August 31, 2009

The Little Cupcake That Could:
My First 5K Race

Last weekend I was the park knitting with a few friends when Lynn asked me if I wanted to do the SkirtChaser 5K with her the following weekend. This was the first time in my life when I didn’t immediately think of a million excuses of why I couldn’t do it. Since I began bike commuting about three months ago my running has gone out the window, and it wasn’t anything to write home about prior to that. However, I knew I could finish even if I didn’t run the whole time and that was something.

Knowing I had a good friend in town that weekend who runs races gave me that extra push. I decided if Paul-Baptiste says yes I am in. If he decides he doesn’t want to, then I won’t do it. Lucky for me, he was in. So I signed up, got in a few runs the week prior and waited for race day.

In the SkirtChaser women start the race and men follow three minutes later. The energy pre-race was contagious and there were a ton of great sponsors at the event so it helped me work through the nervousness and self-doubt that was starting to creep up.

Lynn and I got in position to start and as we took off I was surprised to see all the different types of women in the race. Pre-run all I could focus on were these amazing athletic goddesses with their tan skin and figures boasting about 8% body fat (if that). However when immersed in the group I saw all kinds of women tall, short, skinny, curvy, girls in their teens, women with their daughters, and women in their retirement years. That to me was the best part. It was really cool seeing all these different women out there for fun with different goals and different motivating factors.

As I worked through the course alternating walking and running I felt I was in excellent company. The groups of people cheering on the street made a huge difference in the moments I felt alone and talking with fellow race participants was helpful too. Getting close to the finish line I felt special to be apart of a great group. Knowing Paul-Baptiste and Lynn were there waiting for me gave me that extra push to run the last portion. After crossing the finish line I ticked off my check list for the race.

Goal One: Finish the Race - Check
Goal Two: Finish within my Goal Time - Check
Goal Three: Have Fun - CHECK CHECK CHECK!

I know sometimes I may sound like a broken record but once again what I am sharing with you is a story of throwing your fears aside and just trying something new. Rather than think about all the reasons you can’t do something think about all the reasons you can. Be realistic in your goal setting but keep trying new things. You never know what you’ll experience along the way. Today’s a rest day but tomorrow I start training for my next 5K and I hope to see you out there!

August 25, 2009

Wednesday Playlist:
The Realtionship Life Cycle

I recently had a break up and a good friend suggested I make a "break-up songs" playlist. At first I thought "Not a bad idea" but then I realized that's not me. I don't dwell on the bad elements in life. I like balance and without dark there wouldn't be light.

This list includes a lot of guilty pleasure songs so I hope it's not too much cheese for you all. However knowing my audience, I know you love the guilty pleasure songs too. So enjoy, rock out, and remember all endings are really beginnings in disguise.

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August 19, 2009

Recipe Review: Vegan Pumpkin Scones

I have recently embarked on a quest to eat vegan eighty percent of the time which has helped me to look outside my normal recipes and try new things. I was looking for new breakfast option and came across Pumpkin French Toast at the Post Punk Kitchen Blog. While I am sad to say I wasn't able to try the recipe yet it did get me thinking I love pumpkin and would love to incorporate it in an portable breakfast item. Then it hit me, I love the Pumpkins Scones at Starbucks, maybe there is a vegan option.

I was lucky to find the Two Vegan Sisters Blog filled with mouth-watering recipes that I can't wait to try. One of the sisters happened to make a coffee-house style Pumpkin Scone and I baked a batch up. The original recipe can be found here, complete with a glaze and icing drizzle recipe. I made a few modifications to the spices and the liquids and left out the icing to make the caloric intake a little lower. The scones are delicious (even without the glaze) and go great with coffee in the morning.

4 cups whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup Earth Balance margarine
1 cup pumpkin purée
3/4 cup soy creamer

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, spices and salt. Use a pastry blender to add in Earth Balance until thoroughly mixed. In another large bowl, whisk together pumpkin and soy creamer.

Add combined dry ingredients to pumpkin mixture. Mix, then form into 2 balls of dough. Pat out one ball of dough onto a lightly floured surface and form it into a 10-inch circle. Use pizza wheel to cut dough into six wedges. Transfer wedges to a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with second ball of dough.

Bake until golden for 15 minutes. Transfer baked scones to a wire rack to cool, with parchment or wax paper underneath to catch drips.

Makes 12 scones.

August 14, 2009

Women Rock Wisconsin!

If you're a climber, aspiring climber or outdoor enthusiast you're probably familiar with Chicks with Picks. Celebrating their tenth anniversay, Chicks with Picks focuses on awesome adventures while teaching women ice climbing from beginning lessons to advanced skills.

Lucky for us Chicks with Picks have expanded their offerings to include Three-Day Climbing Clinics in Devil's Lake Wisconsin. With five clinic levels there is certainly something for every gal. With their 4-to-1 guide to climber ratio you know that you're in good hands. Learning to climb or improving your existing skill set is a great way to start the autumn. What a great time to build confidence and make new friends!

To sign up for their September 7-10 course visit or to learn more the website.

Happy climbing Rock Stars!

August 11, 2009

Wednesday Playlist (on a Tuesday!):
Let's Hear it for the Boys!

My dearest @katiebeth is obsessed with boy bands and has inspired this list. What I love about boy bands is they remind me of a simpler time when it seemed like love and good hair product would conquer all. Hopefully this will bring back some great memories for everyone.

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August 10, 2009

Doughnuts and Dialogue

Some people like to ride their bike on wide open roads, others prefer paths, when I ride I like side streets and communities. I love taking my time and really taking in my surroundings. Today I noticed something while biking through the neighborhood, I was reminded that random kindness still exists.

Throughout my ride I passed people on the sidewalks, in their yards, and riding bikes. Majority of the people actually smiled, nodded a hello, or said hi. It was so refreshing to see that people still reach out to others, even if for only a thirty second exchange. You see this often when hiking (outdoorsy people are super friendly) but not so often in the urban streets. That's why getting into the neighborhoods is so enjoyable to me.

Beyond the casual hellos I was also treated to a heartwarming exchange at the doughnut shop. I stopped in to get a little fuel (aka gluttonous treat) and sat down with my doughnut and coffee. A few tables down sat four friends. All in their 60's or so you could tell they had been friends a long time. I also gathered from their conversation that the breakfast gathering is something they do every day. I smiled to myself as I was leaving, feeling lucky to observe what a cool connection these people seemed to have.

As I was picking up my tray one of the gentleman looked over and said "You're not leaving so soon, are you?" and from there they asked all kind of questions and I got to know them if only for a brief time. At that point I recognized that when people let down their guard and just say hello rather than judge or put up barriers we are able to reclaim our sense of community.

It was a good day.

August 4, 2009

Wednesday Playlist:
Melvin the Bird

I wasn't going to do a playlist this week but I was talking to a friend and telling her about my bird collision when she recommended I make a bird-themed playlist.

Now I am still not clear if I hit the bird or the bird hit me but while riding a bird took off from the ground and boom. We both shook it off and went our separate ways. I have since named the bird Melvin and this playlist is in honor of his brave little soul.

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