Playing catch up

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Hello, lovely readers!

Life has been ticking along. T and I started another Whole30 to get back to some semblance of healthy eating before the holiday temptations roll in. (I was feeling like things were going off the rails a little too much, even before the excesses of the New York trip.) It was a little challenging at first, but I’ve been feeling really good the last few weeks. It helps when you get to eat awesome food, such as this SB&J Burger:

W30lunch

I’d been most concerned with fueling my longer runs with the Whole30’s “no sugar” rules, but that’s been surprisingly easy. I’ve been taking homemade applesauce and a winter squash/apple soup instead of gels/bars/whatnot. I got myself a fancy new toy to carry around all of the crazy:

FancyVest

It’s way too fancy, but I LOVE it. It fits me really well and has a million pockets. I took it out for a long test drive on Sunday and was blown away.

Speaking of Sunday, my training group has been a god-send. Every Sunday, when the alarm goes off at 0:dark:thirty, I actually get out of my warm bed and go meet a fantastic group of women for some quality miles on the trails. I sometimes am treated to scenery like this – a crystal clear view of Mount Rainier:

RainierSunriseI’ve been meaning to take some pictures of our exploits, so here are a few shots from our run on Sunday. It was chilly (in the mid-30’s/low 40’s) but clear and sunny. As you can see, the scenery is hideous:

GrandRidge1

A little before the turnaround point, there was this super cool wooden path through the woods. I had to stop and photograph it on the way back. How rad is that?

GrandRidge2I’m pleased to report that I’ve been making real progress. We ran for three hours, (and approximately 13-14 miles, depending on who’s GPS you looked at) and I felt great! The difference between trail mileage and road mileage is crazy. The few times I’ve run that long on the road, I felt like a truck had run me over, but I felt surprisingly good after this run. Plus, it was a huge confidence booster for Deception Pass.

Aside from cooking and running in the woods, it’s been business as usual. My co-workers and I took a field trip to City Target to look at Christmas decorations:

TargetHijinksAnd of course, some quality couch time with my boys:

SaturdayMorningBoys

Austin continues to find new and innovative ways to lay on the new couch:

SpecialDogWhile Wally makes the best of his dog bed covers being laundered…

WallyBeds

I have a few new adventures on the horizon that I’m pretty excited about. So, hopefully more exciting blog posts are coming your way…

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Adventures afoot

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Now that we’re back from our jet-setting adventure, it’s time for a good old-fashioned training post! My Deception Pass training has taken a real beating lately. Between a bout of illness and my New York trip, I hadn’t run in… *cough*… two weeks. Yikes! I joined a training group and my runs with them have been humbling to say the least. It’s a testament to how awesome trail running is that I don’t sit in my car and cry afterwards. Last weekend’s group run was at Discovery Park, which is in Seattle and very cool. I cut the group workout short, but vowed to come back the following day to do another loop.

I roped T into joining me and we brought this little troublemaker:

TR-PuppyI ran with Austin most of the way, but I made T take him down the stairs:

TR-BoyThe trails were beautiful. It’s so hard to believe we’re in the city:

TR-Trail1TR-Trail2

And the company was excellent:

TR-BoysWe lucked out on the weather, because it was pouring rain later that day. As it did for the remainder of the week. On Tuesday, I headed out in the drizzle for a lunchtime run. I’ll confess that I was not psyched. The weather was blah. My legs felt heavy. I felt like I was running in place, even though my heart-rate monitor alert was chiming like I was sprinting. Sigh. I really wanted to cut the run short, but I forced myself to do the full time.

And I’m really glad I did, because just minutes after I would have turned around, I saw a sea otter bobbing around in the Sound. I’ve never seen one, so I stopped to try and get a picture and just enjoy him. This is right before he dove back under the water:

OtterIt reminded me of how many cool things I’ve seen while out training and how fundamentally lucky I am to be able to do these things. It completely recharged my attitude and allowed me to go out with Mr. Austin in a torrential downpour for Thursday’s run. I decided to try a new route and found a new park to run through. I felt like I might get axe-murdered, but it was actually totally fine. And very pretty:

ThursdayTrailAll in all, it’s been a pretty good week. Austin’s eye is healing up and he was able to go to daycare this week, so all is well in the Dragonfire household.

Halloween hijinks

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Last year, my boss hosted a little team-building shin-dig at his place. Since it was October, there was a Halloween theme. This year, we decided to take things up a notch. There were signature cocktails (including my sparkling apple sangria). This is Reed’s pumpkin spice latte martini:

CocktailsAs with last year, he also had a fantastic spread of food and snacks. This year, we even had a craft project:

ShrinkyDinksThat’s right, Shrinky Dinks! I didn’t know they still made them. God bless Amazon!

ShrinkyDinks2

They came out pretty cool:

ShrinkyDinks3As tradition dictates, Mel brought accessories and we took pictures on the roof:

RoofPortrait1 RoofPortrait2I couldn’t resist getting a shot of our photographer:

PhotoBunnyAnd, of course, there had to be a silly selfie:

SillySelfieAnd some behind the scenes footage:

ReedBunny

OuttakesAfter some more adult beverages, the night got a even more entertaining:

BunnyEarsLoren ReedClownNose

MelClownNose

At some point, T joined us and I may or may not have ended up in a gay bar wearing bunny ears at 1 in the morning. (I swear, my life is usually not this entertaining!) Poor T had to deal with getting me home. Let’s just say he’s a rockstar and I owe him big time!

Special weekend guest

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Heidi came up to visit this weekend, which is always a good time. She got to witness our first couch purchase ever! (T had couches when we met and they’ve been in use since then. Time for a change, don’t you think?)

HV-NewCouchI have been wanting a more modern couch for a while and we definitely could use a more seating for all of the critters in our house:

HV-AustinCouchTo celebrate Heidi’s visit and the new couch, we headed out to a bar we’d been wanting to check out: Radiator Whiskey. It gets bonus points for being in Pike Place Market, so we got to show Heidi one of the big tourist sights of Seattle. They had very lovely cocktails for Heidi and I, plus scotch for the boy:

HV-FridayDrinkWe picked up some delicious salami, cheeses, and crackers on the way home and had a nice snacky dinner. There may have also been some wine…

The next day, we slept in. Then T was nice enough to show off his impressive breakfast-making skills and we had a nice relaxing morning. (Gotta break in that new couch!) I had a stroke of inspiration and remembered one of my “next time we have out of town visitor” ideas: Theo Chocolate factory tours. I looked it up and sure enough, we could book tickets for the 1:00. Woo hoo! We got over to Fremont early enough to show Heidi the famous Lenin statue:

HV-LeninStatue

Should you find yourself in Seattle, I HIGHLY recommend the Theo tour. We learned a bit about the chocolate making process, got to eat a lot of free chocolate and had a very entertaining time:

HV-TheoMeYou do have to wear hairnets, (and beard nets for the hipsters) which are VERY attractive:

HV-HairnetTrioThe factory floor:

HV-ChocolatePipeline HV-TheoFloorOne section had used empty cacao burlap bags as decor:

HV-CacaoBagsApparently, there’s a lot of sugar involved… well, for someone:

HV-TheoSugarThey make some very whimsical chocolate creations. This one is modeled after a neighborhood topiary:

HV-FremonsterBut this one was, by far, all of our favorite:

HV-ChocolateHansSoloWe chilled out at the house for a little while and then it was time for more drinks!

HV-EssexDrinksWe had to take Heidi to one of our favorite places, Delancey. And since Saturday nights usually have a longish wait time, we just had to get a cocktail (or two) at Essex next door. It was a very enjoyable evening.

For the final day of Heidi’s visit, we headed back to Ballard for a trip to my favorite breakfast spot: Skillet diner. (What can I say? You eat well at Chez Dragonfire!) We had to laugh at the name on one of the cocktails:

HV-ToddDrink

I splurged on the Serious Toast:

HV-SpecialToast

They aren’t messing around, it was AMAZING. (Plus, I was full for the rest of the day… )

Since it was a beautiful sunny day, Heidi and I spent the last day of her visit sitting in the sunshine in our backyard. It was sublime. We talked and laughed, got dive-bombed by hummingbirds, watched Austin’s crazy antics, drank some delicious cider. Honestly, I can’t imagine a more perfect way to end her visit. Then, sadly, it was time to take her to the airport and say good-bye. While I wish we lived closer and could see each other more often, at least we can pack a maximum amount of fun into a weekend!

Cider Summit

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Seattle is a town that is rightly proud of it’s beer and hosts numerous festivals for it, but this year they decided to give a nod to us hard-cider enthusiasts. T’s employer was a sponsor of the event, so he scored a free ticket and a discount code for yours truly. So, we set out for a Friday night date of cider tasting. It was a beautiful evening and there were tons of ciders to taste.

CS-Location

We enjoyed a wide variety of ciders, ranging from the fantastic to the mediocre. It was fun to try brands that we didn’t typically have access to, including one from Spain. Afterward, we headed over to Brave Horse for some more adult beverages:

CS-Drinks

and the least Paleo dinner ever:

CS-FoodEven the receipt was excited about the corn dogs:

CS-CornDogs

It was such a fun Friday night date with the boy. A welcome break from all of the training.

Endless summer

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Seattle continues to have the most awesome summer weather ever. We’ve broken records for most days over 80 degrees in the history of ever. I’m definitely in the minority of people who are happy about that, but given what the rest of the year’s weather is likely to be, I’m enjoying every second of it. Unfortunately, this leads to blog neglect, so I’ll share some snapshots of our summer adventures.

T did an open-water swim race at Lake Meridian. I’ve done this race twice as part of my Ironman training, so it was weird to watch it from the comfort of a camp chair. Here he is suiting up and getting ready to go:

PreLakeMeridianTOff into the wild blue yonder:

LakeMeridianTAnd they’re off!

LakeMeridianTstartHe did very well, beating my previous best time by ten minutes (bastard!) Plus, he got some valuable race experience and I got a lot of time to read my book in the sunshine. 🙂

We continue to be entertained by these two bozos:

SummerSleepyPups AustinBoneSleepAustin got a new toy eggplant and he’s obsessed with it. Such a silly puppy…

SummerPupsAustinvEggplantWe’ve been enjoying our summer cocktail of bourbon lemonade. I’m embarrassed to admit how quickly we went through this Costco-sized bottle of Maker’s Mark:

SummerCocktailWe balanced it out with our veggie box bounty and, of course, the occasional treat:

IceCreamWe also got to attend a fun Pink Martini concert at the zoo:

PinkMartiniCourtesy of our friends’ adopting this little nugget:

NewBirdT’s training has reached the point where you’re on the cusp of various injuries and battling all sorts of aches and pains. We did a century (100 mile) bike ride down in Portland where he had such severe lower back pain beforehand, I wasn’t sure he was going to make it four blocks. But he rallied and did the whole route and was looking pretty spry at the end. Then threw his back out adjusting the bike in the back of the Element. So, it’s been lots of physical therapy with Dr. Austin (in addition to his real PT, of course.)

PTAustinOver Labor Day weekend, I had him do another long swim to make sure his lower back wouldn’t seize up. We headed over to Seward Park, so he could do a long swim but still be close to shore in case something happened. Plus, there was a path along the shore, so I could keep an eye on him. Here he is heading out, so hardcore!

TswimSewardParkI think we’re both looking forward to the race getting here already.

T in training

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This blog is chock-full of my training exploits, but for whatever reason, the desire to train for tris has been non-existent this year. T is super gung-ho to do Leadman, so I’ve taken on the role of sherpa and joining him for parts of training as I feel like it. It’s been going pretty well. I have major FOMO (fear of missing out) about Leadman, but I’m pretty sure getting to hang out with a bunch of friends will more than make up for that. Plus, it’s been so fantastic to watch T so fired up about training. He’s been killing it in training and seems to be really enjoying the process.

He’s also learning first-hand how exhausting long course training is. The penalty for napping in our house is a bed full of animals:

NappingI think young Austin misses his dad when he’s gone. I came outside to see this. Since I know exactly how bad that sweaty run shirt smells, it MUST be love:

AustinTshirtBut he’s learned to take advantage of T’s recovery time:

TonDogBed CouchTandAustin For one of T’s long run days, we parked the car at Magnuson park, which is right next to the Burke Gilman and has a fantastic dog park. So Austin and I got to enjoy this:

AustinDogParkWhile T did this:

T-running

While T is doing all of his training, I’ve had time to tackle fun projects. Like making experimental cocktail cherries.

CherriesBuying too many things at Oiselle’s sample sale:

OiselleClothesAnd M did a Whole 30! We had them over for W30 dinner and backyard time. Rowan showed us the magic (and deliciousness) of bubbles:

RowanBubblesAnd continued her deep, abiding friendship with Wally:

RowanWally

It’s certainly a challenge balancing T’s training needs with the regular demands of life, but I think it’s going pretty well. I’ve been struggling with exercise, but I’m signing up for some new classes that I’ve been wanting to try and am plotting my next big undertaking. More on that later… In the meantime, the weekly produce box has been keeping our meals healthy. But mostly, it’s been good to switch places with T, I’m learning a lot about this side of the fence.