Sunday, October 31, 2010

Florida or Bust

But before I go...Happy Halloween! These little kitties are all dressed up to celebrate the day! I made four of for Sporty Spice and three for friends' kids and they came out so cute! I definitely stole the idea...from the Wishcraft catalog. They wanted $98 for these personalized cats! Yikes. I knew I could whip those up! The real beauty of being a craft supply hoarder is that when you see an idea, you just go to your stash and boom! you're good to go. I love that.
This little tag banner was a "Bellaween" project from a couple of years ago I am just now getting around to making.

And now that I have successfully used crafting as a means of procrastinating and avoiding reality (it is SO good for that!), I guess I should address the big....looming....event.......Scarier than Halloween! Ironman Florida is now less than a week away!!!

I don't know how to accurately sum up how I feel. Every time is so different. I am really, really anxious this go around. Mostly around the pain in my leg. I always say the motivation I, personally, have when I train every day or do something else that will be beneficial to the training or recovery, I do it for one reason. This will be the seventh time I've stood on an Ironman start line, the fourth in Panama City Beach. I KNOW what it feels like to stand there waiting for the start cannon. And the LAST thing I want to have to ask myself on that morning is "was there something more I could have done? Something less? Did I give 100% during these past months? Was there something I would have changed?" I'm sure there will always be a small degree of second guessing, but I want to stand there looking out at the sunrise over that ocean, with my feet in the sand, surf rolling over my toes, with as few of those thoughts as possible. I think I have a few more of those thoughts than usual this time. I don't know if I took training TOO seriously at times or not seriously enough...really. Sometimes that middle ground, so crucial, can prove elusive. This past month has been really hard, both mentally and physically, with some pain from my leg I thought was behind me. But, in parting, I can only say, I will give 100% on the day. I will do my best to crowd out any of those thoughts and focus on every second and what I can do, if anything, at that moment. To finish will be wonderful, to be near any of my previous IM times, especially that of my first one exactly ten years ago...divine.

Friday, October 29, 2010

One more Halloween craft tidbit

I have to admit I did not make this banner this year. I think I made this cute vintage tag banner last Halloween, but I still love it.

As I do these little "jar babies" from a couple of years ago.

Scary Spice Nearing Florida

Yup, that's my friend Scary Spice, back there on my aero bottle cages on my tri bike. She goes everywhere with me and she has seen some stuff. As I see where we are headed, Scary sits back there thinking about where we've been. Sometimes we chat. I might train alone, but I'm never really alone, which is nice.

Scary is somewhere in the midwest right now, on a transport truck. I dropped her off with explicit instructions to protect our bike on Tuesday, and she will meet me, with the bike, at the transition area in Florida one week from today. There were already some bike friends lined up to go with them.

I hope they are having a safe trip. I'm sure Scary will tell me all about it when we meet up next week.

What?!?!? Next week?!?! How did we get from "months away" to "next week" ?!?!?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Proof that I have actually used my kitchen at least once while training

I do love to cook, even though frozen Trader Joe's entrees have been a bit of a staple around here while training. But I did manage a couple of my favorite fall dishes in the past week or so. The fruitstand I go to has started to get the best apples and pears in and I rustled up a batch of my favorite: Crock Pot Apple Pear Sauce. There is no real recipe, but it is genius. Peel up a bunch of apples and pears (I have one of those very cool Pampered Chef apple corers, which thrills my kid, so it doubles as entertainment.) Pour in a bit of water, and some of your favorite spices (just go crazy), turn on the crock pot before you go to bed. You wake up to the smell of baking apples and everyone thinks you're brilliant. About 50 calories per half cup, for anyone who is interested. Put it in oatmeal, pour yogurt over it, eat it plain.

The picture is of my absolute all-time favorite soup recipe, which I've been making for almost 20 years now and every person I've introduced it to has fallen madly and passionately in love with it. I shall give you the keys to the kingdom and share this recipe:

Armenian Lentil and Apricot Soup

3 tbls olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
1 1/2 cups dried split red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
5 cups chicken stock or canned broth
3 medium sized ripe plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbls fresh lemon juice

1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, and dried apricots. Saute, stirring occasionally until the onion is soft, about 12 minutes.

2. Add the lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.

3. Stir in the tomatoes, cumin, thyme, and salt and pepper. Simmer, covered, for another 10 minutes.

4. Season with the lemon juice and additional salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring, for another two or three minutes.

***I'm usually in a hurry and tend to use a big can of chopped tomatoes, juice and all instead of dealing with peeling and chopping.
I also use way more cumin and thyme than 1/2 teaspoon!
Me being me, I also cut the olive oil and only use one tablespoon, which, by my best math estimates, makes this soup approximately 160 calories per cup serving.

And a little decor...

I will have to take some pictures of the outside this week. Our first storm of the season is blowing in this weekend, so I'm sure they will have to be "adjusted" anyway.

This is the thing about training for IM Florida, that I remember well from the other years I did it: leaves are changing on the trees, the weather is changing, the holidays are revving up...and I'm thinking, "What?!?!? I'm still training?!?!? Isn't the season over?!?!?". But then you land in Florida, where it is perpetually summer, the people are old, the food is brown, and somehow it is all right again.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some Halloween Crafting

This is a little wall-hanging from the "Bellaween" e-zine that was out, I think, 2 years ago. Took me that long to sit down and make it.

These were about as simple as a craft can be. These are plastic pumpkins and the rhinestones came already in those swirly shapes. Instant gratification. So unlike just about anything else right now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

I Hope This Isn't "The Ironman That Teaches Me the Great Overtraining Lesson"

And just as I was gloating about how good my leg was feeling compared to a year ago. I mean, I was really noticing, "wow, I can go about not only training, but my chores and errands, and not be in pain", and "wow, the stiffness after a long run is so noticeably less". And then I got to my 20-plus mile runs in preparation for this Ironman. Weekend before last, I'd worked up gradually to my longest one, a 24 mile. Yep, that was the run that did it. The run itself wasn't so bad, but the soreness in my (previously broken) leg started that evening...and hasn't much diminished. I'm on an all-out effort to pull out all the stops on my "tricks" for putting it back together. ART therapy, massage, stretching and more stretching, whirlpool, ice, Pilates, pain cream and compression tights. And I'm trying not to freak out. I have just over 2 weeks remaining and the taper is officially here. Which has brought with it the reality of the work that is going into leaving this many animals with a sitter, 3 cats with ongoing medical issues, and what it is going to take to get them set up for me to leave.

So I think I shall think I shall dwell on something completely unrelated...Halloween! I've been crafting and decorating, and managed to get Sporty Spice to the Picture place with his costume last week. Isn't this the cutest astronaut you've ever seen? And appropriately, we have tickets to a big Halloween party at the Chabot Space and Science Center.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What a Difference A Year Makes

It's hard to believe it was a year ago this weekend I tripped over the finish line in Kona! The big party is happening there today...and I am exactly four weeks away from another finish line. Tapering starts in another week and it is starting to feel like it. The nervous energy with nowhere to go. Today I'll start the big countdown calender of the epic list of things that have to happen in the next 28 days to get this many animals taken care of, one bike on a transport truck, and 3 humans on a plane. But first I have to go ride about 100 miles. Happy Ironman Day!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Belated Post on Mountain Crafting

With all that's been going on here this week, I forgot to give an update from last weekend, when we "headed for the hills". Training was great, as it was a rest week, so nothing too long. A nice ride on Saturday, about 4 hours, and a 2 and a half hour run (in the rain that I totally didn't expect) on Sunday. Lots of time for crafting. I'm on a Halloween roll! I made these "spooky" decoration-blocks in Arnold, and started making several of each of these 2 Halloween cards. I actually made these wool felted cat-pins before leaving and may give them to the vets who come out to work at the next clinic. More to come! Sporty Spice has been home sick from school the last two days and there has been a little crafting to get me through the enforced captivity.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Goodnight Little Thunder-Man

Thunder the pygmy goat came to us with his pygmy goat friend, Isabel, a little over a year ago, when his parents had to move to retirement living. He was an older goat when he arrived, but was the sweetest spirit, friendlier than Issy. The two of them were so funny to watch, like a little older couple, butting heads, literally, over the food bowl. They made friends with the two little larger goats next door and the four became inseparable in the past several months. We are so sad this week, as Thunder has left us to go over the Rainbow Bridge, "to the trail" to join Gracie, and Buddercup and Phaedrus and so many others we have loved and lost. Isabel is lost without him; we will have to find her a pasture pal soon. For now she is hanging out as close to her two nextdoor neighbors as the wire fence between will allow. Goodnight little Thunder-Man.