Monday, December 30, 2013

Random Updates and a "Must-Try" Recipe

No-Bake Protein Snowball Recipe
Have you eaten enough junk yet? I have probably consumed enough sugar in the last week to supply an ant farm for 3 years.

Despite this admission, I found a recipe from +Neila Rey that has my interest
(mostly because of the protein content, maybe also the coconut ;) ). It looks like it could be a good portable fuel for trail runs. I can't wait to try it out, but I have a few ingredients I need to pick up first.

***

Christmas was spectacular here!
A few highlights: 

  • This Christmas we took our gifts 50 yards up the hill to my in-laws and opened them with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. It was the first time for this kind of controlled chaos! It was fun! Later, my parents came to visit for a Christmas dinner.
  • Best gift for the kids: Intelliglobe - a globe that has an electronic pen. When you touch the pen to the globe, it plays sound bites about different places, and has several geography games. Even the 4 year old likes to find the continents with help!
  • Gift most likely to cause problems: a tool box for the 4 year old with real tools, including assorted screwdrivers, pliers, cutters, a small saw. O_o Uncle Adam, you are cordially invited to come supervise these pre-school activities :)
  • Also, I was excited to receive this package in the mail from Italy. I have never met Stefano, but he was very kind to send a book about Cyprus to me after I left a comment that I really didn't know much about the island on his blog. Thank you, Stefano!!! The boys and I are busy reading and are now planning a dream vacation :)
  • We went for a family trip after Christmas to a favorite public pool that allows kids in the hot tub (there are 2 hot tubs). It was a perfect family adventure, and only cost us 8$ (family rate) plus gas. And I got to sneak into the sauna which is also a bonus after a cold run at Pre's trail. :) I'm nordic at heart...

***
Running....

Training is going well!
After my race, I hit some hilly/rolling trails twice more that week- Tuesday and Friday. It might have been a bit more miles or hills than my legs were ready for in a short time frame, and I woke up Saturday morning with a sore left knee.
Giving my knee a 2-hour workout on a trail run at Cooper Creek, sporting a new #pureproject jacket.


I made the cautious choice to take 4 days off of running and only rode the trainer bike after the 3rd day. I've had strains/ jumper's knee a few times now from poor training choices, and have had to take 10 days to 3 weeks off for it. Resting was a good choice for me this time. My knee soreness went away and everything feels back to normal. I am most thankful!

A few runs later and another knee test was in order.
Last night I headed out for a long run on the road (long run being very subjective here). My long runs have been usually 10-12 miles since recovering from plantar fasciitis. My longest was 15 a few weeks ago, but I must confess that I used the snow as an opportunity to make frequent stops and take photos (This is part of my plan... I love taking pictures and it helps me keep from doing too much intensity too often).

There is a big difference in running 15 miles, easy (with stops), and the 15 I did last night on the road with strides and a tempo in the second half. I was reminded of this with sore calves (but not a sore knee!). My watch displayed that my road pace for workouts is at "base" level. Overall, I averaged about 8:40 miles with the 7 mile warm up, short tempo (2x1 mile with a jog between), strides and very easy/jog cool down.

Frequent readers know that I do some slow, slow training for recovery pace.  I have a plan to do some road races (as well as trail races) in 2014, so this is just a starting point.  I can't express how good it felt to complete this, and I slept like a rock last night!
***
Faith stuff
I haven't written much on Faith lately in my blog. The reasons are complex, and I won't be making excuses. For over a year we were out of church. When there were some disagreements over theology and teaching in the leadership there, things there fell apart. I know God uses situations like this to bring about good.

Now, we have found ourselves back in a place to worship where the teaching is solid and from the Bible. The pastor and his wife have children the same age as ours. But it is hard for us (hubby and I) to want to connect or be apart of a new "family" after the hurts of our last situation and damaged relationships.

I am praying that my children will be drawn to Jesus and that they will have a desire for grace and a longing for His love, despite the faults they have witnessed and the hangups we have.
John 16:33"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
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43 comments:

  1. Envy you that hot tub and sauna after the bitterly cold weather we've had. Sounds like you'd a wonderful Christmas. Here's wishing you all the very best for 2014. Cheers!

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    1. It was pure bliss! Forget the ice-bath.
      Hope you have an excellent 2014 as well!! :)

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  2. Hooray for a beautiful Christmas! The image in my head of you all hauling gifts up the hill is priceless. So happy that running continues to go well for you. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thankfully I enlisted some helpers :) .. Thanks for the warm wishes! Sending you the same for 2014.♥

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  3. We changed churches last year...it was a big move, tough, and not one I would take lightly. We're happy at the church we are in now, but it was a very weird feeling to make the change and try to be at home at our new church!

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    1. Thanks for your comment about this Gracie. I'm not sure what your changes were, but praying you will find yourself at home there.

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  4. That tool set sounds like trouble for sure! Glad you and your family had a good Christmas.

    Glad your running is going well. When I had jumpers knee, ice and compression help but ultimately it took some rest.

    Maybe you can use the church issue as one of those life lessons. Church people aren't perfect, no one is.

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    1. Luckily I didn't let it get out of control and it only started to come on the following day, not during the run! Amazing job on the ultra :)
      You are absolutely correct about the imperfect church. I am glad we are part of this one, it just feels a little different.

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  5. Glad you had a great Christmas! I am really learning the value of being able to use steam room/sauna/hot tub after a hard workout. Growing up we had a hot tub but never really used it for more than hanging out with friends. Now I don't have one at home, but I recently joined a new gym with fabulous amenities. After a kick ass class tonight I hopped in the hot tub and felt a million times better!

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    1. It does feel great! I have been using it a lot.. actually doing it pre-run sometimes so that I can get a good warm up and stretch. No fancy gym though! I bet you are going to love that :)

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  6. Those trails are amazing looking!! Im so glad you take it easy and share the beauty!! Prayers as you adjust. Trusting is hard when youve been hurt!! We put up walls to protect ourselves. But we dont realize the walls are actually doing more harm than good. (Preaching to myself here!!)

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    1. Thank you for your prayers, Deb!! Wishing you the best in 2014. ♥

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  7. Most excellent post! That intelliglobe thing sounds awesome! I need to check on one of those for my classroom. My students are so geographically unaware; it's sad. I'm glad you and the kiddos had a great Christmas.

    Those trails are BEAUTIFUL! Yay for running healthy and happy. You are very smart with your recovery/rest to avoid injuries. I know it's tough to back down, but in the end it pays off HUGE. (You already know that because you're smart.)

    Thank you thank you for sharing about the faith stuff. After my divorce, I had a really, really hard time going to church for a lot of reasons. One reason was the way I thought people were treating me. (However, looking back this may have been more in my head.) I also felt hurt/cheated by God for obvious reasons. It took a LONG time for me to heal from these things. It's not totally like your situation, but it IS because you have to take time to separate the church from God's love and His word. It's hard to separate those two. I try to always remember, every church will be flawed because it's run/organized by humans, and we are flawed by design. However, God's word is the truth and it is pure. Your children and family are so lucky to have you to lead them in this way. I've also found a new church that I really like, but it's hard to truly get close and trust. I'm working on those things, too.

    Have an AWESOME 2014, Raina!

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    1. Your students would ABSOLUTELY benefit from the intelliglobe. I don't know if you have a time for "noisy" class play, but that would be perfect for it- unless there is a way to put a headset on the pen/wand. I am amazed at how much info it has, music, food, cities, quizzes/games/drills, environment, etc.. It would make a great classroom donation from Toys R Us!

      Not so smart, regarding rest and injuries, but learning from experience.... :)

      I appreciate your words here about the faith part and church. I think we are still in mourning over the devastation of losing the close family we had built, but need to look at what opportunities we have in front of us.. Blessings!!

      Hope your New Year is magical!! You have some incredible things coming your way :)

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  8. What a fun Christmas!

    Ahhh, beautiful trails. I miss them. I hope your knee feels better.

    My parents and sister live in Cyprus. On the Greek side. I lived there for 5-6 years in my youth, in Famagusta. I've been dreaming about going back for years, and have been slowly saving for tickets - they're so expensive! And the trip is 24-36 hours. Yikes...

    I hope you find a Church home where you feel comfortable and welcome.

    Happy New Year!! =)

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    1. The knee's tons better, thanks Keeley!

      I think I had read that somewhere about you being from Cyprus. What a fantastic trip it would be for you and your family! I hope it can be a reality for you soon.

      Thanks, and have a fantastic New Year!!

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  9. So glad you found a church home! We faced the same problem 20 years ago, and ended up returning to the same church because we just didn't feel like we fit in anywhere else. Not a good idea. We left the first time with good feelings, but the second time was not as pretty. Thankfully, our family recovered and we have been at our present church for 19 years now. Sometimes, it's not the church's fault - after all, it's just made of people like us - but as we continue to grow in the Lord, we sometimes change as well as our needs and desires for Worship. The challenge is to make that change with Grace and Love :)

    You do run in some beautiful places!! I loved, loved, loved the scenery when we lived in the NW (Seattle) but missed all my family which lives in the South. My SIL still lives in Eugene, so, who knows??? Maybe I'll get a chance to run in those beautiful places someday!

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    1. We are actually in the same church building, just with a totally new group of people who started a new church. Definitely it's a challenge, but life is one challenge after another with a chance to make the most of each..right?

      It would be fabulous if you ever get back to visit the PNW! Hope your New Year is filled with blessings!

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  10. What a lovely Christmas! I am glad to hear that running is going well. Also, I am sorry about the whole church situation. Sometimes it can be really, really tough to find a church that preaches the Bible and the Bible only. And then adding in the fear of being hurt again is rough, too. I will be praying!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment and your prayers, Allie! Hope you have a wonderful New Year :)

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  11. Sounds like you had a great Holiday! So glad you found a new church home, we had a similar situation and we are finally settled in with our current church. Your long runs sound amazing! I seriously can't even imagine being able to run that far that fast! I hope you have a wonderful 2014 New Year! Carri~A Running bee

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    1. I'm glad you are settled in your new church, Carri. Thanks for your kind words on my run. Yours is going pretty well too!
      Happy new year!

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  12. The photo with you running in the pink jacket - such a gorgeous place to run! I like recipes with only 3 ingredients - so easy!

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    1. Thanks, Tina! Yes, 3 ingredients I should keep in my cupboards all the time... :)
      Hope you have a wonderful 2014!

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  13. That first trail picture is just GORGEOUS!! Wow. Hope you have a wonderful 2014!

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    1. Thanks Michael! Happy New Year to you too!!

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  14. Yikes, 4 year olds and tools definitely sounds tricky. :) Your running sounds like mine- a few steps forward, a few steps back. I'm glad to hear you found a new church community- it makes me sad that churches can have so many issues but we they are made up of humans, and cannot be perfect. I hope you're able to open up and connect deeply with this new group. Happy new year!

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    1. Glad to get your comment, Laura! I tried to comment on your site yesterday but it kept crashing on me.. so time to try again :)
      Thanks for the kind words. God bless you in 2014!

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  15. I'm jealous your trail looks like that right now. It's constantly either too snowy or too muddy.

    Good call on taking some rest days, and I'm glad your knee is feeling better!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Come on out and we can have some fun in the trees, Kristy :D . Hope you have a WONDERFUL 2014 !

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  16. Your trail looks amazing! Great way to keep yourself healthy, there's an art to know when to taking it "easier" of course your easier still sounds pretty tough to me! Happy New Year ;)

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    1. Thank you!! True words. I hope your 2014 is starting off well :) ♥

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  17. Great closing verse! Here's to a beautiful and productive 2014!

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    1. Thank you dear!! Wishing you all the best for the New Year too. ♥

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  18. Great post as always Raina, it is encouraging to know about your progress in running and thank you for sharing the beautiful pics of your surroundings. I can't say the same, I am recovering from injuries (my right knee and the left achilles tendon) after being running for a couple of months, but at least it seems that the PF is gone, I am just waiting to be better to start over again.
    I hope this new year bring you many rewards in all your activities and many interestings post from you about any matter!
    I also hope you can find what you are looking for in your Faith. As a catholic (like many of us in Latin America) I understand your need of God for you and your family, so my prayers are with you.

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    1. I appreciate your thoughtful comment and your prayers, Benjamin! Sorry to hear about your injuries. I wondered if you had anything going on, since I had not seen any photos or talk of runs posted to G+ for some time. Praying for some speedy healing for you so you can enjoy training and hiking in 2014!

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  19. Great blog post as usual Raina. Thanks for letting into your life during the holiday and giving us a recap of your running. Even though you were sidetracked a bit because of the knee, it was very smart of your to take some time off. Great job again, keep up the good work.

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    1. Thanks so much, Fred! I have some more details on running coming up. :) I think I've been injured enough times now that I can begin to recognize when somethings needs a few days off, Vs running though.. but it can be hard to tell sometimes! (i.e. the plantar fasciitis episode) . I hope your 2014 is loaded with blessings! I'm excited to see what you have in store this year. :)

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  20. Sounds like a fun Christmas. What did the pen globe say about Australia? Did it even know we exist? ;)

    You have some beautiful trails there. The 15 miler was a great workout. I'd be happy with that pace for a flat 5k at the moment. Good early catch of the knee niggle. What are your next races?

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    1. It said all sorts of things about Australia! We did not hear anything about drop-bears though. :)
      Thanks about the pace~ It's all relative..
      I have a very loose schedule for racing, and like to keep it that way. There is a goal race 50k I would like to do in May, but we shall see if my body cooperates. I'm sure there will be some shorter races here and there along the way. :) Thanks for taking the time to comment!

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  21. Thank you very much for the kind mention. But ... if the dream will come true, think about a stop in Italy. Wonderful Christmas and beautiful trail to run through.

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  22. Gorgeous trails! Hope you had a Merry Christmas and happy new year :) Those 'cookies' look pretty good. May have to try them out myself too!

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  23. Yes - gorgeous gorgeous trails! That looks wonderful out there. Nice move on the knee - I've had runner's / jumper's knee a lot and agree - a little time out now makes life MASSIVELY better later. Sounds like it worked for you. Happy new year Raina!

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