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Beet Juice Recipe

You know it’s finally fall weather in Southern California when you can stand to turn the oven on to make Healthier Banana Crumb Muffins (allrecipes.com) and at the same time turn the stove on to make pumpkin curry soup (According to Kelly — that recipe is so simple especially if you use canned organic pumpkin from Trader Joe’s, and you put the whole onion and garlic cloves in the blender with some of the chicken broth to make it smooth).

I had one kiddo home from school today with a fever/cold situation, so I took the opportunity to be extra-productive with my time at home and entertain the kiddo by letting her put the fruits and veggies into the Breville Juicer to make the beet juice. (Did you know that some research indicates that beet juice can help boost athletic performance?)

Just look at all these beauties!

fruits and vegetables

What’s in the bowl: purple, orange and yellow carrots with the carrot greens (organic so no peeling necessary), yellow beets (organic but peeled to reduce the earthy flavor of the beets, although next time I’ll just scrub well and leave on the skins), Rome apples (not peeled but cored — any variety of apple will do), and lemons and limes (peeled but with the white pith still on for that extra boost of vitamins).

According to the Breastfast Zinger Juice Recipe (allrecipes.com) you just toss them in to the juicer on a one-to-one ratio — one carrot to one beet to one apple to one lemon. I had a lot of produce to use up so I put in about six of each and ended up with about 36 ounces of juice (there’s a lot of foam on there but one really nice thing about the Breville container is that the lid is specially designed to hold back the foam when you pour the juice out!)

I love how it separated into these gorgeous colors. I did stir it before drinking, though!

I love how it separated into these gorgeous colors. I did stir it before drinking, though!

The juice turned out to be delicious! Full disclosure: my 6-year-old hated it and my 12-year-old loved it. The 9-year-old likes beets but is not a fan of beet juice (go figure) so I won’t be trying it on her.

The juicer intimidates me (the noise maybe? The violence of the “pressing” — it seems more like a wood chipper than a “presser” to me!) but it is super easy to use and surprisingly easy to clean. My other favorite juice recipe so far is Healthy Green Juice with green apples (any apples, really), kale, celery, cucumber, lemon and ginger. It’s got a kick to it but I love it!

Do you have a juicer? Do you have any recipes to share? (Feel free to post them in the comments or leave a link to your recipe!)

Rising Up from the Ashes

Please excuse me when I get all dramatic up in here. I’m just being honest about how I felt when I didn’t make the cutoff for Boston. I didn’t exactly handle it with the grace I would like to have had. I felt very bitter. I kinda wanted to shout, “Fine then! I didn’t want to run your dumb old super-expensive race anyway! I already lived in Boston for two years. I don’t need to see it again! You just saved me the cost of airline tickets and a hotel room and now I don’t have to pull my kids out of school to fly across the country!” I thought of boycotting The Boston Marathon, of not even trying to qualify again.

Of course, then I calmed down and admitted that if I was so upset by not getting to go to Boston, it simply meant that I cared a lot about getting to go. And I promptly signed up for full marathon #5, the Phoenix Marathon (hence my oh-so-clever post title about the phoenix rising up from the ashes).

Phoenix Marathon logo

So that’s where I’ll be on February 28, 2015. Believe it or not, the 20-week competitive marathon training plan I chose from Smart Marathon Training starts next Sunday with a 10-mile long run. Today I knocked out an 8-mile tempo run at 8:00 per mile and that felt great, so I feel ready to tackle the plan.

I had the tiniest bit of buyer’s remorse (racer’s remorse?) after hitting the “register” key for Phoenix because it has a downhill profile with nearly 1,000 feet in elevation loss, similar to the Mountains 2 Beach Marathon where I bonked so hard. Downhill running can pound your quads and also trick you (and by you I mean me) into going out too fast and then bonking later in the race. So, I’m trying to learn from my past mistakes and I’m incorporating downhill training into my weekly runs. Most people would call it “hill repeats” and consider the uphill part the part that’s building strength and thus speed, but I’m more interested in the downhill part where I work on keeping my foot turnover light and quick! Last Wednesday I ran a warm-up mile to a perfect, steep 0.4-mile hill. I ran up (and down) that four times and then ran a cooldown mile back to my car. (I would have run more repeats but that was the amount of time I had in the 45 minutes my daughter is in gymnastics class).

To help allay my downhill race worries I’ve also signed up for a downhill half marathon that fits perfectly in my training plan. In place of a 16-mile long run on a Sunday, I’ll race 13.1 miles on a Saturday down Highway 39, a beautiful route through the forests and canyons of Angeles National Forest to the foothills of Azusa. It’s the inaugural REVEL Canyon City Marathon & Half Marathon on November 15, 2014. (Tip: if you want to sign up for the race, make sure you go to RaceShed.com for a $5 off discount code, and also snag an extra $5 off for allowing REVEL to share your entry on Facebook). The half marathon has a net loss of 933 feet, close to the amount of the loss over the full marathon course in Phoenix.

So, here I go again! Does anyone have any thoughts or tips on downhill running?

Who Moved My Cookie?

Trust me when I say that I’m not sitting here feeling sorry for myself, but you better believe I feel tremendously disappointed that my Boston qualifying time of 3:44:26 did not gain me entry into the 2015 Boston Marathon. That honor belongs to people who qualified by the qualifying standard minus 1:02 or faster, not people like me who qualified by -0:34. I had an inkling this would happen, but I had no idea how disappointed I would feel when I didn’t gain entry. Let’s just say I’ve shed a few tears and leave it at that. I had hopes that the BAA would be generous in light of the success of the race last year with such a large field, and it would expand the field to let all qualifiers in this year. No such luck. I am one of the 1,947 time qualifiers who won’t gain entry based on marathon performance.

That leaves me thinking about what to do next. I feel lost without a race on the calendar. I’m not that excited about racing again but I know it does me good to have a goal on the horizon. I might run the half at Canyon City in November and/or the full at Surf City in February or LA in March. But this idea of chasing a Boston qualifying time has lost most of its luster. I’ve worked a full two years toward that goal. To qualify and then not get in feels like someone told me I could have a cookie if I ate my peas, and I ate my peas but I didn’t get the cookie.

Have you run Surf City or LA? Any recommendations?

Toes Crossed

Have you been following the news? I don’t mean the ISIS crisis or whether Scotland will vote for independence. I mean The Boston Marathon registration news.

The latest from the Boston Athletic Association (BAA):

Registration for qualifiers has closed…. Due to the amount of submissions received during this period from all time qualifiers, registration will remain closed and will not reopen on a later date. All of these individuals who submitted an application for entry will receive notification by the middle of next week.

That means that the BAA received at least 8,000 applications in this final week of registration and it is possible that some qualifiers will not get in. Last year the cutoff was qualifying time minus one minute 38 seconds. It is hard to make predictions for this year because of the exceptionally high interest last year and the larger overall field that year, but it is clear that my -0:34 is cutting it extremely close either way. I have a slight bit of hope that the BAA will be generous and end up letting everyone in (in light of the success of the race last year with an even larger field). Really there is no use in speculating. I just need to keep my fingers and toes crossed and I’ll know for sure by Wednesday, September 24!

In the meantime I’m distracting myself with a little 200-mile relay race this weekend with the Ragnaritas!

Design by teammate Sara Aroz and photo stolen from teammate Renee Christensen!

Design by teammate Sara Aroz and photo stolen from teammate Renee Christensen!

Fingers Crossed

This morning I submitted my application for acceptance into the 2015 Boston Marathon.

Boston Marathon application

As you might know, priority is given to the runners who qualified with the most time to spare: those who met the qualifying standard by age and gender by 20 minutes or more, then 10 minutes or more, then 5 minutes or more. The Boston Athletic Association posted an update this morning after registration closed for those fastest qualifiers last week:

Approximately 16,000 application submissions from the fastest among all qualifiers were submitted during the first week of registration (September 8-13). At the conclusion of the next phase of registration, the B.A.A. will accept up to 8,000 additional qualifiers.

So today the field opened up for 8,000 additional qualifiers from the group of runners like me who met the qualifying standard by age and gender by less than five minutes. However, these entries are not accepted on a first-come, first-served basis; priority is given among these entries for those who qualified by the largest margin (meaning that someone who qualified with 35 seconds to spare gets priority over me and my 34 precious seconds). Registration remains open for this group through Wednesday September 17 at 5 p.m. ET. (and then re-opens later to all qualifiers if spots still remain.)

Now the waiting begins. The email confirmation of my application stated that acceptances for this latest group of entries will be sent out in October, although I suspect we might hear sooner than that. I think chances are good that all of us “squeakers” will get accepted, but I’m not considering it a done deal by any means.

In the meantime I am taking time to celebrate my marathon finish time, 3:44:26, whether or not it is fast enough to get me accepted into the 2015 Boston Marathon. I realized that in my stupor in the days after the race I didn’t even acknowledge the fact that 3:44:26 is a personal record for me by 8 minutes and 16 seconds! That is pretty significant, even if it only boils down to 18-19 seconds faster per mile over the 26.2 miles. For someone like me who did not start running until she was staring down 40 years of age, and was 4 days shy of 43 years of age on race day, it’s a big deal to run 26.2 miles at 7 miles per hour. Even now, after having gone the distance at that pace, I can hardly even imagine setting the treadmill for 7.0 and running for 3 hours and 44 minutes and change. You know, the other day I was talking to a friend who is training for his first full marathon coming up this October in Long Beach. He said he finally understood the appeal of marathon running: the amazing sense of satisfaction you can achieve by challenging yourself to do something you couldn’t have done a year ago or even a month ago. It’s definitely worth celebrating.

Runners to the Rescue

On September 11, 2001, I was in the second month of pregnancy with my first child. I remember wondering what kind of world I was bringing a child into. Thirteen years later, I think it is fitting to tell a story that reminds us that there are good people in the world.

Yesterday I dropped off one of my children at her gymnastics lesson and headed out for a run. If I’m a very good girl, I can squeeze in 4.5 hilly miles in 50 minutes. It’s not easy to do, especially since I much prefer running in the early morning rather than in the late afternoon. But I like to get in hill work at least once per week, and I like to take advantage of the time that my daughter is in her lesson, rather than wasting it by driving home and back to pick her up. So I set off on foot and huffed and puffed through the 93 degree weather. Yes, 93 degrees.

I only made it eight minutes into the run though, when I happened upon an elderly woman who called to me for help. She was on the sidewalk, clinging to a wall, clearly struggling to walk in the heat. Her car had run out of gas a little way down the road, and when she could not tell AAA her exact location, she set off on foot for help (without her cell phone, purse, or any water). Thank goodness another runner, Carlos, soon came up behind me, and together we were able to support the woman enough to assist her back to her car. Another driver saw us all on the side of the road, and when she stopped we asked her if she had any water. She set off to the nearest store to buy some for each of us.

I called AAA again and gave the representative our location, and then Carlos and I stayed with the woman until the service van arrived with a couple of gallons of gas. During that time, we tried to assess the woman’s physical and mental condition. At first we believed she just needed some cold water and a little rest and then she would be fine to drive again. However, the more we talked with her, the more concerned we became. (I didn’t think she showed signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke, but perhaps I should have been more concerned about that. If I thought she was in immediate physical danger I would have called 911, but she kept insisting she was fine, and just needed to rest a bit). Carlos and I decided that we would have the AAA driver fill up her tank with the two gallons of gas and then lead her to the gas station down the road just to be safe.

After waiting for half an hour, I had to run (literally) back to pick up my daughter, so Carlos stayed with the woman until the AAA guy arrived a few minutes later. I drove back 10 minutes after that to make sure everything was okay, and saw that the AAA guy was there with the woman. Carlos told me that unfortunately the woman was not in any better condition to drive, and the AAA driver made the assessment that she required a tow truck to pick up the car and take her home. In retrospect I wonder whether we should have called the police to have an officer assess the situation, because the longer it went on the less clear it was that she had all her mental faculties, and the less clear it was whether that was due to the heat alone or due to a more serious decline in her mental health prior to getting lost and running out of gas. I was reassured by the fact that she recited her address correctly (based on her driver’s license) and she insisted she knew the way home, and at this point I just have to trust that the AAA man and the tow truck driver did what they needed to do to make sure that she got there safely (and got her additional help if she truly needed it).

When I finally got home at 5:30 p.m., I hopped on the treadmill to finish off the remaining 2.3 miles of my run. It wasn’t easy, and it took me a long time to wind down from the day’s adventures. In the end, I am grateful that within the space of half an hour, four people had taken time out of their day to assist an elderly woman in a crisis. And I’m happy to have met Carlos, who will be running the LA Marathon as his first full marathon in March. I’m sure our paths will cross again, and I can rest assured knowing that good people like him are out running, patrolling the streets, ready to help anyone in need.

Today I turned 43 years young! I took a few minutes this morning to reflect on the fact that I am more fit now than when I was 33 or even 23 (not when I was 13 though — I was a competitive swimmer then, training alongside Olympian Janet Evans before she became Olympian Janet Evans.)

My family spoiled me from the moment I got up this morning. I turned off the alarm on my cellphone and then checked my email to find that my husband had booked my airline tickets to Santa Rosa — that’s right, I’m headed back to Santa Rosa in September to run Ragnar Napa Valley with my college roommate Renee and the rest of the Ragnaritas!!

Then I saw that my 9-year-old chose to wear this shirt today:

I love mom

and she insisted on making my coffee for me in the Bodum French Press. She is very handy in the kitchen and she makes excellent coffee!

Also waiting on the counter for me was this beauty:

Breville Juice Fountain Duo

Breville Juice Fountain Duo

I have wanted a juicer for a long time and my husband got me the perfect one! And you’ve gotta love the note he left with it:

The note says "Boston Fuel Machine. Happy birthday!"

The note says “Boston Fuel Machine. Happy birthday!”

So, even though the cat threw up on the carpet this morning and I have to spend my birthday evening at the junior high for 2-3 hours of Back to School Night, it’s a very happy birthday indeed! P.S. I got the best birthday wishes on Facebook too. Someone knew just what I wanted:

Have a wonderful day and may you cross the finish line ever earlier.

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