Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Space Coast Half Marathon!

Well Hello There!

I've been swamped since we got back from our trip at midnight Sunday night so I'm just now getting to posting about my race! My to-do list just keeps growing...
We had a great trip, and I'll make another post about the rest of it later this week hopefully. For some reason, time has just gotten away from me this year. For the past few years, I've had the goal of having ALL the Christmas shopping and stuff DONE by Thanksgiving, and once you do that once, it is eye-opening! It really lets me relax and enjoy December. This year is the first year in a while I'm feeling any stress about getting things done! Having trips planned for Thanksgiving and Christmas probably factor in to that.

Anyway! The race went great! The weather turned out BEAUTIFUL. Thanksgiving day was HOT, the high was like 86! But Saturday was very cold and rainy and about 60 I think. (yes, 60 is cold to me!) Sunday morning, we rolled up at the race in the dark and the temp was 57. As the sun came up some clouds stuck around and the course was the most shady I've ever done. Couldn't ask for more!

The day before the race, we went to the "expo" at Kennedy Space Center. It's basically where you can go to pick up your packet if you haven't done so already and all the sponsors are there with stuff you can buy. This was in a small visitor's center off to the side that I've never been in, and that's a model of the Russian Soyuz hanging from the ceiling.

I don't really have any pictures from during the race...I tried to take some with my iPhone but they turned out really wierd...so here's some from the finish...

Like my gear! Aggie-fied from head to toe!! Twice someone yelled from the sides "Go Aggies" at me! I Whooped at them and they laughed :)

A little about the race...

A half-marathon is 13.1 miles (marathon is 26.2). I think there was about 2300 people starting. So when you start, it takes a few minutes for the crowd to thin out. My dad and I started out running together. He was planning to do a run/walk sequence and I was going to run as much as I could. I ran with him for the first 2 miles then went on my way. About then, I saw one of the pace teams. They have Pace teams you can sign up for by finish time that will help you keep a steady pace. I didn't do that, but the time I trained for was 2 hours 20 minutes. (A little lofty I thought, for my first race, but that was about the pace I'd been running (10:40 mile for long distances-slow, I know) but really the goal when doing any race for the first time is to finish standing up!) Anyhow, I saw the pace team for 2:10 (9:55 mile) in front of us. I figured if I could keep them in my sights I'd have a pretty good chance of accomplishing my goal.

Surprisingly enough, I was able to hang with them for 8 miles! That is by far the longest I've ever run with out stopping, by like, 5 miles. After that, things went a little downhill. At 8 my knees started to bother me. By 10, I was barely shuffling. Other than that, I was feeling really good, not tired or anything really. Just in alot of pain from my knees. (this is not something new on these 10+ distances for me). I started taking alot more walk breaks between 10 - 13 miles. I knew as long as the 2:20 pace team didn't pass me, I'd be in good shape. They got pretty close I think! I was never so glad to see that mile 13 flag. When you get close to the finish, you enter this little rotunda area at a park and circle all the way around on a brick sidewalk. I about cried when I saw my husband and kids! Then somehow, mostly motivated by this lady running RIGHT in front of me and blocking all my pictures, I was able to power ahead of her and on to the finish. My final time was....

(in case you were wondering, the winner did it in 1:13)

My dad came in about 7 minutes behind me. I saw him on the turnaround, he was only about a mile behind me. I really thought he was gonna pass me at then end when I was walking so much! He did well too....beat his time from last year by a few seconds!

There's my medal....BOO YAH!
My number had my name on it...that's a first too. I felt special!

This was a cool Jumbotron they had up in the center of the courtyard so everyone could see who was coming up. They even called out my name as I was approaching the finish line! First AND Last name!!

All in all, it was a great experience. I definitely don't recommend running 13 miles and then getting in a car to drive home for 13 hours. I wasn't really able to walk off any of my soreness or soak in an epsom salts bath until yesterday. Dudes, I was SORE yesterday. And my house has stairs in it. Not fun! But today, I am feeling MUCH better and contemplating when I am going to do it again!

Oh, and also? Because I'm an over-achiever like that, I did not one, but TWO races over the weekend. I knew I needed to get my last training run, an easy 3 miles, in on Thursday. That just happened to be Thanksgiving, and there just happens to be many "Turkey Trot" 5k's around towns all over. So, we decided to make that our run! I ran the whole thing with my dad, and we finished at 31:32. I felt great, ran at an easy pace, and was ready to DOMINATE the race on Sunday. It was really a confidence-booster! It was funny also because it was a pretty small race, but all the "major" runners in the area (it's a really great running community and well sponsored by the local running store) were there and they were all like, yeah, you gonna be there Sunday? Yeah, me too, I'm doing the full. I'm doing the half, etc etc etc. I was all like, Yeah! I'm doin the half! I'm such a nerd.

ps. I am NEVER going to do a full marathon. My knees just can't hack it. I need to work on figuring out how to insure my knees a little bit more so I can manage these longer distances...I have the fact that I am not an athlete working against me! Suggestions? I was wondering if something like an exercise bike between runs would help?

Monday, November 22, 2010

Halloween Costumes Wrap-Up

So here are the side-by-sides I was talking about earlier. After this I'll leave Halloween be!!
This is the pattern I used: McCall's MP373. I know the pic is tiny, but you can see that it is one pattern with different ears, tails, and other add-ons for a basic jumpsuit.

This is the only Garfield costume I could find online. Basically I made the jumpsuit out of orange material, and got some black cut to make the stripes, etc. Then, by using this picture and pictures of the actual cartoon on line, as a guide, I made all the details.

the face part I made separately, sewed a back on it and then stuffed it, then hand-sewed the corners to the hood.

I hot-glued on all those stripes on the back. I cut out diamonds of the material, then cut those into strips.

Here is the picture of the Odie costume.

I did sew spots on the sides, evenly, unlike this "Odie", but you can't even see them in any of the pictures! Also, after some debate, I wound up sewing the "tongue" part on the inside of the bottom velcro hood closure, so it flips over the upper outer edge. (same position as here but you can't see any of the khaki hood at the top of the tongue). There is also a short tail on the back. The ears I made separately, stuffed inserted a section of wire hanger so I could bend them later, then sewed them into the hood. The eyes and nose were made and stuffed separately then sewed on top, and to the ears to keep it all together. The previous halloween post has more pics of the costumes themselves.

So, both these costumes would cost about $150 if ordered online, because they aren't available in any store. These are the materials I started out with, and they cost $50.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Half-Marathon Training: 1 week to go!

Well, in seven days I'll be running in my first ever half-marathon. I am excited! My dad is running in it too!! He has been running much more than me lately so he'll probably smoke me! Hopefully I'll get some great pics and will still be alive in as I cross the finish line!! I haven't been running as much the past week, I'm just taking it easy so I don't get injured. And, it's been cold and rainy and gross here, so not much in the mood either!
Wish me luck!
If any of you follow me on twitter you'll probably get updates on the race progress sooner than I'll be able post here! I'm going to try and tweet some pics from along the way, The Space Shuttle will still be on the pad so hopefully we'll see it from the course!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Make your own....Pumpkin pie martini!!

This Thanksgiving, or before, who are we kidding?, Drink your Dessert!

Ok yall.

Seriously. Hang on to your hats. This recipe is a compliation of several I found online plus my own tweaks to make it easy to make with every day, inexpensive items. And, I wanted to make sure I brought you the best possible version. It took many tries. I was willing to do that for yall. You're Welcome :)

Ok, here we go: Here's a pic of everything you need. It looks like a lot, but it's not really. Also, you will need some Pumpkin Pie Spice, I forgot to put that in the pic! This makes ONE drink.
  • Martini shaker. If you don't have one, you could probably just put this in a large glass and stir it up really well. Also, you don't have to use a Martini glass, but it just looks cooler.
  • 1-ounce measuring glass or shotglass. Or, if you're brave, you can eyeball it.
  • Vanilla vodka (or regular vodka plus vanilla extract, which is what I used, because we are not fancy enough to have the flavored kind. If you have that, just omit the vanilla ext.)
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Carmel syrup
  • Whipped cream. (see, sugar-free! So this is a healthy drink!)
  • Heavy cream. (you can probably use light, half and half, or milk, but the heavy cream really gives it a richness. I haven't used any of those so I can't vouch for them.)
  • Canned pure pumpkin.
  • Pumpkin pie spice
  1. Put a couple ice cubes in the shaker. Measure out 2 ounces of vodka plus 1/2 ounce vanilla extract.
  2. Add 1 ounce Heavy cream and 1/2 to 1 ounce caramel syrup, depending on your sweet tooth.
  3. Add 2 spoonfuls of pumpkin. about this much.
  4. Finally, a shake or two of pumpkin pie spice.
  5. Shake well and strain into glass. Spray a little whip on top and sprinkle a little more pumpkin pie spice.

Enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tour of the Big XII cake series

In case anyone has been wondering, I've temporarily put this project on hold. Ever since I got a little behind a few weeks ago, the Aggies have started winning. Against good teams. So, in true sports-fan fashion, out of superstition, I won't be posting any more until we lose or the season's over!!
Gig em and Beat the Hell Outta Nebraska!!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I made this golf-themed cupcakes for my husband to take to work last week for his birthday. Aren't they fun! They are from "What's New, Cupcake?", one of my favorite cupcake books!!
They weren't that hard to make, really, just time consuming for the "grass" part! Good thing for my fur/grass frosting tip that I also used to make these Elmo cupcakes (that I just realized have never been published on this blog, so that's a link to my other site!)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Zucchini Chips

The second thing I tried with the mandoline was vegetable chips. I've seen these in a bag, so they can't be that hard, right? WRONG. I'm really trying to avoid frying them. Here's my first attempt: Zucchini.

This is all from ONE zucchini, sliced at 1/8 inch. Wowza! I sliced them up and layed them out on parchment.

I put some S&P on them. I meant to toss them in EVOO, but forgot. I don't think that made the difference, we'll see next time.

Same thing as with the apple chips: 350, 10 minutes on each side. Here's what I was left with. They look pretty good in the pic, but they were actually not crisp at all. I'm not sure why!

I was really planning on having those with our dinner, and they didn't turn out. So back to the interwebs I went, and found this recipe for Zucchini chips. Except, they aren't exactly chips, more like a "parm", like chicken or eggplant. Whatevs. It was good. Here's a simple breakdown.

Slice up one Zucchini to 1/4 inches. I think you could do this with a knife pretty well. Let them dry out on a paper towel about 10 minutes.

Combine in a bowl:

about 1/2 cup grated Parm cheese

about 1/2 cup italian breadcrumbs (or plain then add some parsely or whatever spices you like)

salt and pepper

dash paprika (optional I think)

In another bowl, scramble an egg. I did just one, for one zucchini. One was enough for me and the boys.

Coat the slices in the egg, then in the breading.

Layer on a baking sheet, WITH parchment, and bake in a 450 oven for 5 minutes, then flip, then another 7.

These are great by themselves, or with some Ranch or Marinara. YUM. And I'm not that much of a zucchini lover, unless it's grilled. That pretty much goes for all veggies, although I'm getting better.

These reminded of something you'd get on the appetizer menu at Chili's or Friday's :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Apple Chips

I sense this blog becoming a little bit more food-driven in the coming months, I blame it on new kitchen gadgets and the upcoming food-centric fall/winter months. So if you're not into that sort of thing, bear with me! There will also be alot of pictures, because I think that's the most important thing when you are trying to learn something new!!

One of my bday gifts was a Mandoline, which is a fancy name for a slicer. It has a fixed blade and a "runway" that allows you to make uniform slices at a variety of widths. The blade also rotates to expose thick and thin julienne blades too. If you don't have a mandoline, some regular cheese graters have a straight blade on them. I'm not exactly sure how thin it slices, I've never really trusted my self to use it. And it isn't big enough for me. The mandoline I have is pretty fancy, but Bed Bath and Beyond sells a little hand one for like $15. Or, if you have MAD knife skills, you could try with just a butcher knife. I don't have the best track record with knives, so that option is OUT for me! I think it'd be worth it if you are interested in trying out to make some of these homeade snacks.

The first thing I wanted to make was Apple chips. The boys love the ones you can get in a bag, but homeade is always better, and cheaper, and I figured they couldn't be that hard. I looked up a few recipes on line, and they vary wildly. Usually it's a looooong time at low heat (like fruit leather) or shorter time at higher heat. I found one a weight watchers that only took 20 minutes at 350. Sounds good to me!

The first thing I did was slice the apples. I used Fuji, I usually prefer them or Gala. I think you can probably use any kind! (Turns out, they slice better if you start with the top of the apple facing down). You don't have to do anything with the core, just brush away any seeds. Then I added a little lemon juice in the bowl to coat them and added a mixture of 1/2 cinnamon and 1/2 sugar. Not very much, just enough to coat. I have a shaker that I keep full of this year round.
One apple= One batch.

Then I laid them out on the cookie sheet. I was a little on the fence about whether to use parchment or not, I usually always do, but didn't this first time. I should have.

Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Then turn them over, then another 10 minutes. See how I have the oven propped open with a small towel? Anytime you are doing anything with drying out fruit, you need to do this to let the moisture escape from the oven.

Hmmmmm, not so great. I mean, they tasted good, but alot of them burned. Hmm. Also? They don't need any sugar. I forgot how naturally sweet dehydrated fruit is. Just cinnamon next time.

Here's the next batch. On parchment. I also tried sprinkling the cinnamon over them instead of coating them.

This is them after 10 min, flipping, then another 10. What a difference the parchment paper made. I decided to cook them another 10 min.

Some of them still burned a little, but over all the batch was much better. Supposedly they will crisp up after setting out for a few minutes, but mine didn't really. And these were the thinnest cut, 1/8 inch. The were SO yummy though. Great for snacking or long trips in the car because they keep awhile (not exactly sure how long yet) and don't have to be refridgerated.
If any of you have ever tried this and have any tips, let me know! Like how to not burn them! Supposedly slicing them all a uniform thickness is supposed to achieve this, but I still had some burn anyway!

(these pics were taken with my cell phone so sorry for some sideways pics that didn't auto correct. I'm still having issues loading "real" pics onto the computer!)

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Half-Marathon Training: 3 weeeks to go

Um, Yikes.

I seriously need to get my patootie runnin.

I didn't run last week at all, like nothing since the 14 miler. I was up with both boys individually every night for 10 nights in a row. Sleep deprivation combined with a husband who was gone half the week = NO running for me. I'm okay with it, life just happens sometimes.

I'm going to try to make up for it this week! My goal is M, W, F, then a longer run Sunday. I basically just need to keep at a constant pace and do a little speedwork between now and November 28. Then,I will have one of these around my neck....

Monday, November 8, 2010

Fun Fall Food

I am waaaay behind on my baking projects, including the Big XII. I am still trying to get caught up! Here's part of the reason: the few spare minutes I had last weekend went to making some fun Halloween food!

I made these "fall harvest" cupcakes, totally last minute, for a Halloween party we went to. I had no idea what I was going to do, especially since all the ones in my cupcake books required alot of supplies that I didn't have and didn't have time to go out and get. So I did a little survey of what I did have, and came up with these!

I also made these for the boys, the night before Halloween. They're from one of my Halloween foodie mags! Cute! I don't think I have any pics of our actual Halloween dinner, but I made hot dog mummies....very cute!

Saturday, November 6, 2010


I'm gonna go back a few weeks to get this old bloggaroo up to date. A few weekends ago was my birthday. My husband and his 2 little accomplices decided to whisk me away for the weekend to Atlanta just to get away. We all needed that! It's only about a 4 hour drive from here. We had a great time, and to cap it off, the Blue Angels just happened to be having an airshow that weekend, so we got to see them perform on our way out. It was the most people I've ever seen at an airshow in my life, and let me tell you, I've been to many.

The main reason he chose Atlanta is because they have this:


Jumbo Shrimp Brochette. And the best grilled asparagus anywhere. This is heaven on a plate. It's one of my favorite things to eat anywhere. It's very heavy and filling and usually I can barely finish it...I hate to leave one little guy scraggling but with the asparagus and the better half of a bottle of wine, it's the best I can do! We joke that alot of our trips revolve around food!
We stopped into the CNN center for lunch when we first got into town and had some Chick fil a in the food court, and of course I had to stop in the gift shop and say hello to my boyfriend...

It was a great birthday and I got tons of awesome stuff, and here's some of my favorites:

below are kitchen gadgets: a mandolin (slicer-dicer thingy. allows for thiiiin slices to make fruit and veggie chips, well, that's what I'm gonna use it for) and a pasta drying rack. For when I make fresh pasta with my mixer and pasta attachment. I've done it once, and it made so much I had nowhere to put it and it was all sticking to itself. This is a necessity!! I can't wait to use them both!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Half-Marathon Training: 5 and 4 weeeks to go

Welp, a trip to Hawaii can sure throw off one's half-marathon training and blogging about said training! But sometimes, you gotta take one for the team. I've been a bad little blogger and bad little runner. I'm gonna try to get caught up this weekend, along with a ton of other things!

Last up, I had completed my 12 miler, and it bout did me in. I had 2 weeks until the 14, and I was seriously doubting my ability to do it. Luckily, I had a weekend off (convienently the weekend I was in Hawaii) from long runs. While I was in Hawaii, I ran twice, once 3.25 miles and once 2.5 miles. That's pretty good! Can't beat the weather...but you have to go early because it gets hoooot!! Don't worry, I'm not waiting for any pity.

Once I got back, it's been a whirlwind of jet lag and sleep deprivation from being up all night with the boys coughing. But I did manage to do my 14, which I was dreading, last weekend. And, I survived!! 2 hours and 40 minutes, way under 3 hours which I was expecting to finish, if at all. And, let me tell you, I was sore. I took advil all day and it really helped. I now feel like I am physcially able to do the half (which is 13.1) and my peak training run (15 miles) next weekend.

However, I haven't run at all this week. That's horrible. Life has just gotten in the way. I'll shoot for a moderate run on Sunday, maybe 4 or 5 miles. Then next week I have got to get back on my schedule! Next weekend is 15 miles, then the weekend after that is 6, then the weekend after that is my race! It's getting really close!!