Easter in the Methow

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A few months ago, plans were laid for a group weekend in the Methow. Jenn & Bryan’s neighbors generously lent us their cabin for what was supposed to be eight of us. At the last minute, Timmion & Khai couldn’t make it, so it was Jenn & Bryan, Erin & David plus T and yours truly. When we’d initially planned this weekend, we were all thinking there would still be tons of snow and all of the related activities. But thanks to a warm spring, it was “mud season” (I love this term.) Bad news for skiers, but good news for someone who wanted to ride her bike outside! Even mountain biking was off the table, as the trails were too muddy, so it meant I’d get some company for my ride outside.

T and I took Friday off to extend our weekend a little bit. Seattle was blessed with some amazing sunny weather and it felt like summer as we packed up the car. Thanks to our pet-sitter bailing on us, the boys were joining us, much to their delight. We treated ourselves to breakfast at a delightfully empty Portage Bay Cafe and hit the road. I’d had big plans to go for a run when we got to the cabin, but somehow Erin’s new afternoon tradition of tequila shot happened instead:

ErinParty(Followed by smoked Alaskan sea salt for an artisinal touch. We do it up right in this group… ) After that, drinking wine on the couch and catching up with everyone became much more appealing. It was a great evening filled with a bit too much wine, great food and lots of good conversation. There may have even been some making out on the couch…

TyrTThe next morning we relaxed by a cozy fire, elegantly represented here by Tyr:

TyrFireThen Erin texted us an invite for coffee/breakfast in their cabin. We walked over to enjoy this horrible view while we ate. (I know… it’s a tough life!)

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MethowViewThe plan for the day was some bike riding in the sunshine. David was planning a long ride (He’s training for Ironman Coeur D’Alene at the end of June), so Erin and I made plans for a 2-hour ride on part of the beautiful route we’ve ridden in the past. Because I’ve only been on the trainer so far this year, I was really excited to see what all of those power numbers mean “in the real world.” Unfortunately, my powermeter decided not to talk to the Garmin, so that was not to be. But I did get to ride outside in the sunshine, on empty roads, chit-chatting with Erin. It was bliss! (Alas, I didn’t manage to get any pictures of the ride, but it was amazing.)

Originally, the plan was meet T in Twisp, but there was a bit of a comedy of errors. The natural foods market where we’d planned to have lunch was closed, so he’d texted that he’d meet us in Withrop instead. Unfortunately, I had no cell service, so I’d texted him from Winthrop but didn’t get his message until we were in Twisp. So, he had to do a bit of driving around. Luckily, the bakery in Twisp was open so Erin & I were able to get some coffee and treats while we waited for T. I apparently was hungry, as I inhaled a cinnamon roll concoction. Mmmmm…  We then met up with Bryan and Jenn for lunch in Winthrop. The place had great food, beer for the boys and these great carved wooden beer taps:

TapsWe had a few hours to relax before dinner. Jenn, Bryan and I took the dogs for a little hike/walk, which was nice. Then it was time to get cleaned up to go out for a delicious Italian dinner. More amazing food, wine and company. Seriously, it was a little insane:

DinnerThe next morning was Easter Sunday. We kicked it off with a little run. It turned out to be just the girls with Wally & Tyr. Since I didn’t get pictures of yesterdays ride, I tried to make up for it today. (Wally is very helpful in this regard, as he likes to take breaks from time to time… )

Tyr was raring to go:

TyrRunThe scenery was terrible, as usual.

RunViewIt was lovely to run along on an empty dirt road, with Wally trotting along beside me. It was warm enough to run in short sleeves (actually a bit warmer than that… ) After being denied a swim in frozen pond at the turnaround, Wally cooled off in the snowpile next to the car:

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Tyr gave him some pointers (Ha! See what I did there?):

DogsSnowThen it was back to the house for breakfast and an Easter basket exchange. As expected, this group did it up right and we all walked away with lots of goodies. Sadly, we then had to start packing up to hit the road. It was such a lovely weekend in all respects, that none of us wanted to leave. But alas, there was a real world to return to and a long drive home. We enjoyed a last bit of indulgence with a burger and milkshake in Cashmere.

So many thanks to Jenn and Bryan for hosting us and Erin/David for the great company. I’m so lucky to have all of you guys in my life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Let the madness begin (again)

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Well, this happened:

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While I’ve been planning to do this race for about a month now, there’s something official about pulling the trigger and registering.

I’ve added the biking and swimming to my training and the net result is that my running sucks now. I’m slow in the water, but that’s to be expected after approx. six months off (oops!) But I had been doing really well with my running, so it’s upsetting to see it suddenly get so hard. I can only assume it’s the addition of the biking. Hopefully, my legs will adjust to the new activity soon. We’ve got a lot of work to do!

Paleo-noes

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We’ve been keeping to the paleo diet for the most part. We’re not super strict about it and if we certainly have indulged in off-plan foods. But for some unknown reason, I thought it would be fun to try to make paleo pancakes. I came across this recipe for “PB&J Pancakes” that looked really yummy. I mean, look at this lovely, enticing stack of goodness!

pbj-pancakes1Now, I should have known something was up when I tried to make the coconut butter for the topping the night before and it took like 20 times longer than the recipe said it would and never really turned out quite right. (And it’s a super complicated recipe: put coconut flakes in food processor for 8-10 minutes… )

But my experience making them was such a comedy of errors, I made a collage of it and put it on Instagram:

PaleoFail(Somehow, the hipster filters make the disastrous pancakes seem less painful.)

And yes, we finally put the batter on a cookie sheet and made them that way, which was the most successful outing of the various attempts. Even T, the pancake master, couldn’t get them to behave. The saddest part is that they smelled amazing and tasted pretty good (if you expand your definition of pancakes to be more like cookies… ) The stupid topping was way too thick for the delicate “pancakes”, so I definitely wouldn’t bother with it next time. On the whole, I’ve gotta say I think I’ll just stick to the real thing when I’m craving pancakes for breakfast…

Baby Blue

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Susan came up for a visit and brought the newest member of the dog pack, her new puppy Blue:

Blue1It should be noted that he is only 16 weeks old and nearly as big as Smokey Joe. He’s going to be GINORMOUS. But he’s the sweetest baby and had a lot of fun playing in the backyard:

IMG_4083He and Wally had a really good time ‘rassling around.

BoysPlayingMeal times were serious business:

WaitingAnd after all of that playtime, there was a seriously sleepy puppy:

Blue3For some reason, he really liked to sleep in the sliver of space behind the couch.

Blue2Most of the weekend was spent hanging out with the dog pack, but we did also have some other Seattle fun. Susan and I went for a run along the waterfront on a glorious sunny Saturday. And when it rained on Sunday, the three of us went to the Bike Expo (it wasn’t quite as fun as last years outing, but we had a good time.) We had M & J over so Susan could meet baby Rowan and just spent a lot of time hanging out and catching up. It was a really nice visit. We’ll head down to Salem in April. I can’t wait to see the size difference of baby Blue. (gulp.)

 

 

Race report: Hot Chocolate 15k

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I’ll admit it, I signed up for this race for the chocolate. And the hooded sweatshirt they advertised on their website.

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Cute, right? Plus, I like the 15k distance and they are not super common.

Since I haven’t run anything longer than six miles, I didn’t have any notions of racing/setting any PRs. (though you always hope for some race day magic.) I planned to do my heart rate thing and see how it went. I’d told my co-worker Reed about the race and he’d signed up as part of his marathon training. Since both of us were in a “not really racing” mode, we decided to run it together.

For some reason, they started the 5k first, so I had to plow through a million chocolate clutching racers to get to our start corral and made it with about five minutes to race start. Luckily, there were wave starts, so we actually had closer to fifteen minutes. I found Reed with no problem and we found a good spot at the front of our corral.

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After much “ubiquitous race announcer inane patter”, we were off! I set a conservative pace and felt good. It helped that we were going down a nice gentle downhill. Turns out that it was going to be nothing but hills, either up or down for the rest of the race. I kept my pace steady and ran under my heart rate as best I could, and felt pretty good for the most part.

We were blessed with a gorgeous sunny day and the view as we were chugging up the Aurora Bridge was beautiful. We had fun making snarky remarks and it was fun to have company. My stomach wasn’t super happy, but my legs and lungs felt great. My HR monitor only beeped at me twice, which given all of the hills is something of a miracle.

Finally, we ran up the final .3 mile hill to the finish line. I didn’t think I was going to want the finish line chocolate, but it actually sounded pretty good. (I only could eat about half of it, for fear of stomach ache.) T met me at the finish line, so I made him take a post-race victory photo of Reed and I:

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For being the first year they’ve done this race, I thought it was very well-run. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who likes hooded sweatshirts, hills and chocolate.