant next to it shaded it.  I transplanted the other jalapeno plant to a more sunny location of the bed.  The tomatoes are taking over!  Every single zucchini plant split and they were fighting for nutrients/water and only half of them producing zucchini that were not dying off so I pulled the ones that were doing badly.  The strawberries are really starting to get big and blooming flowers/fruit.  The cucumber have taken off in the past couple of weeks!  I can’t wait for all these veggies to be ready to be picked!





In just the few days since I pulled out the bad zucchini plants the 5 that are left have really started to do a lot better.  We’ve got a couple of zucchini ready to be picked!


The transplanted jalapeno is doing pretty good!  We’ve got three little peppers growing!!!


These 4 tomato plants are out of control!  We are going to have sooo many tomatoes!  I can’t wait :)


Adventures in Sewing: The First Project {coasters}

For last Christmas my mom gifted me with a brand new SEWING MACHINE.  I really have no idea how to sew but I was excited to learn and get started.  My sister-in-law came over one day in January and helped me set up the machine and taught me how to fill a bobbin and thread the needle and she also helped me learn how to change the type of stitch I am doing.  I was, and still am, very intimidated by the machine and the whole sewing process.  A few weeks later I purchased a pattern to make some sewing room accessories, primarily a sewing machine cover.  But, before I start on that project I really wanted to try something a little bit smaller and easier. 

I did some searching online and found this amazing tutorial about how to make SQUARE COASTERS.  The instructions were very simple and easy to follow and so I decided to give it a try.  I have a small collection of remnants that I have been picking up each time I go to Joann’s or Wal-mart ever since I got my sewing machine so all I needed to get was some batting.  I took a quick trip to Joann’s and picked up some batting, which was on sale AND since I had my husband {aka the TEACHER} with me we got an additional 15% off {teachers can get a discount on all purchases ~ if you are a teacher you definitely need to make sure to get your discount card}.  Once we got back home I got busy cutting fabric and batting, changing the thread on the machine and loading up a new bobbin.  Then I sewed my very first project ~ a COASTER. 

My first coaster did not turn out PERFECTLY but … it still serves it purpose and looks okay {as long as you don’t look too closely}.  I used some Simpson’s fabric that I picked up at Wal-mart since I wanted this first coaster to be for my husband and he loves The Simpson’s.  This was the first time I have sewn anything that was not a straight line on a practice piece of fabric.  I ended up having to hand stitch one of the corners and the opening after I was finished.  All in all … I was proud of my first project and decided to tackle two more coasters that same night. 


Here are the other two coasters I made that first night also:

The husband actually picked out this cute cat fabric when we were at Joann’s picking up the batting for this project.  Isn’t it super cute???  This coaster turned out pretty good, but I still need LOTS and LOTS more practice. 


For this plaid coaster I used a decorative stitch to close the opening after it I turned it right side out.  I have yet to master how to stitch in a straight line so my STAR STITCH actually ran off the side of the fabric a little.  OOPS. 

Now that I have the basic knowledge of how to make these coasters I plan to make a nice little stash of them for us to use around our home and then I want to make some for my co-workers.  And, with my own sewing machine, I’ve got a growing list of items I want to make.  I can’t wait :)

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Feather Falls Hike

Over the Memorial Day Weekend we hiked into Feather Falls with my nephew and his girlfriend.

Warning – this post is jammed packed with photos!  View at your own risk :)


The Feather Falls Scenic Area is located about 25 miles outside of my hometown in the Plumas National Forest but I had never hiked the trail all the way to the falls.  This was one of our 2010 Goals

Feather Falls is the 6th highest waterfall in the US.  The trail is considered moderately steep and is about 7-9 miles roundtrip from the beginning of the trail head to the observation deck across the canyon from the falls. 



Once you are on the trial head you come to a crossing and can choose either a shorter loop of 3.3 miles or a longer route of 4.5 miles.  There are several web pages that offer different suggestions about which trails to take and we decided to take the longer trail into the falls and the shorter trail out, as was suggested on one of the web pages I viewed that said if you take the long route in and the short route out then you will have the most down hill hiking with only a couple of the last miles uphill back to the beginning of the trail head. 

The trails are beautiful and well maintained.  We went on Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend and the weather was beautiful.  We hit the trail around 8:15 am and arrived at the top of the falls around 10:30ish.  Overall we hiked 8.44 miles with an active hiking time of 5:20:56 ~ leaving the car at 8:15am and arriving back at the car at 2:45pm.  We spent a couple of hours at the top of the falls, while my nephew fished, and over at the observation deck before we headed back to the car and out of the canyon/forest.  According to my Garmin, our highest elevation was 2585 feet and I burned around 950 calories! 

The 4.5 mile loop into the falls was a relatively easy hike.  There were a few uphill sections but nothing too steep. 


About 1 mile into the hike we stopped at Frey Falls so my nephew could fish.  And, to take photos of course! 








A lot of the hike is shaded by the trees of the forest but occasionally we were in the sunshine ~ luckily it was not too hot and it was still early in the day. 


We stopped for a few minutes to capture some photos of Bald Rock.  I’ve never been there either. 


Then we finally reached another trail head marker stating that it was another half mile to the falls.  On ward … and up ward we went. 



And we finally came out of the trees and saw this beautiful view.  BUT instead of going to the observation deck to really take in the beauty of the falls we keep hiking.  To the top.  The top of the falls. 


Of course there was more fishing!  And we also ate lunch.  Then it was time to check out the top of the falls.




It was pretty amazing to be standing at the top the falls. 





We climbed out to that fenced in area, right on the edge of the cliff, to capture the last three photos above.  It was amazing and terrifying at the same time!


Then we hiked back around the canyon and over to the observation deck. 











We spent a couple of hours at the top of the falls and the observation deck.  The nephew caught approximately 15 fish that day!  Strange fact I learned about my 20 year old nephew that day = he kisses every single fish that he catches before he throws them back!  Yuck.


We took the shorter trail out of the falls and back to the car.  BIG MISTAKE.  It stared out fine, steep downhill, but then it got bad.  Very bad.  Steep inclines for the last 2+ miles!  It was a HARD climb out of there. 




Finally we got back to the parking lot.  I was NOT a happy hiker when we took this photo below.  I was hot.  I was tired.  My legs were shaking from climbing uphill on a steep incline for two hours.  I was exhausted.  And, starving! 


But, the hike was sooo worth it.  The Feather Falls are beautiful and I’m so happy we did the hike and got to see the amazing views, stand on top of the falls, and spend the day with each other in the great outdoors.  One more item crossed off our 2010 Goals too!