Apr 22

Decision Maker!

Alright, so I know how it is. I’ve told you about what an amazing time I had running the Five Mile Lake Women’s Triathlon last year. I’ve told you that I’m super excited to run it again this year. I’ve even told you reasons that it’s a great race. But you’re still on the fence about whether or not to give this race a chance.

Well, no worries there, because I’ve made a magic decision making tool for you! Just answer the questions honestly, and you’ll know if the Five Mile Lake Women’s Triathlon is for you! Slide1

So there you have it! I can’t wait to see you on June 15th at the race! Remember to use code RUNFUNDONE14 for a 10% discount!

Good news: If you plan to do an 8 week training program, this is the week to start! Let’s do this!

Did you use my decision maker? What was your result?

Apr 18

Giveaway: Spartan Race! #SpartanUp

1.5 years ago I wrote a post about how I want to become a Spartan. Well, my time has come! A nice fellow from the Reebok Spartan race contacted me and asked if I wanted a free race entry in exchange for blogging about the race. Um…YES! I already blogged about the race, but never had a chance to do it! I am so in! Even better: have a free race entry for one of YOU!

So why is the Reebok Spartan Race so exciting? Pretty much because it’s full of fun challenges. Crawling under barbed wire, climbing walls, jumping over fire, carrying heavy things, balancing on tree stubs, and getting chased by mean men with sticks. Yep, it’s got all that fun stuff…ish. They don’t tell you exactly what will be at your race, so you don’t really know what to expect. It’s my belief that all of the races have fire jumping (awesome!) and men with sticks (terrifying), but the other obstacles seem to change, so you don’t know what might be around the next corner.

All that stuff is really fun/silly/challenging/scary sounding, so that’s really great. But, it sounds kind of like every other obstacle race, right? Well, you’re right, but here’s where I get excited about the Spartan Race: There is NO CHEATING!

I am a rule-follower. Rules are the best. Everyone should follow the rules. You can bet that even if there was no one enforcing the no-cheating rule at the Spartan Race, I’d be doing my best to go through each and every obstacle like any good girl would. However, others do not always follow the rules! It makes my heart sad! I once had a friend tell me that she did the Tough Mudder, and just skipped all the obstacles that she didn’t want to do. WHAT? You skipped? You’re allowed to skip??? (Side Question: what’s the point in doing an obstacle race if you plan to skip obstacles???). Anyway, as horrifying as the skipping of obstacles is, I learned that it’s kind of the norm at many obstacle races: People just don’t do the stuff that they don’t want to do. You can see how this makes the playing field uneven, and makes the event less fun (at least to a rule-follower like me).

But here’s the great thing: The Spartan Race is a no-cheating race! You don’t HAVE to do every obstacle, but if you choose not to (or if you fail), you will be required to do burpees! YES! A rule-following race! That’s the best ever!

So who’s with me? Who wants to show their strength and become a spartan? Enter my giveaway! This entry is good for ANY Spartan Race in the continental United States!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You can also save 15% of your Spartan Race entry with code SpartanST.

Good luck!

Apr 16

Whoa. A Serious Plan

Do you remember your New Year’s Resolutions? No? You’re too cool for resolutions? Hmph.

Well, I’m not too cool for resolutions, and lately I’ve been thinking about one of my resolutions in particular. Here it goes, and I quote, “Complete another marathon. Train better.” Well, I’m all signed up for the Lake Chelan Marathon in September, and I’m ready to start working towards this goal.

Last year, I ran my first ever marathon. Not only did I take things easy as far as a training plan goes – I basically made up a training plan that had me running 3 days per week (this is necessary in order for me to avoid injury), and would just barely get me over the finish line (my longest training run was 20 miles, which I did just once). Then, I proceeded to run only 2 times per week for most of the training cycle. I just wasn’t motivated to get out and run!

When I created my “train better” goal, all that I had in mind was to actually run 3 days per week. However, as I prepare for my marathon training season to start, I got a little crazy: I wrote out an entire training plan with dates and everything. You know, like all the anal people you know do. Meaning, like all the runners you know who can qualify for Boston. Yep, when I think about my friends who get crazy with their training plans, its the ones who are actually good at running. What’s that one thing your mommy taught you? Practice makes perfect? Yep, that’s the one. Practice has never been my forte when it comes to running!

Check it: Not only did I type up a clear training plan, but I printed it up and am marking my workouts as I complete them. This is serious stuff.

Check it: Not only did I type up a clear training plan, but I printed it up and am marking my workouts as I complete them. This is serious stuff.

I’m not saying that I’m going to be as good of a runner as all my crazy Boston-running training-plan-following friends are. However, I’ve got a plan in place that I think will challenge me just the right amount. And the best part? I’m still fully focused on keeping training fun. I’m actually legit excited about the plan I came up with! It’s the first time I’ve ever really taken the time to plan so much when it comes to training.

Do you usually strictly follow your training plan, or are you lackadaisical when it comes to training?

Apr 13

Use Your Good Brain!

Something crazy happened when we were car shopping a few months ago. Husband Saign was determined to find me a car. (Sharing a car was unbearable for him). We test drove a privately owned car, which I didn’t particularly like. Then Husband Saign asked me to go to a car dealer with him. I didn’t want to go because I am severely frightened of sales people, but Saign pointed out that if we went to a dealer, I’d be able to drive a variety of cars to help us figure out which car model I really wanted. So I agreed.

We arrived at a large dealer here in Tacoma, and were quickly introduced to a sales guy. As soon as we met our sales guy and described what we wanted: A used hatchback. (Yes, that was extent of our list), the sales guy said, “I have the perfect car for you!” I was surprised that he thought so, since, you know, he hadn’t asked us our budget.

Anyway, he was pretty much right…except for the budget part. The car was gorgeous, shiny, red, and in great condition. There was just one problem: It was $6,000 above what we hoped to spend on a car.

The car looked like this, only much shinier and prettier!

The car looked like this, only much shinier and prettier!

I loved that zoomy little red car! I began thinking crazy thoughts, things like, “Well, maybe we could finance…if they brought down the price a little then we’d only have to finance a couple thousand. I have a bonus from work coming soon, it would be okay.”

WHAT? Yes, I know, crazy thoughts.

Thankfully, at some point I had to use the bathroom, and while separated from the sales guy, my sanity returned. “I do NOT want to finance,” I remembered. Oh yeah! I do NOT want to finance!

After we test drove the last car, and then drove around looking for my wallet in each car that we had tried out (because I realized that my wallet was missing just as soon as we finished up our test driving…we found it in the very last car we looked in), we sat down to chat. I then explicitly told the sales guy that I did not want to finance. I wanted to leave, but I felt rude just walking out, so I waited kindly while our sales guy went to ask his manager how low he could go on the price of that red car.

He returned with the same price that was originally on the car, and some financing options…none of which took into account the $8000 that I had already told him we had available to buy a car.

“Look, you can put $2000 down and keep the rest of your money in your pocket,” he said. Then he proceeded to show us two payment options…one with lower monthly payments, but a longer loan period, and one with higher monthly payments and a shorter loan period. “So it makes most sense to go with the first option, because the payments are lower,” he concluded.

What??? In a matter of 60 seconds, the guy had suggested to me that I make 3 huge financial mistakes: 1) Take out a loan for something that I don’t need a loan for, 2) Put the lowest amount of money down on a loan, & 3) Choose the loan that would cost the most amount of money over the long-term. I was shocked.

Then Husband Saign asked a very logical question, “What’s the APR on those loans?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” the man said, “I’d have to go ask.”

Um…really? You’re trying to sell us a loan, but you don’t know the APR for the loan you’re trying to sell?

I kind of wanted to get snippy with the guy. I wanted to tell him about how taking out a loan for something that you don’t need a loan for is ridiculous. I wanted to teach him about interest, and explain to him why it always makes sense to put the most possible money down when taking out a loan. I wanted to explain to him that when taking out a loan, you should always consider the total cost over the lifetime of the loan, and not just consider the monthly cost. I wanted to tell him that you should always, always know an APR before considering any type of credit or loan.

But I didn’t do those things. I just told him that I would not be buying that cute red car. But chatting with him made me really start to wonder… I’m not sure that this guy was trying to trick us into a loan (which could be the case). I actually think he might have thought that he was giving us good advice. (Yes, I know he was trying to sell us the car, I’m just not sure how much he understands about loans). I am not sure that this guy was a dummy so much as he’s a normal American. Most Americans probably think that it’s best to get the prettiest car, and that a car loan is no big deal, and that picking the loan with the lowest monthly payment is a fantastic idea.

Needless to say, I left without a cute red car. I decided to write the things here that I wish I had said to Mr. Sales Guy. Please friends, don’t be disoriented by the shiny red car! Use your great brain! Make the smart choice!

When you go shopping for big ticket items, do you find yourself making compromising or going over your budget? Do you think our sales guy knew that he was suggesting insanity to us, or is insanity a normal part of his financial life?

Apr 09

Mochi Ice Cream Recipe

Do you love mochi? I appreciate mochi’s soft texture and subtle sweetness. This past weekend, I got a craving for mochi ice cream. But then my curious nature took over, and I wondered if I could MAKE mochi ice cream.

As it turns out, I COULD make mochi ice cream!

There’s just one thing that you should know: Making mochi is incredibly easy. However, wrapping mochi around scoops of ice cream is super, super hard!IMG_9612

Here’s how I made delicious mochi ice cream:

Mochi Ice Cream Recipe:

Ingredients:

Ice cream – any flavor will do

Sweet Rice Flour – 7/8 cup (also called “mochiko” in Asian grocery stores)

Water – 3/4 cup

Sugar – 1/4 cup

Cornstarch

Steps:

1. Roll ice cream into 8-10 golf-ball-or-smaller sized balls. Put in the freezer to harden.IMG_9591

2. Mix the water and flour together in a bowl.IMG_9594

3. Add the sugar. Stir until it’s a smooth consistency.

It should look like this before you microwave.

It should look like this before you microwave.

4. Put saran wrap over the top of the bowl, and puncture (to allow it to breathe).

5. Microwave for 2 minutes.

6. Stir. If it seems dry to you, sprinkle a little water on the mixture and stir.

7. Replace saran wrap and microwave for 30 seconds.

8. Sprinkle your counter or a cutting board with cornstarch.

9. Drizzle the mixture over the cornstarch. Sprinkle cornstarch over the top of the mixture.IMG_9601

10. Flatten with your hands. Do the best you can to flatten it to <1/4 inch consistency.IMG_9602

11. Find something round (I used the top of a peanut butter jar) and use it as a cookie cutter to cut out mochi “shells” for your ice cream.IMG_9605

12. Wrap your ice cream balls with the mochi shells. Use water as “glue” to try to paste and envelope the ice cream in.IMG_9606

13. Return to freezer.IMG_9608

14. Eat. Yum.

And there you have it! I was surprised that making the mochi was so easy! I never did master wrapping the mochi though! It was hard!

Do you love mochi?

 

Apr 07

Delight and Terror: The Shoulds of Running

Oh my! It has come to my attention that this weekend is the official start to my running season. A few weeks ago, I had a blast running the Tacoma City St Paddy’s Day race, and it got me into a ooooh-racing-is-the-best mood! That mood was pretty exciting, and I had a lot of fun dreaming of future races.

But it is now with much trepidation that I realize: I need to start training for my triathlon, and I need to start training for my marathon!

I find myself simultaneously delighted and terrified.

I think this delight-terror emotion is kind of a problem. I think running has traditionally been a love-hate thing for a lot of people. They love the health benefits, but hate actually running. Or love the endorphins, but hate the entire process prior to the endorphins hitting.

But that’s never been me. I’ve always legitimately like the entire process of running!

That is, until the shoulds got involved.

You know the shoulds. I should speed train. I should run more. I should quit when I have an injury. I should follow a training schedule. I should be faster. I should be stronger. I should never give up. I should run even when it’s dark and cold. I should get a sub-4 marathon. I should. I should. I should.

Guys, running is a whole lot more fun without the shoulds.

So here’s the ultimate should: I should be having fun.

And that’s the only should that matters.

Except, the other shoulds kind of do matter. Because if I don’t train for a race, I’m more likely to get injured at the race. So, really I should train.

So here’s my real goal: I want to train better for the marathon (as was my New Year’s resolution), but I want to focus on the most important should of all: I should be having fun. I want to actually remember while I’m training that I’m blessed to have the time and ability to run. I want to enjoy myself, smile, look around, breathe, and truly live through my training. I don’t want to wake up on a weekend morning and think, “Ugh. I haveĀ to do a long run.” I want to wake up and think, “Aw yeah, it’s time to run! This should be fun!”

So here’s to a training season that’s full of possibility and joy rather than burden and shoulds! I’m gonna to my best to focus on having fun rather than on following a training plan.

What are your “shoulds”? Do you have any advice for how to focus on having fun while preparing for a race?

 

 

Apr 02

Five Reasons the Five Mile Lake Women’s Triathlon is Fabulous!

1. It’s great for beginners! Guys, I’m a super, super weak, panicky swimmer! So much so that as a child, I failed the same swim class 2x because I couldn’t rhythmic breathe. (I’d get all panicky and couldn’t breathe. Finally my mom let me quit swimming lessons after my second fail). All this to say, tri-ing is really hard for me because I’m a true (nervous) beginner when it comes to swimming and biking. Choosing this race as my first race was the right choice because it’s small enough that some of the normal tri experiences, like getting sloshed around in the water, or worrying about accidentally drafting while on the bike, were nothing to be concerned with. There was plenty of space for me to just go out, and do my thing.

2. It’s great for people who would like to get an Age Group award. Small race + Age Group Awards that span only five years, and you’ve got better-than-they-would-be-in-an-average-race chances to place! Last year, I had 3 friends that placed. One of them was an Ironman. The other two were just Average Joes completing their first triathlons.http://www.runfundone.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/IMG_6263.jpg

3. It’s low stress. Okay, admittedly, with my above-mentioned fear of swimming (or really of drowning, I guess), I’m going to be somewhat stressed when it comes to triathloning, but the small field and convenient location meant that race day for me had no stress related to parking, getting to the start, or getting my race packet. It was much more relaxed than your average race!

4. It’s got a friendly vibe. I looked back at my race review from last year, and I listed the friendly vibe as my favorite part of the race. As soon as I got to the park, I started talking to strangers. Having friendly strangers around to chat with helped relieve my nerves. I was shocked by how kind everyone was! I even asked a stranger’s husband to write my race number on my arm, and he did so gladly while she reassured me that I would have a ton of fun.

5. It’s a great prep race. Maybe you’re nothing like me. Perhaps you’re crazy-competitive and super tough. Maybe you don’t really care about a small field or a women’s-only race because you think that getting punched while swimming is just a part of the game. Well, The Five Mile Women’s Triathlon is still a good course for you, dear strong woman, because it takes place in June, and is a great season-opener to prepare you for other summer/fall races.

And there we go! I really believe that this is a wonderful race, and I am looking forward to completing it again this year! I hope you’re join me, and save 10% on registration by using coupon code: RUNFUNDONE14

What makes a race “fabulous” to you?

 

Mar 19

Squeaky Joints

Have you ever seen the old Cinderella movie? Not the cartoon, but the old Rodgers & Hammerstein version. Not the one with Brandy, but the one from 1965. You remember? Great!

I saw the movie once in elementary school, and what I remember from it (which could be totally inaccurate, because memories are like that…totally inaccurate sometimes). Anyway, I remember that one of the stepsisters had squeaky joints. She was supposed to apply some sort of salve or oil or something to it to keep them from squeaking. She would often forget to apply the salve, and then her joints would squeak and her mother (the evil stepmother, of course) would reprimand her. I remember that squeaky joints seemed to my elementary school mind to be one of the absolute worst features that a girl could have!

But now, I seem to have the same problem as the stepsister. My joints don’t actually squeak, but this pain that I’ve talked about in my knee feels to me as if my joint just isn’t quite working right…like it needs to be oiled and is getting stuck.

Strange, right?

In the past 3 weeks, I’ve had 2 pain free runs. One was at the race with Nicole last weekend, and one was today. On Monday, I tried to run on the treadmill, but my knee started hurting before I’d even reached a mile.

View on my run today!

View on my run today!

I don’t really know what the problem is, but here’s something else funny: My knee seems to do better when I run outside (rather than on the treadmill). Is it possible that my gait is different enough on the treadmill that it’s causing me pain? Or is it that I hate the treadmill so much that I’m imagining aches and pains so that I don’t have to run on it anymore?

I’m going with the former theory, so I’m going to try to increase the incline on my treadmill (I usually run with it flat) to see if that makes any difference. Of course, running outside is my preference anytime there is sun, so I’ll get out there as much as I can!

What do you think? Is it in my crazy head or is there something really different about running on the treadmill?

 

Mar 17

My Running Spirit has Returned!

This past weekend was the Tacoma St Paddy”s Run Half Marathon. I originally planned to earn a PR at this race. Then, because of knee pain and pure laziness, I decided not to run it at all.

However, Nicole was being a true Debby Downer about the race, so I told her that I’d run some of it with her. It was an out-and-back course, and with the course location and the road blocks that were planned, it made the most sense for me to start running with her at mile 5, and finish at about mile 10.

I was a little nervous about this plan, because my knee has been acting up after about 2 miles of running. I knew that five miles would be pushing it, and might end up being really painful. However, I couldn’t figure out a more logical place to meet Nicole, so I figured I’d try for five miles, and walk if I had to.

Well guess what?

It was awesome! No pain at all! And it was fun! We just chatted away, following the arrows and the other runners!

When I got to the point where I should have gone home, I just thought, “What’s 3 more miles?” And Nicole said she’d drive me back to my car if I finished the race with her. So I did!

Eight miles! That’s the farthest I’ve run it quite some time! More importantly, eight FUN miles!

Photo stolen from Nicole. Thanks Nicole!

Photo stolen from Nicole. Thanks Nicole!

Running part of the race with Nicole got me back into that running mindset. Running is fun. Races are fun. I need more running and races!

Nicole at the Finish!

Nicole at the Finish!

When I got home, I began looking for more races to run! I’m hoping to have a really fun summer, enjoying blue skies and miles!

What gets you in the running spirit?

Mar 12

Pain in the…

…knee.

Oh man, I don’t know what the dealio is. For the past 2 weeks, every time I’ve tried to run (which has only been 2x per week), I’ve started having knee pain, and ended up cutting my run short as a result.

After experiences of running through pain, and suffering the consequences, I may be extra sensitive to odd running pain.

All this to say that I won’t be running the Saint Paddy’s race that I had planned to PR at. I would not have PR-ed anyway, since I failed to train.

This is a little disappointing, because I now won’t have an opportunity to re-wear my St Paddy’s Day running costume that I was tricked into wearing for an imaginary costume contest last year!

The only fools in costume.

The only fools in costume.

Overall, I’m feeling okay with all this. I’ll keep trying to run, but stop if things hurt, and eventually I’ll run again! I plan that my knee will be cooperating when the weather starts cooperating, so everything should work out swimmingly!

How do you determine if a pain is severe enough that it warrants stopping a run?

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