Polar Dash 10k

365 Project: Day 32 I ran my first race of 2012 on New Year’s Day… the Polar Dash 10k in Minneapolis. It was one of the most fun races ever. Team Ortho Foundation puts on this–and many other races like it throughout the year… and they are always fun. A bonus is that they give great gear (hoodies, jackets, etc.) as part of your registration, and they stand out from other races because they have race entertainment and give medals for distances less than a marathon or half marathon (also a nice perk if you’re into medals). 🙂 As fun as I knew it would be, I always fight pre-run jitters. It disappears once I get running, but you’d think the jitters AND the throwing up at the finish line would end after running so many races. Well, they both still happen. Yes, I did throw up at the Polar Dash finish line. (Poor guy whose shoes got in my way.) You wouldn’t know it by this picture, but it’s true. Well… here I am, wearing my medal, feeling good, and about to hit the hot chocolate stand.  For the last week, the weather people have been talking up weather advisories and such, with wind gusts up to 50 mph for New Year’s Day. It was cold and windy, but not as severe as they predicted. Since I was mentally prepared for the worst, it wasn’t bad. We, who live in Minnesota, know that we live in a land of extremes, so we are never too surprised by things the weather can do. I like to think it just makes us tougher than we already are. I have never been an outdoor, winter weather runner. Dodging ice patches and tromping through snow in freezing temps, all while exercising? The comfort of my own treadmill has always been far too appealing. Maybe I’ll work on getting out of that mindset this winter. I guess this explains why I have never been able to justify the investment of winter running wear. I have one pair of actual running pants that I wore in my first marathon 10 years ago, that I still wear in cold weather today. (They’re the skin-tight kind, so I wear yoga pants over them so I don’t have to be distracted by my own self-consciousness.) This is a rabbit-trail, but I have to say it… I keep saying that not every runner has a runner’s body, so for people like me who have insecurities wearing skin-tight pants (with a shirt that doesn’t cover), it would be nice if we could have more options… like long shirts to cover up our “female fat zones”, don’t you think? That way, everyone could focus on the run, and not be distracted by such things. Maybe I’m the only one who thinks about this stuff. I would really like looser pants and longer shirts that are stylish. That’s all I’m saying. Okay, I’m done. Jon gave me a Dick’s Sporting Goods gift card for Christmas, so I was super blessed to spend money he knows I’d never spend on myself for a few new running things. The gift card made it easier, but I still couldn’t believe the prices of some of that stuff. And surprise, surprise… there were no long shirts on their shelves. Harrumph!   I’m registered for several races this winter, and I’m looking forward to getting out there and making sure I keep my body healthy. I’m an 11 ½-year non-smoker, and I know what it feels like to be winded just going up a flight of stairs, so I never take a healthy body for granted–whether it’s my heart, my lung capacity, my muscles, or anything else. I’ve had to work hard for every improvement in my health, and I have seen amazing transformations in my mind and body from the inside out this past year. I’ve pushed myself beyond what I thought I had in me. I am very competitive with myself, so in 2012, one of my goals is to improve my times, so I’ll keep pushing even harder, do my very best, never give up, and trust that God’s grace will be there to help me every step of the way! Joshua 1:9 ~ …Strength! Courage! Don’t be timid; don’t get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you...

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A Gifted Italian

365 Project: Day 31 Yesterday was the last day of 2011 and the last day of December, which means I’ve stuck with this 365 thing for 1/12 of a year. That feels a little milestone-ish. Yay! Also yesterday, Jon and I and Hannah went downtown and picked up my packet for the 10k I’d be running on New Year’s Day morning (which happened to be today). The packet had my timing chip and race number in it, but I also got a nice 1/4-zip polar fleece pull-over as part of my registration. I love races that give fun gear. After that, we stopped over at Jon’s dad’s house to visit, since it would be the last time we’d see my sister- and brother-in-law and nephew before they flew back to Connecticut/ New York. It was New Year’s Eve, but since I always like to be home the night before a race (nerves, I guess), we stayed just long enough to do some munching while we visited, we played a game, and then we also got to enjoy the gourmet cooking of my brother-in-law, David, who is 100% Italian. Not only is he a great guy, he is truly gifted. Blessed with Italian-ness… and a gifted photographer, but his cooking… you wouldn’t believe his cooking (also a gift from on high). I wish you all could have enjoyed it with us. They’ll be moving to Minnesota at some point in the near future, and we are all trying to convince him to open a restaurant… or even a stand at the State Fair. If he does, I’ll be sure to let you know. Then you don’t have to just take my word for it. Here’s David, serving everyone his famous pasta and sauce. It’s not just any sauce. Trust me. It’s the most flavor-packed, meaty, basily, yumness of all 2011. It’s always fascinating to watch a master at work, don’t you think? As you can see, Jon thought so too. We all admire his skills.  He also made this caprese salad roll-type of thing. I think he said it had a name, but I couldn’t hear him talking. I was too busy staring at this platter and drooling. All I know is that it has basil and tomatoes wrapped in mozzarella, and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper. I’m not sure if there’s more to it, but it was simply delicious.  One more thing I know is how to pronounce ‘caprese’ in proper Italian form. If you ever want to sound like you know your stuff, say it like this: kuh-pray-zay… with the emphasis on the ‘pray’. I hope that will come in handy for you someday. We ate, and then we headed home shortly after. I was all carbed up and ready for my race the next day. Good timing with that meal choice, right? So many of our sweetest memories in life, especially during the holiday season, seem to be with friends and family. And have you noticed that there’s usually food involved? David, thank you for sharing your gift with us at Christmas and New Year’s! It will remain a big part of our memories of 2011. Can’t wait until you, Julie, and Sam come back to Minnesota–to stay! 1 Peter 4:10 ~ God has given each of you a gift. Use it to help each other. This will show God’s loving-favor. So, are you sharing your gift(s) with the people around you, or are you keeping them to yourself? Yours is a unique gift, and when God gave it to you, He meant for it to be shared. In case you didn’t know....

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I’m no pro…

365 Project: Day 30 This has been a Christmas vacation to remember, which makes me so glad that I started my 365 project in December, instead of waiting for January 1st. I actually have a record of many of the things we did, so that’s going to be super fun to digital scrapbook (when I actually get going on that!). It seems like we’ve spent more time out-and-about than at home, which is so unusual. I love being at home. It’s my favorite place to be. I might need a vacation from my vacation when all is said and done. Not really. 🙂  It’s actually been very refreshing just being with the family—no matter what we’ve been doing. And as much as I love my job (and that’s a lot), it’s been refreshing also to not think about work for awhile, and all the things that will need my attention when I go back. On the eve of New Year’s Eve, here’s me, kicked back in my bowling shoes at the bowling alley after nearly doubling my score from game one to game three. A proud moment.  Don’t be fooled by the bowling shoes. I’m no pro. (The scoreboard doesn’t lie.) Jon and I bought ourselves bowling shoes a couple years ago because we hated having to pay $3 per PERSON each time we went bowling… just to spend a couple hours in someone else’s stinky shoes. It always felt like such a rip-off to me. These shoes are, in fact, totally an attempt at cost-saving, and nothing more. The scoreboard will clearly tell people I can barely break 100, but I can’t help myself. I have to let everyone know I know I’m not very good. I always have to explain to people that I’m here just for the “fun of it”, and then I have to tell them the whole story about how I love saving money and all that. As if they care, but I keep on. In the long run, we’re better off, and the shoes pay for themselves fairly quickly if we actually GO bowling. It’s like using a $6 coupon each time we set foot in a bowling alley! It’s a little thing, but is that fun or what?! If you ever go bowling with me, be prepared to hear the story all over again. Matthew 25:21 ~ His master said to him, “Well done, you upright (honorable, admirable) and faithful servant! You have been faithful and trustworthy over a little; I will put you in charge of much. Enter into and share the joy (the delight, the blessedness) which your master...

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Hummus is yummus!

365 Project: Day 29 It was a good day at Costco. Look what’s back. That’s right… Hannah’s Hommus Singles!!!!  If you’re going to have a store-bought hummus, this is the best around. “Best” is a subjective word, so if you try it and don’t agree, I’m sorry. It’s in individual packages, so it won’t go bad by the time you have a chance to eat it all up. I was so sad, almost heart-broken, when they stopped selling it 95 days ago. I didn’t really count the days, but I’m glad if you trust me enough to believe that I wouldn’t lie to you. I wouldn’t. I was just being funny. My husband tells me that if you have to tell people you were being funny, then… were you really funny? Anywhoooo… we can save that for another time. Back to the hummus. I sent the Hannah’s Hommus people a message on Facebook recently, telling them I need to know where else I could buy it, and they said NOWHERE! And then they suggested I ask Costco to sell it again. It’s not sold anywhere else in the Minneapolis/ St. Paul area. Seriously? How can that be? That is a monopoly if I ever did hear one. Competition makes the world go ‘round. We need more Hannah’s Hommus options, don’t you think? Also, it’s disappointing when Costco frequently just up and stops selling things without warning us, giving us zero chance to stock up… and then we also never know if they’ll ever sell it again. It sends loyal consumers into an emotional rollercoaster and frenzy. I hope they don’t do that on purpose. So, at least for now, my fridge is stocked with Hannah’s Hommus, which I will dip fresh vegetables in, and the occasional tortilla chip too. Why? Because hummus is YUMMUS! Praise God from whom all blessings flow....

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