Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Pilaf vs. Plov

At dinner on Friday night when I ordered my pilaf side pre-race, "pilaf" came out of my mouth sounding a lot more like "plov." Brandon and the server gave me a funny look and clarified what I wanted  with the two syllable name and I sat back slightly confused at the common pronunciation and why I was completely and utterly unfamiliar with that pronunciation. Like I'd never heard it said before.

Honestly, I'm not sure I'd ever verbally spoken the word "pilaf" before Friday night. Somehow I had skirted it and ignored it when others around me had said it. But Brandon was certain that that was both the correct pronunciation and the only way he'd heard it at any restaurant he'd been to either here in the West or back in the midwest in Cincinnati.

As I looked at the pilaf on my plate, all I could think of was the friendly Uzbek that Kyle and I had met on the train back from playing disc golf in Prague last summer. After chatting with us for quite some time, this friendly guy had invited us to his host family's house to have Uzbeki Plov. I hadn't even known what it was at the time but I looked it up very soon after and pinned it so I wouldn't forget. The pilaf on my plate looked a lot like Plov.

Some time on Saturday I finally looked up the two words to see if there was any connection and lo and behold, they're actually the exact same thing. :) Granted, in the States, it's known as pilaf, but it's nice to know that my pronunciation didn't come out of nowhere. Somewhere in my brain, the connection was made without my knowing.

Monday, July 22, 2013

A Longer Run (mentally) Than Usual

Good morning post weekend!

Let's see. Friday. Prior to this weekend, all of the long runs that I have ever done have taken place in the morning. In other words, I understand how to train and prepare for long morning runs. Diet prior to those runs is usually pretty simple. Carbs about 24 hours prior to the run (regular sized meals), small light breakfast of an English muffin with peanut butter and banana about two hours before the start of the run on the morning of the run. A huge chunk of prep time is consumer with sleep. Not so with a race that starts at 10:00 in the evening!

Brandon kindly put up with my whining throughout the day, but as Friday progressed I just felt hungry most of the day and was worried about what I should and shouldn't eat. For dinner we went to Red Lobster and Brandon ordered salmon with broccoli and pilaf. I ordered a side of pilaf. It was rather pathetic. We headed over to Amy's and met up with everyone before Justin dropped the three of us off at the start.

I can't recall if I mentioned it from two weeks ago, but the last time we ran on the Legacy trail, early in the morning, I had ten quarter sized mosquito bites by the time we were done. Amy brought some mosquito repellent with her this time and I squirted a little on but didn't worry about it too much. Not more then ten minute later I had at least three bites. Twenty minutes later, upwards of five or six. We made a final restroom stop before the start of the race and I ran back to where we'd dropped the repellent and drenched myself in it. I'm not sure how effective it was, as I still have about ten bites, but I think most of those happened while we waited for the start of the race.
Running Ladies!
Runners with glow sticks!
10:00 finally came and we, glowstick attired, took off. We'd started somewhere in the middle of the pack and were quickly passing the different pacers at 2:45, 2:30, 2:15, to finally end up right around the little pack following the 2:05 pacer. We were about two miles in at this point, having kept a good pace of about nine minutes a mile. Shayla split ahead and I decided to stay with Amy who wanted to drop the pace a little. Around two and a half miles, Amy was desperately in need of some water so we plugged ahead to the three mile mark where there was some water and powerade waiting for us. A quick drink and we were on our way, but about another half mile later Amy still wasn't feeling great. After deliberating, she decided that she;d had enough and was going to call Justin to come get her at the next overpass (at least another mile and change on!). She told me to head on and I ran ahead to try and catch Shayla. Around the 5th mile I caught Shayla (still right around the 2:05 pacer) and ran with her for a bit. However, I'd just zipped along to catch up with her and I was feeling on a roll. After making sure she'd be alright I headed on to stay with the 2:05 group but quickly felt even then that I could keep on at a little faster of a pace. So on I went!

It is surprisingly difficult to try and take pictures in the dark, while running, with a camera phone that only has a flash on one side. This was the only one I took. ;)

When I got to mile 7, the drink station there only had water. Up to that point, each station had had both water and powerade. Since my first half, I've always stayed away from drinking water and had whatever energy drink is provided instead. Water lays like lead in my belly while energy drinks tend to make me feel better and a little refreshed. Sensing that I was thirsty, even if they didn't have powerade, I took a few sips of water before I headed on. Big mistake. Within half a mile I was getting cramps in my lower abdomen. A short walk and I was on my way again, but pretty much for the rest of the race, my pace was reduced to ten minute a mile or slower.

Aside from the fact that it was hot, one thing which I hadn't anticipated prior to the run was that when your're running in the dark on a trail in the middle of a marshy area, there are few if any landmarks to help you know how far you've gone. So a run that I've typically considered to be pretty quick and painless felt like it went on and on and on forever.

Finally, around 12 and a half miles the route re-entered civilization and we quickly turned into the fair grounds. Then it was just a quick sprint of the last .1 mile and I was done. And Brandon was there and I could rest. :)

We hung around the finish for a while and I rolled out my legs and glutes until we were all ready to leave. Shayla and Jake headed home and we dropped off Justin and Amy and picked up some things from their house. Feival and Ellie (Justin and Amy's two little yorkies) had been hanging out along just for an hour or so, but they'd decided to explore the content of my purse and devour the gum and mints. Slightly annoying, but mostly amusing. They're so cute. It's hard to be mad at them.

Back to Brandon's and then finally headed home I just felt sick to my stomach and wanted sleep. And I got it. :)

Mistakes from the evening:
-not putting on more bug spray to begin with
-starting out at too fast of a clip (not good for Amy)
-not staying with Shayla after Amy stopped
-not staying with the 2:05 group at an even pace
-not eating something right away after the race

All in all, I'll never do another long night run again. With the glow sticks and everything, the ambiance was fun, but I think a 5K or 10K would be plenty. Really, those first seven miles were fantastic, but those last seven were miserable. This was my...sixth half marathon and definitely my least favorite. Hopefully better things to come with the Marathon in September!

Saturday night we went West Coast Swing dancing (after a three week break) and while it was fun, I still wasn't feeling great. I'm looking forward to having more energy and feeling better next Saturday!

Yesterday evening we got together with the Bateman's and Nelson's for a BBQ. Delicious food, good conversation, and fun games!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Lacking Inspiration, Here's the Norm

I haven't felt particularly inspired this week. Thus the lack of posts. Well, that and the fact that not too much has been happening this week. I've pretty much taken a break from running this week, in preparation for 13.1 miles tomorrow from 10:00 to midnight up in North Salt Lake with two of my gal pals. :) While it has been nice to take a break, I feel like my brain and body function better after some quality exercise like running. So the break isn't allowed to persist past this weekend.

A few highlights of the past week:

-My incredible mother's birthday was this week!
-We finally made plans to head up to Washington around the Labor Day weekend to see Brandon's sister Jaime and her new home (and her new baby!).
-I made an ice cream cake on Tuesday and we had some last night. And it was delicious.
-We made a wonderfully light dinner of pasta, spinach, chicken, and a garlic/lemon sauce all mixed together. There was way too much of it and Brandon accurately summed up that we two together eat a normal portion for one.
-We went and saw Pacific Rim, a movie which looked really dumb to me in the trailers but (after being persuaded to see if from a few good friend reviews) was actually pretty decent, all things considered. The one detail that most annoyed me prior to seeing it, that they'd need to people operating the same robot and moving mostly in sync, was actually not at all annoying to me by the end, though there were, as is common, other details that were slightly off. ;)

Known highlights to come:

-Half Marathon tomorrow night!
-(Perhaps) Farmer's Market Saturday Morning (if Amy and I aren't too tired!)
-(Hopefully) West Coast Swing Dance on Saturday!
-BBQ with the Nelson's and Bateman's on Sunday afternoon/evening. :)

And that's about it for the moment.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Those Perfect Moments

This past Thursday and Friday had a few perfect moments. I'm not talking perfect as in magical and awe inspiring, but rather perfectly hilarious. Moments when I wish so badly I'd had my video cam recording.

On Thursday Brandon and I went to Boondocks for his work party. I'd been to Boondocks once before, but it was for a less organized event and you felt the weight of the cost of each activity. This time, we had wristbands that pretty much allowed us unlimited access to everything and we stayed pretty late taking advantage of that (and got "rainy" day passes to come back since the rain was looming most of the afternoon!). After a pizza dinner, we teamed up with another couple (Clint and Julie) and took the building by storm. We started with a rollercoaster simulator at the recommendation of a co-worker and then moved onto air hockey, go-carts, miniature golf, the batting cage, more go-carts, laser tag, more miniature golf. It was a fantastic time.

That perfect moment came at the end of our first round of miniature golf. The last hole of the course was a volcano that shot out fire if you made it into the narrow trough in the center of run. I went first and hit my ball right into the trough but instead of going in, knocked another ball that had been stuck there. Burst of fire. I then tried again with my ball and missed the trough. I moved over to the side as Brandon came forward to go and as he was lining up to hit his ball, he turned his head to say something to me to the right and to the front of him and a spurt of water shot out and nailed him on the left side of the back of his head, soaking the back of his head and his shoulder. The shock and surprise that played across his face were perfect. None of us could believe it for a minute and then we couldn't stop laughing about it for the next ten minutes as we waited to see if it got the next group. Sweet man. Unwittingly taking the consequences of my missed shot. :)

Friday after work Brandon and I met up, grabbed some sandwiches from Gandolfos, and headed for Saltair, near Magna to sit in the sand and have a picnic as the sun set. We arrived and walked towards the beach, passing an enormous building with golden cones on each corner. I'd thought for some reason that this was some sort of museum, but when I asked Brandon he said that it was actually opened for concerts and events. And then details came together in my mind and I realized that my freshman year at BYU I'd come to this venue for a Taking Back Sunday concert. I'd really had no idea that I'd been there before.

Beautiful Sunset

Off to the beach we headed and enjoyed a delicious sandwich dinner. After we sated our hunger we headed out into the water. It's really pretty cool because once the water starts, the level of the sand at a few inches extends for a really great distance. We probably walked 50 meters out into it or more before we stopped to take some picture. As we were finishing up with our cutesy/cool pictures of the sunset, Brandon decided that he wanted to do some handstands. Brandon is able to pull off some really cool body poses, handstands being among them. The first several handstands looked great, even including a one handed hand stand. He was going to do one more one handed hand stand and instead of the sand being firm under his hands, one hand sank right into the sand and he flopped backwards. If he'd had any idea that it was coming, he might have been able to bridge up and get minimally wet, but without any clue, he pretty much feel right on his back into the water. It was perfect. :) Again, that look of utter surprise at going from cool and suave to rather wet. I love him. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

A Little Update On the Past Few Days

Oh hey! It's been several days and I don't really feel like I have much new to report...

Last Friday we got out early from work (two hours in and we still hadn't received a single call). Feeling like I wanted to do something with my day I headed up to the top of Salt Lake and climbed Ensign Peak. It was a nice little climb with a beautiful view.

Monument at the top of Ensign Peak.

View of the city. 
Saturday was fairly uneventful. We'd made plans to make dinner and go to West Coast, but Brandon's new roommate was in the process of unpacking all his kitchen stuff so we headed over to Olive Garden for some delicious gnocchi, salad, and breadsticks. It was just the right amount of food. Since we'd factored in time for cooking we had extra time and headed back to the house. However, once we'd settled there for about an hour and were entertaining ourselves with games and Doctor Who, I didn't really want to go dancing anymore so we stayed in and relaxed instead. We did pick up the ingredients for the dinner we'd planned and that ended up being pushed to yesterday (Tuesday).

Along with making dinner last night we headed up with a bunch of people from church to make a bonfire in Millcreek Canyon. It's been too long since we've had a proper bonfire and the smells and atmosphere were lovely.

As opposed to last week's running, which was terribly pretty much the entire week (missed my run on Wednesday and Thursday and then Saturday's run ended up being much shorter due to one of my friends not feeling well about three miles in - I didn't really mind that it was shorter), so far this week has gone rather well. I've been using a new app (Endomondo) to track my runs and it records split/mile times which is kind of cool. Monday's run was very fast for me and today's was a little more average, but I'm happy to have them consistently happening. Half-Marathon in just over a week!

Also, in other news, I received the most beautiful sewing shears in the mail the other day. Antique shears that belonged to my grandmother and another pair. They're incredibly sharp. And I love them. :) I can hardly wait to use them.

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Beautiful 4th

One of the benefits to working and living in rather cool buildings (my roommate was telling me it was 63 degrees in her room last night!) is that whenever I got outside, at least for about ten minutes or so, I love the heat. Then it get's old and just feels hot again.

Another thing I've noticed is that if I wake up between about midnight and 2:00 AM, the sprinkler against my window makes it sound like it is raining. It's such a lovely sound. And on top of that, the wind was blowing rather strongly last night and it sounded a lot like the ocean as it rustled the leaves on the trees. Lots of lovely sounds last night with some thunderstorms in the distance to top it off.

Things have been pretty laid back this week. Brandon's two roomies are moving to New York for an entrepreneurial thing for a few months so Tuesday and Wednesday night included different going away parties for them. And then last night was the 4th, so we BBQ'd some steaks and sausages and then walked down to Sugarhouse Park to watch the fireworks.

Last year we were somewhere in Europe over the 4th, in Florence I think, so it was sort of a non-event. And in the years prior to that, I don't think I'd been to a firework show in quite a few. The fireworks were beautiful, but even cooler than that was walking through the neighborhoods to get to the park and walking by house after house of people lighting their little fireworks and setting out chairs to watch the park's show from their house. It felt like Independence Day. Everyone coming out to be communal and festive and real. On top of that the neighborhood we walked through was beautiful, filled with modest homes, nicely groomed lawns, and pretty lamp posts. It felt very close and warm. I enjoyed our different neighborhoods growing up, but they were always at least slightly more spread out than the one last night. I'm not sure which I prefer. It's a little hard to beat the wide sprawling forest of my backyard in Indiana. :) And though my parent's home is in Alabama now and I've never been to it, I felt a little homesick walking by all these family gatherings. Washington is next on our list of places to visit, but I'm really looking forward to going home to see my family some time soon.

Monday, July 1, 2013

It's July! Already!?

Happy July 1st! I can hardly believe that July is here already...

Update from the weekend:

Friday night Brandon came down after work and we grabbed a bite to eat at Taco Bell (I hardly ever eat fast food any more....and it was a little odd that we went there. In Indiana, fast food was a norm because there really weren't a lot of restaurant options available and when we wanted to eat out it was usually either fast food or Chinese take out. Here I now have fast food restaurants available everywhere but I've pretty much limited my dining out options to bakeries (aka sandwiches), pizza places, Thai food, and food from home. I think I prefer it this way.) and then we went over to the Chocolate again (twice in one week!) and met Brandon's old roommate and good friend Jeff. Wonderful conversation ensued as we dined on delicious cake and cazookies. Dessert was followed up with miniature golf, something I haven't done in quite awhile but was very fun. :)

Saturday I woke up around 5:00 and threw my running stuff together and zipped on over to Shayla's house to meet her and Amy to go running. As previously noted in earlier posts, my Saturday long runs have been suffering a great deal. In other words, they've barely been happening. I've only ever missed one entirely, but the others have been shorter runs than they're supposed to be. I have not been alone with this trouble, as all three of us have been struggling with early morning motivation. As such, the three of us (who are running the Legacy Midnight Half Marathon in North Salt Lake together in a few weeks) decided to find a good solution to this problem. Running together! And at least this last Saturday, it worked like a charm. We all agreed that it was rather uncomfortably early, but even as early as it was, it got hot very quickly. But I have my 10 mile run behind me! If I were just doing a half, that would feel like a lot, but as I look ahead in my training, I have a 20 mile run near the end, close to the marathon, and I'm still having a little trouble imagining running twice the distance that we ran on Saturday morning. But I'm sure I will, and I'm sure it will be awesome fun.

After missing the last two West Coast Saturday nights we finally made it back, and with a bang (as far as we're concerned)! We finally got one of our fantastic friend, this time Amy and Justin, to come with us! We were thrilled to have them there. Preceded by a pho dinner out and followed with frozen custard, it was quite a lovely evening.

Sunday was just a little outside the ordinary with a breakfast/lunch at Brandon's place prepared by Grant and Sara. It was just the norm, eggs, sausage, pancakes, and cinnamon rolls, but it was quite delicious. It was a very nice Sunday.

Today started out quite exciting. After I dragged myself out of bed for that early four mile run, as I pulled my  headphones from my purse I was unhappily surprised to see Brandon's wallet and keys left in my purse from the day before. It is very common for Brandon to store his keys and wallet in my purse, particularly when we're out dancing or at the movies, but we usually do a good job at remembering to take them out. And the couple of times where we've forgotten, it has usually been easy to put off returning them until the next time we expect to see each other. Not so this morning. Brandon has a spare key to his car but he wasn't sure where it was so he needed his regular keys. So I popped into work to let them know what I was up to and then hopped in my car to drop his keys and wallet off at his house. Given the proximity of where I currently live to where I work I don't typically have to deal with very much freeway traffic in the morning, but I found that after the rush of the 8:00 AM traffic, it really wasn't that bad. In less than forty five minutes I was able to make it to Brandon and back to work with almost no trouble.

And on top of that, we got together for lunch today, him with his Smashburger and me with my Which Wich. I've gone out to eat with a friend at Which Wich down in American Fork a few times and every time we've done that, it has always been a rush to get down there, a rush to eat and catch up and then a rush to get back to work. And even with the rush, I've always exceeded my hour lunchtime. With this, I didn't feel rushed. And the food was delicious. And the company was perfect. :)

It's hot here in Utah right now! Hotter than I've ever remembered it here. But we're making do and having a lovely time about it.