I Did It! Inspiring Hope 5k Recap

Last year at this time I ran the Inspiring Hope 10k, after having trained since January and ran it in 1:01. I was a little disappointed in myself for not having finished in under an hour. I went into that race feeling strong, and had just run another 10k a few weeks previously so I knew what I could do if I had a good day. The time was 5 minutes faster than my previous race, but I still had some gas in the tank afterwards, so I probably could have pushed a little harder.

A few days after that race, I hurt my hip and was out for a couple of months.

Now this year is a completely different story. Since my surgery in March,
I have not run more than a mile and a half without stopping. I’ve only been allowed to run for three weeks, and I have the ankle injury to contend with. Plus I developed a sore back the day before the race.

I kind of figured I’d be doing a lot of walking.

What actually happened was this.

I woke up at 6:30 and got dressed in my running getup, including the compression stocking things that my Physical Therapist suggested I wear to keep my ankle from getting inflamed. Then I drove to the store to get milk and some cash to register for the race.

After driving home, I walked over to the start / finish area, which was in the lunch room of Kamiak High School near my house. I jogged a short portion of the way just to check out the ankle and how it was feeling. It seemed fine so that was encouraging. The back was still a bit sore but not as bad as yesterday, which was also encouraging. Seemed to be the kind of thing that would shake out after running a bit.

I got to the registration area, signed up and handed over my fee. They asked how fast I thought I would go, and since I didn’t really know they suggested I go with the second wave. I decided that was fine.

I checked my jacket and swag bag, milled around the vendor fair, drank some coffee and ran into my friend W. Talked to her for a bit. Bought a new little belt thing to keep my phone in while I run. I even used it during the race.

Before the race there was some sort of guided warm up thing and announcements. We couldn’t hear the announcements so we were chatting and goofing around and some crabby person said, “you’d be able to hear if you stopped talking.”

Sure, but it’s more fun to do my Charlie Brown teacher imitation!

Pretty soon it was 9am and the first wave went. I had to wait until 9:05 for the second wave to start. As soon as it did I realized I was in the wrong wave. I spent a couple minutes running at a fast but comfortable pace and before long had passed almost everyone in the wave.

I spent the rest of the race chasing down an older gray haired gentleman who was first in our wave, and a young couple running together (a brown haired girl in a ponytail and her male companion in a red Seattle Marathon shirt) who ended up being second and third. I ended up fourth but ponytail girl and her boyfriend were behind me for part of the middle section of the race. They caught me when I took a walk break at the water station at mile 2.

The course itself is pretty easy for the 5k. Two small hills, one at the beginning and one at the end, the rest of the race is pretty flat. Most of the course has you running on wide sidewalks, with a couple of forays into the road. The whole thing is paved – no trails.

The course is basically my regular running route, so as a first foray back into racing, it really couldn’t have been much easier.

I had to leave before results came out, because my kids both had baseball games and also they were very eager to get to our town’s “Touch a Truck” display before the games, but I knew my time was somewhere in the range of 31 minutes, because it was 9:36 when I came across, and my wave took off at 9:05.

I had to wait until Sunday to find out my actual time. Final race results said it was 30:48 total time, which brought me in 29th place out of 128 in the 5k, and third in my age group. For a first race back with almost no training, I thought that was a pretty great place to start.

Breathless

Edited to add: in the less 24 hours since this was posted, more than 400 people have visited this website. That’s a lot of hits for a blog that is usually about the mundane topics of running, eating and parenting. I know it’s not because of my writing, but because of the difference that Hillary made in the world, that people are coming to read this post. I fear my post doesn’t do her justice, but she was someone I loved and wanted to remember. I hope my memories help to keep her alive in yours.

We met when you were 21 and I was 31.

This was an interlude in your life – a break between acts. You had just finished undergraduate work at Tulane, moved back to Seattle and hadn’t yet decided what your next step would be. You were determined to make a difference. In the short term, you needed a paycheck. We needed an office administrator who could write, and boy, could you write. So the temp service sent you over.

You know when you meet someone and you immediately feel that you and this person will be friends? That’s how it was. Like falling in love. I would later learn that you had this effect on people. They either loved you or hated you. Mostly, they loved you – often with ferocity.

I often wondered what it was about you that elicited such strong feelings.

Maybe part of it was, you were demanding. People sometimes say that and mean it as an insult. But it’s not. We should all be more demanding. You demanded that people take you on your own terms. You demanded things from yourself and others.

You gave careful thought to your own opinions, and demanded others do the same – I never knew you to suffer fools without at least a few insightful questions. You were idealistic, and also kind, encouraging, thoughtful, and so very funny.

After you had worked at our office a few weeks, people started wondering about this persistent cough you had. It was a hack. It sounded like a smokers hack, but you didn’t smoke.

One of the sales guys that worked in our office came into my office one day and told me to talk to you about the cough. See if something could be done. It bothered him, and part of my job was to keep guys like him happy. It was awkward, but had to be done.

At first, your response was amusing. As we were already friends, you confided in me that you were hiding a tiny flask of brandy in your desk. The brandy was to calm the cough. I was both shocked at the idea of drinking alcohol at work (horrors!) and sort of taken with the idea at the same time.

Drinking at work sounded awfully attractive sometimes.

What you told me next threw me for a loop. I asked if you had seen a doctor for the cough. As I recall, you sort of smiled, then told me you had the cough due to Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis, an extremely rare disease that would likely kill you before you were 30 unless a cure could be found.

You told me you had known since you were a teenager. And that you were something of a medical oddity – one of just a few people on the planet with the disease, at 21 you were already sort of “famous” in the medical community.

Your disease was a mystery – no known cause or cure, all doctors could do was treat symptoms, with limited success. However, the treatments themselves were sometimes as bad as the disease – medications given for the disease, medications given for the side effects of the medications for the disease. Your bathroom at home looked like a small apothecary.

The disease itself, you told me, would get progressively worse until finally it robbed you of breath completely.

For anyone who knew you well enough, this was the unspoken demand – love me, be my friend, stay to watch the whole movie, even knowing how it ends. I think you sort of made light of it – aside from the cough it was still possible to downplay things. But, I still went home and cried that day – my first and only friendship bookended by tears.

Your favorite movie when I knew you was “The Princess Bride.” Early in our friendship when you found out I hadn’t seen it, you were appalled and demanded that I watch it with you.

I suspect, you being the kind of person you were, that you also read the book by William Goldman. People have a lot of theories as to what the point of the movie was, but Goldman was pretty clear about it in the book. The point was that life’s not fair.

Goldman wrote, “Look. (Grown ups skip this paragraph.) I’m not about to tell you that this book has a tragic ending. I already said in the very first line how it was my favorite in all the world. But there’s a lot of bad stuff coming up, torture you’ve already been prepared for, but there’s worse. There’s death coming up, and you’d better be prepared for this: some of the wrong people die. Be ready for it.”

I wondered what it would be like to be one of the wrong people, and to know it. To know you would be robbed of the years most of us take for granted in our youth. In my 20s and 30s, time seemed to stretch on, limitless and abundant. The idea that this was not the case was still foreign. Death was only beginning to make itself known to me.

Only now that I am well past 30 (past 40!) am I truly beginning to realize how limited our time really is – even for those who live a long time.

But as time went on, I saw how you lived with it. You simply got on with your life, and didn’t waste time. You realized very early what it took me many years to learn – that life is too short to spend it in a holding pattern, letting our fears keep us to the safe and narrow, waiting for life to start. Life’s not fair, and it’s too short to waste it living a life you aren’t passionate about, or to spend it with people who don’t love or value you.

In spite of health problems that made life difficult, you never let those things be a reason not to do the things you could do. You had fun, took risks, even risks that were a little crazy sometimes.

Like that time we nearly killed you in the Yakima River. Accidentally, of course – it turns out four people and a cooler of beer in a small raft on an ice cold, wild river is not the smartest situation to be in when one of those four is prone to life threatening breathing episodes if exposed to extreme cold.

We all fell in. You came up and couldn’t breathe.

You were scared. We were scared for you. You were sorry we were scared. You were sad that the beer was gone.

That situation showed me something. It showed me your brave spirit, and the fact you were smart enough to know that you can’t be so afraid of dying that you fail to live.

Why shouldn’t a young woman be able to go rafting with friends, after all? Youth is the time to have fun and make mistakes, even when facing an uncertain future.

The interlude came to a close and you grabbed hold of your life like a person dying of thirst grabs hold of a water bottle – with gusto, bravado, even desperation sometimes.

You drank it down in great gulps, because life is not for sipping. It’s meant to be guzzled – lived fully – until the bottle runs dry.

You knew this. And because you knew, you demanded the most from life. You followed your dreams and achieved them. You earned a PhD. You married young to a steadfast man, and you loved one another intensely. You wrote amazing poetry that only you could have written.

In doing these things, you showed those of us who knew you what it means to live richly.

Some things were left unfinished, words left unsaid, but that’s how it is when you run out of time.

In your short 35 years on this earth, you accomplished much. You leave behind a beautiful legacy – a devoted husband, family and friends who loved you deeply, a body of poetic work that provides insight into the experience of being souls living in bodies that will ultimately betray us (as all bodies will), and students and readers who will continue to be inspired by your work for years to come.

Hillary, my beautiful friend – thank you for your friendship and for living your life the way you did. On that day we hired a temp, I never expected that I was about to meet a teacher and a friend. I am so grateful it was you who walked through that door.

I will always miss you, and never forget you.

From her poem “Exuberance”


You stay here. Let me run into that starring role, pinker and more flooded with blood:
Remember when it meant exuberance, remember awe?
Let’s be that breathless.

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Hillary Anne Gravendyk Burrill
March 1, 1979 – May 10, 2014

Restaurant Review – Milltown Lounge

We have a new restaurant review feature here at the EatandRunmom. These reviews are made possible by our local YMCA’s Parent’s Night Out program.

Once a month on a Friday, my husband and I tell our kids it’s Kids Night Out. They get to go to the YMCA and play in the pool, eat pizza and pretend to be superheroes or knights.

We get to go on a date.

Last night was Kids Night Out – or Parents Night Out, if we’re being honest. Fortunately, my kids can’t read well enough to know I’m misrepresenting this to them yet. So we dropped them off, and set off on our date.

We didn’t really have a specific plan in mind, but we knew what we were looking for. Someplace cozy and warm, not too far away, not crowded or expensive, with a good happy hour and tasty food.

We found it in the Milltown Lounge in downtown Edmonds. It’s located in the recently renovated Milltown center on 5th street. The front of the center still has it’s “old west” feel but has been modernized with new paint, signage and landscaping. It is much more attractive than it once was.

Inside, the Milltown Lounge has a classic bar, and a separate dining room. The decor is red, black, wood and leather. It has sort of a dark European cafe sort of feel.

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We arrived in time for happy hour, which features $1 off draft pints and glass pour wines, and $5 classic cocktails. We decided the classic cocktails sounded good, so I ordered a Sidecar, and my husband ordered a Greyound. Both were tasty. Mine was nicely presented with an orange peel strip and sugared glass rim. So pretty.

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As an appetizer we ordered the smoked Gouda with Baguette, also $5. It was served promptly, the baguette thinly sliced and lightly spread with garlic butter.

For dinner, I ordered a Cuban sandwich, served with a side of green spring mix salad with vinaigrette. The Cuban’s marinated pork had just a hint of Jamaican jerk spice, and was served on a ciabatta roll, complemented with jalapeƱos, tomato and aioli sauce. The sandwich was slightly sweet and fairly spicy.

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My husband ordered Roasted Garlic Prawns from the small plates menu. The prawns were rubbed lightly with cayenne and roasted with garlic lime and olive oil. He requested some additional bread to soak up the juice from the prawns. He said his dish was very good, but next time he wants to try the bacon wrapped shrimp tacos.

The Milltown Lounge has some interesting choices on its dessert menu. I decided to try the Buttermilk Sorbet with Cabernet syrup, my husband opted for the Belgian Chocolate Fudge Tort with raspberry cream. Both were delicious, although I found that the sorbet was a little bit gritty with granulated ice.

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Our overall experience was very good. Service was friendly if not Johnny on the spot with water refills (after my first cocktail I switched to water as I had a race in the morning), and the prices were very reasonable. Our total bill was less than $65 including tip, for three drinks, a small plate and sandwich, plus two desserts.

I would recommend the Milltown Lounge for drinks, happy hour with friends or a date if you are looking for a low-key, friendly place with good food and drinks, and reasonable prices.

203 5th Avenue S., Suite 204
Edmonds, WA 98020
425-712-0300
Www.milltownlounge.com

PT Gave Me A Badonkadonk

After all the deep thoughts in my last post, now for something completely different…

Is it possible that my PT exercises are giving me a badonkadonk? We are doing a bunch of exercises to strengthen my gluteal and hip muscles. I looked in the mirror after I got home from the gym today and I think it looks…bigger, somehow.

It’s definitely sore, and somehow I think I tweaked something because now my lower back is hurting. I’m all seized up like a 90 year old lady. So maybe it just looks like a badonkadonk because I can’t stand up straight.

It’s definitely sticking out.

I could swear it’s bigger…

So, just a word of caution – apparently PT for ankle problems can result in a bigger butt. Anecdotal evidence – my posterior.

But hey – the ankle feels better, at least!

I’m sitting on a hot pad, in hopes that will make it hurt less. Maybe it’s just swollen? I took an ibuprofen, maybe that will bring down the swelling.

All kidding aside, I really don’t care about the size that much. It needs to not hurt, though. I have a race I want to do tomorrow! Fortunately, I didn’t sign up yet, so if I can’t run I’m not out a fee or anything. But I hope I will be able to do it.

I’ll just register in the morning, if I can manage to get out of bed and roll this badonkadonk down to the start line.

This is the Good Stuff

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. ~ Ferris Bueller

Last night was my younger son’s “Spring Sing” performance, an end of the year concert and fundraiser that his preschool puts on. It’s very cute – the kids practice all year to go up and sing their little songs. One song had something to do with hippopotamuses (hippopotami?) and Jesus. Another was “This little light of mine.”

It was not fine musicianship, but it was an awesome display of childhood joy at its finest.

I am not going to talk about adoption or our process to become a family very much on this blog. I identify as just a mom, not an adoptive mom – it is something that plays into how our family does things but for the most part we are just a regular family, and I am just a regular mom.

A regular, sarcastic mom. And I will admit that it is hard for me to check my sarcasm (my constant companion, it sometimes seems) at the door. Sarcasm is so easy. It’s so easy to laugh away feelings that can leave me feeling so exposed and raw. We came so close having none of this.

However, when I saw my son file in with his class, standing at the back because he’s one of the tallest, getting a little rambunctious with his friends, and looking around the audience until he saw us – his family – and then breaking into his trademark “huge grin with dimple” it brought tears to my eyes.

I am new to this territory. I have never been a sentimental person, and always one to approach events such as these with tongue planted firmly in cheek. So much easier to make the joke and keep up my defense of not taking things too seriously.

But every once in a while, even I am gobsmacked by just how insanely lucky we are to be doing even these mundane things.

Because we so very nearly missed all of it. THEY so very nearly missed all of it.

You guys – we have come so far, I cannot even tell you. So far since we met that little sickly 15 month baby that was barely on the growth chart, in a baby home on Sakhalin Island, Russia. So far since we met his big brother in another orphanage in the middle of nowhere. So far since we despaired of ever bringing them home. So far since we traveled halfway around the world to finally, after nearly two years of struggle and delays, bring them home and start the hard work of becoming a family.

So far since our early days as a family, when it seemed as though “normal” was an impossible goal.

You could read my old blog, but it would only hint at what we went through. Trial by fire, I guess.

But here we are. They are ours and we are theirs and we are doing this thing. This incredible, amazing thing. This everyday, boring, ridiculous thing.

Every once in a while, God reminds you that these things too, are a miracle.

On Sugar, Carbs and Moderation

Often times, when I need to post something to the blog, I scour my social media accounts to see what people are talking about out on Los Internetos. Today I happened across this interesting article by marathon training guru, Hal Higdon that my friend W “liked” on Facebook.

The article was about carbs – and the fact that runners need them.

This startlingly obvious fact (obvious if you remember high school biology, where we all learned that muscles make glycogen from carbohydrates, and glycogen = energy) sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of all the hype that exists nowadays around high protein / low carb diets.

It sometimes seems like you can’t shake a stick without someone telling you they eat Paleo, are are on a no sugar challenge, or are trying to convince you that their pizza crust made from cauliflower tastes good.

To which I say No. No, it doesn’t. And if you want pizza, have pizza, but have it with a salad and eat one slice like a reasonable person.

Notice I said one SLICE, not one pizza. This is the kind of detail that can get people into trouble.

I do think there is definitely some benefit to consuming less sugar, especially as compared to the diet of the average person in North America. Our food is full of ingredients our bodies didn’t evolve to handle in the quantities we are consuming.

But as with most things, moderation is key. Your body may not really need to be eating the amount of carbs that is typical here in the United States, but it does need some, especially if you are an athlete.

“Athlete” being defined as someone who places a large energy demand on their body (works out) on a regular basis. I always feel funny thinking of myself as an athlete – but I do work out 1 – 2 hours a day, as hard as I can stand. It is a big energy demand, even if all that work doesn’t pay off in speed, necessarily.

I’m an athlete – a slow athlete! But I’m working on it.

Anyway, the big question really is how much is the right amount of carbs to be eating, and what kind of carbs are we talking about. Hal’s article tackles this subject really well, so I won’t repeat it – you should read it.

But aside from knowing your caloric needs, and percentage of total intake and carb needs based on weight and activity, another really good guideline is to listen to your body. How are your moods? How often do you find yourself craving sweets? Eating too much sugar can lead to craving more, as your body experiences swings in blood sugar.

Are you having trouble finding the energy to get through your workout, or even just your day to day activities? Maybe you need to eat more good quality carbs.

My own philosophy on carbs generally, and sugar in particular, is that there really isn’t any food that is inherently good or bad. Most of the issues people run into with food have more to do with portions and how much we are eating, versus specifically what.

Even sugar (the refined white kind that people love to hate on) is not inherently bad, it’s more that the amount of it we are eating these days is way out of whack with what our calorie needs are, and out of whack with the intended purpose of sugar is. More than a teaspoon or two a day, is probably too much.

Sugar is a treat, a sometime food as Cookie Monster would say.

So my take is, I try not to get too worked up about the whole sugar thing, but also keep an eye on it. I have rules. My rules are:

1) I read labels to make sure that sugar and high fructose corn syrup are not in foods where they should not be. Or if they are, at least I am aware of it.
2) I try to ensure that when I do eat carbs, I balance them out with a protein of some sort (a cookie and milk, for instance). Fat tends to take care of itself.
3) I try to keep the refined sugar to a minimum without being obsessive about it. I’m not drinking my coffee without a little sprinkle of it. Neither am I going to pour in a giant pile of it.
4) I try to avoid sugar before noon – except for the coffee.
5) Treats are okay, but they can’t be an everyday, all the time thing.

An example of the philosophy is that we do eat cookies at our house, but when we do I try to make them myself vs. buying store bought since it is all too easy to let cookies become an all the time thing when it’s so easy to bring a dozen home from the store. Plus, if something is a treat, let it be a real treat – nothing is better than a homemade chocolate chip cookie. Maybe two. But not the whole batch.

Which is why I make them, we eat a few, and the rest I try to pawn off on other people.

What is your approach to carbs and sugar? Do you have rules. Do you do the Paleo thing?

Hello Fabletics – Goodbye Stinky!

I have not been paid to review or promote any of the brands or products I mention in my blog.

One of the things that sucks about working out a lot is how stinky the workout clothes get. Stuff tends to last about 4 months of regular wear before it gets so funky that it has to be replaced. The clothes still look okay, but the instant the body starts to heat up, the stink returns.

There are special products you can wash your clothes with, but they seem to mostly be about masking the smell with perfumes. The clothes still smell. The reality is, unless you want to be that person at the gym who stinks before the workout even starts, you have to replace the workout clothing pretty frequently.

Usually I get mine at either Target or Marshall’s, because I don’t see the point of investing a lot of money in something that has to be replaced so often. Marshall’s is kind of hit or miss, though, and Target is the danger zone. You walk in to buy a $15 jog bra, you leave with $300 worth of stuff to redecorate your living room.

Danger. Zone.

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Anyway, when you go through a lot of workout clothes, and you know you will be replacing them all the time, you are always on the lookout for a good deal.

That’s why I am really excited about Fabletics. It’s a company co-founded by Kate Hudson (the actress – not a selling point, but kind of an interesting fact) that makes cute workout gear that is in approximately the same price range as the higher end Target stuff.

What sets them apart is their VIP program. If you sign up as a VIP you get a full workout outfit (bottoms and top) for as low as $25 when you first sign up. Your first order might be a bit more depending on the styles you choose – but still a great deal. My outfit was $35 for 3 pieces.

After the first order, Fabletics selects a new workout outfit for you on the 1st of each month for $49.95. You have until the 5th to review the order and either accept it, skip the month or select a different outfit.

If you don’t accept or skip, you end up with a $49.95 credit in your account that you can use later. They do not automatically send you anything, and you are not obligated to buy, but you do have to remember to go in and review, accept or skip or you will be charged for a $49.95 credit.

You can also cancel your membership at any time with no fee, and they have a one-time “I forgot to review my order” refund policy on the credit. So if you mess up, they work with you to fix it.

It seems like a good program, and the prices are really great. I just signed up and ordered today, so I haven’t received anything yet. When I do, I will review the quality and sizing of the products I receive. For now, what I am excited about is the price and the program itself. I really like the styles the company makes, and I do go through a lot of workout clothes. So it is a great way to make sure I am replacing stuff often, so I don’t stink up the gym.

Where do you get your workout clothes? What do you think of a program like this? Would you ever try it?