Disconnected. And it feels so good!

Well, it’s been a while, old friends! A week and a day to be exact. I didn’t plan it, but I ended up disconnecting for the holidays. With the exception of a few Instagram pics of my silly dogs, I avoided most social media, and most importantly, I didn’t write a word. I didn’t even take very many pictures (gasp!). Instead I spent lots of time with family, helped my husband put on a Turkey Trot race, cooked a lot, ate a lot more, ran a little, and had an amazing, wonderful holiday.

Here, with the few photographs that I took, plus a few that I stole borrowed from my family and friends, is a recap of the last week. And, many of the things that I am thankful for.

With the weather cooling down (though it was in the 80s on Thanksgiving Day), we had some cloud cover and even a little rain. That made for some beautiful sunrises. Did you ever notice that the most beautiful part of the sunrise happens when you don’t have a camera handy?

Sunrise

Johnny

As I said, I didn’t take many pictures, but sometimes I just have to share my dogs’ antics, no matter how disconnected I am. There is Johnny above, showing it all off during his nap, Penny below, who is soooo tired, and Goldie on the bottom, sitting in a food bowl. Silly dogs!

Penny

Goldie

 

On Thanksgiving Day, Alan and I put on the 16th Annual Turkey Trot, this year held in Old Town La Quinta. I say we, but he does all the work. I just help out and handle registration on race day. We had about 500 people, and in spite of a little course confusion (don’t ask!), everyone had a good time. And it gave us an idea for a different kind of race, a Scramble, where you run three courses, all the same distance, in different directions, and the first one across the line is a winner (that may give you an idea of how the Turkey Trot went!).

race

Pace Car

My son David and his girlfriend Melissa did the race for the first time. They also helped at registration.

David

Alan, posing with our daughter-in-law Lisa, and our twin grandsons Dane and Cash, before the race.

Family

Look at that intense look on Cash’s face. You can tell he wants to win.

Cash3And he’s leading the race! Not really, but he did really well.

Cash2This was posted on Facebook by someone that I don’t even know (she posted it on the race page).  Cash is pretty much leading the race at that point!

Race Start

Brothers!

Dane_Cash

Grandpa and the boys.

Dane

I look important, don’t I? I’m checking the results to see how Cash did.

Debbie

And he finished first in his age group!

Cash4

Proud mama Lisa and her boys after the race.

Lisa

One of our local newswomen, Gloria Rodriguez, announced the awards ceremony.

Gloria

Alan is always at home behind the mic. In addition to our own races, he announces quite a few in Southern California, including the Malibu Marathon and the LA Triathlon series.

Alan

By 10:00 we were done with the race and headed home (nice to host a race in your home town, just five minutes from our front door). Even though we weren’t hosting Thanksgiving dinner, I did have some cooking to do..vegan versions of stuffing, sweet potatoes, plus I roasted a Gardein Holiday Roast, to bring with us to dinner at Lisa’s and Alan’s son John’s place in Palm Desert. Believe it or not, I didn’t take a single picture of either family or food. Instead, we just enjoyed the holiday together.

We were exhausted though. Alan wakes up at 2:30 on race morning, and I sleep in to about 4:00. I think we managed about an hour nap each, so by 8:00 we were sagging. Still, we had a great time.

Our second Thanksgiving meal was held at my son Nathan’s new home. It was also a celebration of Samuel’s second birthday, so in addition to Nathan and his wife Sarah, David and Melissa were there, along with my niece Brynne, her boyfriend Eric, and his son Zach. This time Nathan made vegan versions of most of the side dishes (hurray for my Paleo son!), so I just brought along the leftover Holiday Roast. I also got back on the picture taking wagon (or fell off..or something).

Grandpa: First, let’s take a selfie!

Grandpa

Hurray for the Chargers!

McClean

Sarah and Nathan are loving their new home. They’ve just been in it a month, and are finally getting things where they want them.

Nathan

Uncle David giving Samuel a flight…

Uncle David

…and spending some time coloring.

David_Samuel

A boy and his dog. That’s Chloe, who just turned a year old. Nice that they’ll grow up together.

Samuel

My vegan dinner. Even my niece made her green bean casserole dairy free.

Dinner

 

Samuel2

Singing to the birthday boy!

Birthday

Samuel_Nathan

I managed to get a little training in, though between work, holidays, traveling, etc., I didn’t get my greatest effort. I did three runs, including a six miler on Saturday, my longest in a while, did one Pilates workout, and no yoga at all. But, December is the beginning of marathon training (for the SLO Marathon in April), so I started the month off with a five mile run and a yoga class on Monday.

Well, it felt so good to be disconnected, but it’s great to be back. How was your holiday? Did you get to disconnect a little? Spend some time with family and friends? Do you realize that Christmas is only three weeks away? And Hanukkah starts in less than two weeks? Yikes!

 

 

Things to remember:

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Join me in San Luis Obispo on April 26, 2015, for the SLO Marathon. Save $10 on registration for either the full or half marathon with the code: WOODAMB. Register soon for the best savings and I’ll see you in April!

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My favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central is going global! You can sign up here, and read this post for details on signing up for online classes at Yoga Central.

I Don’t Feel Like Writing. The Weekend in Pictures

After a long, busy weekend, it is hard to settle down and write. Though once I get started I usually start rambling. In any case, busy weekend. Cross country meet, grandson time. All good stuff.

One reminder! This is the last day to enter the Armour39 Performance Monitor giveaway! Seriously, this is one cool heart rate monitor and training system. It will actually rate you based on how hard you’re working! Who doesn’t want your phone telling you “work harder!”

Armour39

Now back at it. Here’s the weekend in pictures.

Weekend

I didn’t get a lot of time to run with all that was going on, but I was out on the trails on Friday. It was a beautiful day, but I’m still waiting for that moment when I walk out the door, pause, and say, “ooh, it’s a little chilly this morning.”

29 Palms 2

The girls requested this pose, not sure why. It’s okay with me, I prefer to show them from the back or from a distance. They ran so well at our invitational on Saturday! They came in second overall! Among the teams that they beat were two from our own league who were also at the meet.

29 Palms

As I said, I don’t usually post close ups but this is such a beautiful picture. Look at her form! She’s literally flying! In only her second three mile race ever, she finished 19th and helped our team finish second. Side note: She is a sprinter, a good one, who hopes to break the school record in the 100.

29 Palms 3

Okay, another exception to my rule. Where my young lady looks graceful, this young man looks, well, painful. Still, he ran well. We do enjoy giving him a hard time about his form and facial expressions.

Weekend 2

I allowed myself to be talked into participating in the teams’ Secret Sisters exchange and this is what I received. Raw, vegan brownies! They are delicious and the young lady who gave them to me was so proud that she had made them herself. (sneaking away for a moment to get another one out of the fridge)

Weekend3

The expression is more from exhaustion than my glass of wine, but I did want to show off the shirt that one of the parents gave to our girls team.

Weekend 4On Sunday we got to see Samuel. And his parents of course. The first of many grandson selfies.

Weekend 13The kids (ha! my 37 year old son may not call himself a kid but I do) are building a new home near Temecula. It is so much closer than before so I am really excited. They are having a great time following the process, customizing their choices, and overseeing the construction. About five more weeks until it is ready and they move in!

Weekend 8I love their open concept kitchen/living area (can you tell I watch all the real estate shows on HGTV?). The door on the right will be their walk-in pantry and the door will have a glass panel.

Weekend 7This will be Sarah’s room, where she can have her sewing and crafts, and still look out onto the living area.

Weekend 9The “en suite.” Is that how it is spelled? I usually just hear it on television. Right now, the tub is in the bedroom.

Weekend12 Big open living/dining area.

Weekend 5He’s a handful!

Weekend 6

Weekend 10I can look at a gazillion of these pictures, but I realize that not everyone is related, so I condensed most of them into this collage. The back yard, playing with grandpa, and climbing hills.

Weekend 11

The chose the upgraded solar panels, so when they are installed, they will take up that open space on the roof. It will save them a lot of money over time.Weekend 14

The Temecula area is really growing, but they overlook a flood plain (or something like that), so they will always have this view.

Weekend 16

It was too early for lunch, so we stopped at Starbucks. Briefly, because this young man needs to run free, not be stuck on dad’s lap.

Weekend 15

More selfies because Samuel knows how to make the camera work, so I probably have about 100 of similar shots.

Weekend 17Nice park near where the kids will be moving. A small lake, jogging path, and playgrounds.

Instagram of the day. Samuel actually sliding down that slide! Follow me!

How was your weekend? Any events, races, or fun family time? I’d love to hear about it!

Random Monday: Catching Up

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Random Monday Reflections

Well, another week has just flown by. You’d think that since I am not working I would have all kinds of time on my hands, but it just hasn’t turned out that way so far. Between some online job searching, starting my new blog and social media accounts, studying and researching to become a social media manager, keeping up with this blog and social media, not to mention coaching my cross country team, every day has been busy and full.

Looking Forward

In fact, I already need to get a little better at my time management. I tend to try to do too much multi-tasking, which is not really beneficial in the long run. I decided my first step was to write down my goals for the coming week. That should help me focus and prioritize. My weekly goals include:

  1. Write a new Media Fitness Coach blog post. I want to post once a week on the blog, probably on Wednesday.
  2. Work on getting more followers on both new Twitter and Facebook pages.
  3. Be more consistent with my posting on all my social media accounts. Scheduling some posts, but also spending more time engaging.
  4. Study one or two hours a day.
  5. Develop my presentation package.
  6. Write a couple proposals. I have an idea that I hope will give me a little experience. I’ll share if it works out. Oh heck, I’ll share it now. I have a couple friends who run small businesses that I think could use a little help with their social media marketing. I plan to offer them a great deal and offer to create and run a social media account for them. I believe it will be good for all of us.

Well, that should keep me going for a bit, anyway!

Looking Back

Well, if it was a whirlwind week, the weather seemed to reflect that feeling too. A little over a week ago I posted this:

August 2_17Most notably, that screenshot was taken at 6:00 pm! The humidity was only 5%, which made it (as one of my Facebook friends pointed out) feel like only 109. I cancelled afternoon practice that week, and the next, when it stayed really hot. Of course, even morning practices can be challenging when it’s already in the 90s by 6:00 am.

August 2_2

The above was a non-practice day, so Penny and I had the option of taking a walk rather than running. Even that was pretty miserable.

August 2_15Seen on the walk that day. Alan thinks they’re roadrunners (look at the size of their feet!). I didn’t touch them, I was just hopeful that mom was nearby. They posed really well, didn’t move a muscle.

Then to top off the weather weirdness, on Saturday as we were driving out of town, we suddenly drove through an intense rainstorm. I actually saw it ahead of us as we drove. It was dry, then withing a quarter mile, it was pouring. Scary pouring. It rained off and on like that for about 20 minutes, then eased off as we headed west on the freeway. Thank goodness. I’m a Californian. Rain makes me nervous.

August 2_7Ironically, we were headed to Huntington Beach for the weekend to get out of the heat (and see the family, of course), but with the rain in the desert it turned out to be a very cool, if humid, weekend. When we came back on Sunday afternoon, we ran into yet another rainstorm, but it was actually in the low 70s, something I’m not sure I’ve ever experienced in August in over 30 years in the desert.

We spent the weekend in Huntington Beach, where it was even crazier than usual because the US Open of Surfing was going on. It brings huge numbers of young people, so the traffic was terrible, the restaurants were packed, and the streets were full of young people wearing almost nothing. Yes, that makes me sound old, but seriously, don’t women wear coverups anymore?

August 2Anyway, we are fortunate that Alan’s son lives close enough to the beach that we can just park our car and walk everywhere we want to go. When we arrived, the boys were out doing various things, so we walked downtown to lunch at Coach’s.August 2_4

If it looks familiar that’s because we were there just a month ago. I love their Falafel Pitas! The beer was pretty good too. When we got back to the house, these guys were there:

August 2_16They were getting ready to go to camp for their first time. Their mom was busily checking lists and packing, and we were under strict instructions not to let them get up early with us the next morning. Though it’s not like we wake them up on purpose, we just get up early. But, we tried really hard. We slept in a little later than normal ourselves, then tiptoed out, first to get coffee, then to head down to the beach. So much different at 6:00 am.

August 2_3Quite a sight from Starbucks. To the east, a beautiful, bursting sunrise. To the west, a double rainbow (it’s a little hard to see the second rainbow, to the left).

August 2_12

August 2_11

August 2_13

August 2_5

August 2_10We walked down to the pier and checked out what was going on at the surf competition. It was early, but they were out there. The waves weren’t the greatest, but that doesn’t stop the competition. In fact, according to an announcement we heard while we were there, the only thing that would stop or postpone the competition was a thunderstorm, which was a possibility. I think they were able to finish though before the rain came.

August 2_6Collecting: the good and the bad. I found quite a few whole, pretty shells as we walked, but I also found a lot of glass. The glass above was picked up in just a tiny area, so I can only imagine how much is really out there. Too bad to have to worry about cutting up your feet (and your children’s feet) because some people are too irresponsible to pick up their trash.

We did NOT go for a run, which was nice. I’ve been running more with the team lately, so I was ready for a day off. Instead we walked the beach.  Then Alan took they boys back to the ocean for a swim. Perfect morning.

On the way home to the desert, we were hungry but not yet ready for lunch so we stopped and had our first Acai bowls! They were pretty good, but they were so huge and tasted so good, it’s hard to believe they were all that good for us. Research is needed! Not that we don’t occasionally eat things that aren’t good for us (see those french fries in the above picture), but I just like to know.

August 2_9

After driving through the rainstorm, we finally arrived home too late for lunch and too early for dinner, so we decided to combine the two by eating an early dinner at Chipotle.

August 2_8

I love getting out of the desert heat, but it sure feels good to be home. We have a dog sitter who stays with the dogs, but they still miss us (and we miss them!). There really isn’t anything better than sleeping in your own bed, even when you share it with five (or is it six?) dogs.

How was your weekend? Any races, family happenings, or other events? Do you make a work plan for the week? Do you know how many calories are in an Acai bowl?

Cross Country, Vegan Eats and Samuel Time!

The highlight of my week:

Samuel2Of course, seeing Samuel is always the highlight of the week, but there were a few other things going on.

Cross Country Begins

Cross country practice started on Tuesday. I’m coaching the girls team only this year, so it is a different experience than in previous years. We’re losing a couple of our best runners (they’re transferring to another school, long story), but we’re also expecting a new student, moving from Washington state, a sophomore with a cross country PR of around 18:30. Last year we had a strong, young team, so I’m excited about the coming season.

Live from La Quinta - Girls Cross Country Team - Running

Our 2012 girls team.

Cross country is very time consuming though. We meet five days a week, and that includes my usual running days (except Sunday, which I keep for my own). I do get to run with the girls a lot at this time of the season, when we’re building endurance. Because of my work schedule we have two afternoon practices a week, so they’re getting their heat training early. Those practices are at 6 pm but, using this evening as an example, it is still 110 degrees at 6:30 pm, so it’s pretty tough. They need it, but we keep it short and pretty easy, especially at first. Last week we did a circuit strength workout that included a lap on the track between each set. Challenging but doable (and we stayed in the shade for the strength portion).

Samuel Time

As I mentioned, this was the highlight of my weekend. My son and daughter in law are building a house in Murrieta, and they invited us to see the progress. Well, not exactly progress because the actual home building hasn’t really begun, but they wanted us to see the location and the model. And we wanted to see Samuel them.

We met them at a little airport near their soon-to-be new home because Samuel loves to watch the planes taking off. One of his first words, “Wow!” gets used a lot while he’s there.

Samuel3We hadn’t seen him for a couple months and at that age, what a difference a couple months makes! He seems so grown up (at 19 months), he walks (and runs) so well, he’s starting to say a few words (still can’t get him to say Grandma yet though), and is generally fun and playful. Alan had a great time playing with him.

Grandpa2

GrandpaWe all piled in their car and went to lunch. Our go-to restaurant in that area is the Earth Bistro, which serves meat but has plenty of vegan options.

Samuel

After lunch we piled back in the car and drove out to their new home site. Sitting in the back seat, squeezed in between Samuel in his car seat and Alan, I really felt I needed to take some grandma selfies. Samuel helped.

Samuel4

Samuel5The house is being built in a new development, so there are only a few homes built so far. They are just opening up the sports complex/playground in a few days. So far, the lot has been leveled, the wall is being built, and I believe they’ll being laying the foundation in the next week or so. So right now, we got to see a pile of dirt. But, it’s Nathan and Sarah’s pile of dirt.

HomeI think their house is going to be beautiful! We got to see the model and I loved the layout. It has a huge open concept kitchen/living/dining area, several bedrooms, an office for my son, and an office/work room for my daughter in law. And it will be solar powered! It should be ready to move in by mid-October. I’m so excited for them. It’s their first home, and I love that they are moving closer to us. It’s only about an hour and a half drive. Close enough to babysit!

Vegan Eats

After lunch at Native Foods in Costa Mesa last week,  I was in the mood for more, so I picked up lunch to bring back to work on Wednesday. So good. (Not pictured, the fries that are included with the daily special. They didn’t survive the 15 minute ride back to work.)

Native FoodsAfter our first evening cross country practice, I’d planned to stop at Z Pizza and pick up a vegan pizza. I didn’t know, until I parked in front of the restaurant, that they are closed temporarily. It was a little late to start from scratch (and I was in the mood for pizza), so instead I picked up a cheese-less veggie pizza from Pizza Hut, added a little Daiya to it and popped it under the broiler when I got home. For some reason I didn’t take a picture, but I’m sure you can visualize it.

I did take a picture of our food at the Earth Bistro. Alan had a veggie burger and I had a grilled veggie sandwich. I also took a picture of the stuffed grape leaves, which were Samuel’s, but they were vegan so I had to try one. They were good!

LunchThe other day I received the cookbook “Paleo By Season: A Chef’s Approach to Paleo Cooking” in the mail. I’m not sure exactly why. I didn’t order it or offer to review it. I don’t do Paleo, so that wouldn’t be something I would be interested in. Sarah and Nathan, however, do follow a Paleo diet, so I gave them the book. If you’re interested, you can look for a review soon on their blog, Rock like Grok.

Cookbook

On Saturday evening, a day that started with 6 am cross country practice, traveled to Murrieta to see the family, we ended the day with a party at our friend Liz’s house. It’s totally family oriented, they even showed a movie in the back yard on a big screen when it got dark. But there are grown ups there (and wine!). And she’s an amazing cook and always creates something deliciously vegan for us. This time is was enchiladas. One of the things I love the most is seeing how the vegan food she cooks (in addition to regular food for her other guests), gets gobbled up by everyone, who for the most part don’t even realize they’re eating plant based food.

Dinner

Johnny Be Goode

For those of you have been wondering. Johnny has settled in nicely. He is still a puppy and he has a lot of bad habits after growing up on the streets, but he’s a sweet, loving dog and he gets along with the pack just fine for the most part (except when he jumps on them in his exuberance). And we do have to watch out for our noses.

Johnny3

And finally, because nothing makes me smile more than watching my grandson play, I’m sharing this video so that you can smile too.

How was your weekend? Any events, great restaurants, or family time?

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8 Summer Running Tips

It is heating up in the desert. Which makes sense, considering that summer has officially started. As I write this it is 113 outside. All this makes running a tougher sport than it already is.

June13

But it feels like only 109!

Summer Running Tips

Running in the summer can be challenging, but here are a few tips that can help.

  • Run early or late. Running in the cooler part of the day is smart. The morning hours are usually the coolest, but if that doesn’t work for you, waiting until early evening will provide some relief.
  • Drink before, during, and after your run to stay hydrated. Keep the water flowing! Using a sports drink can help balance your electrolytes to help avoid dehydration.
  • Adapt. Allow yourself 10 days to two weeks to acclimatize to hot weather, gradually increasing your distance and intensity.
  • Wear appropriate clothing. While running shirtless may sound cooler, in reality the direct sunlight can overheat you even more, not to mention cause you to risk a sunburn. Choose a moisture wicking material that is lightweight and comfortable. Lighter colors will keep you cooler. Protect your face by wearing a lightweight hat or visor.
  • Adjust your expectations. Running in the heat will take a toll on your training target times. Expect that, but know that as long as the effort is there you are still improving your fitness and your speed.
  • Listen to your Body. There are dangers associated with running in the heat, from dehydration, to heat exhaustion, to heat stroke. Learn the symptoms and pay attention to how you feel during your run.
  • Be Smart. On some hot, high humidity days, the smartest runners will move their run indoors or just take a rest day. Watch the heat index, which will let you know the “feels like” temperature, as well as the air quality index, particularly if you have asthma or other respiratory problems.
  • Don’t forget your sunscreen.

Obviously my run started a little earlier in the day, but it was still pretty warm (it just looks hot, doesn’t it?).June8I got a late start, after spending way too much time looking for my favorite running top (the one I wore in the marathon). I still haven’t found it, even though I know I just wore it the other day. It was about 6:45 when I finally headed out for my run, and already over 80 degrees. It was 90 when I finished!

June

Vega CocktailMy post-run cocktail. Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator provides support for all aspects of recovery, including electrolytes for rehydration.

The weekend forecast made it easy to skip some Saturday chores and head to Huntington Beach for another out and back trip. This weekend, one of our grandsons was competing in a baseball all star tournament. I’m not sure what was the best part, seeing him play, or the lovely 80 degree weather. Kidding! It was definitely the weather seeing the game.

June11Dane is the baserunner in these pictures. He eventually scored. His team ended up winning 12-0.

June3Grandpa with our All Star

June4I think Cash may have his Grandpa’s flair for color (his just needs a little refining).

We brought Coco along with us, and she was a dream. She’s been having a bit of a hard time with our new addition and his puppy exuberance, so we decided to give her a break. She loved it.

June1I think she’ll want to go everywhere with us now!

June2

June5

Our grandsons with their parents.

The only downside of these visits is the traffic. It’s about a two and a half hour drive, but the traffic is so heavy once we get close to Orange County that it almost makes you want to turn back around. And that’s on a Saturday! It really must be miserable on a weekday.

Speaking of Johnny, he continues to settle in. He can be a little terror when he gets excited, jumping and climbing over the dogs like they’re not even there. I came home after my run on Sunday to find the trash spread all over the kitchen and front room. While I’m pretty sure that it was Penny (also known as the trash dog) who tipped it over, Johnny was having a good old time spreading it around.

June10I’m not sure if that expression looks guilty or innocent

Other Running Stuff

So I feel like my recovery is finally over. While I didn’t get my mileage up to where I want it (a late start plays havoc on running goals), I did manage five miles on Saturday and six miles on the trails on Sunday. Even though it was hot, it felt really good to be back on the trails. I haven’t done much trail running since marathon training got serious. I was by myself, because Alan was riding his bike and Penny just isn’t up to the mileage anymore (I did take her for a one mile run/walk though).

 June9

June7On Wednesday I did a tempo run, my first speed workout since before the marathon (not that I did that much even then!). I did the Pyramid Fartek Workout that I posted last week, and it was tough! To be honest, I cut out one of the five minute intervals (the workout tops out with two five minute intervals with a 2:30 recovery. I did one of them). I was still pleased with my own effort. I also loved my new speed training shoes, the Asics Gel Electro33, which I reviewed here.

Asics 3This is the purple top that I can’t find! And I wore it for last Wednesday’s workout.

Asics Outrun the Sun Challenge

Just in case you missed it, Team Ultra Trail outran the sun on the longest day of the year!

Outrun the SunSadly, Team Enduro lost to the sun. Better luck next year!

How was your weekend? Any races, events, classes, or family fun? Do you have any tips to add for running in the heat?

Family Fun, Vegan Eats, Johnny, and the Bondi Band Winners

Bondi Band Winners

First off, since I know you’ve been waiting anxiously for the announcement, the Bondi Band winners!

Bondi Band

Congratulations to Tessie B., Birdiebee, and Deborah N. Your Bondi Bands are already on their way! Thanks for entering.

Family Fun

Last weekend we drove to San Clemente to see our twin grandsons play in a soccer tournament. They’re playing club soccer now, which is apparently much more serious business that it was when my boys were playing AYSO (of course that was about 25 years ago).

It was a two and a half hour drive to Orange County, made more fun as always by heavy traffic. There was also an accident that stopped traffic completely for a while. When we passed the scene, it looked like everyone was okay. I hope that was the case.

Soccer

We thought their game (match?) was at 11:30, but when we arrived at 11, they were already playing. We found out though, that they actually had two games that day. We enjoyed the second half of their first match (they won!), then we went to a long lunch because their second game wasn’t until 3:20.

Cash

Cash had to tough out a bad sunburn. He even had a blister break toward the end of the second game. That’s not his soda by the way. Or telephone :-)

John

My stepson. His soda. And phone.

The second game was more evenly matched and exciting than the first. Both the boys (and the whole team) played very well. At nine years old, their ball handling skills are quite good, so it’s fun to watch them play. Unfortunately, they lost by one goal, but they did well enough to go back the next day.

Alan and I did not go back the next day. We took our long drive home, thinking that, yes, five hours of driving is fine to watch your grandsons play in a soccer tournament, but doing that two days in a row, um, not so much. We usually would stay overnight with the family in Huntington Beach, but our dog sitter wasn’t available, so we had to make adjustments.

Speaking of dogs…

Johnny

Johnny 5Johnny is settling in quite nicely. He is a puppy, so he tends to drive the older dogs a little crazy with his enthusiasm sometimes, but he obviously is a sweet dog. He is a “mouther” though, which not only has left Alan and me with a few “love bites,” it also causes the other dogs to yelp every now and then when they’re playing with him.

He obviously spent some time on the street and is mildly aggressive about food. He gobbles his own down, then we have to watch that he doesn’t steal from the others. He has already put on a little weight, which is good. He was so skinny when we got him.

Johnny

He wears himself out. And he wears out the older dogs too.

There are still many reminders of Sassy in his look and his behavior. He is a high energy dog, always on the go, until he runs out of gas and falls deeply asleep in seconds. On the walk he travels back and forth just like Sassy used to do, anxious to see everything there is to see. If he ever stands on his front legs to pee (something that Sassy always did that I unfortunately never photographed), I will truly believe she has been reincarnated.

Vegan Eats

I had hoped while we were in Orange County to stop at the Veggie Grill, a fun vegan fast food chain that has several locations nearby. Not only do I enjoy the food, I had a Father’s Day weekend coupon that was good for a free entree when you purchased one entree. We didn’t make it though. With the second soccer game lasting until after 4:00, we just wanted to get home, so we shared a hummus wrap and quinoa salad from Trader Joes.

That being said, we did eat well during our lunch break between games. We ate at Pizza Port, which didn’t have a whole lot of vegan choices, so we ordered the veggie pizza without cheese. It was pretty tasty!

Pizza

Last week one of my Facebook friends shared that she’d tried the new Fishless Filets that Gardein was making now. I had mixed feelings, because I’m really not into a fishy taste in food (definitely something I don’t miss as a vegan), but I still thought it would be fun to try. She said they had it at Clark’s Nutrition Center, so I stopped by and picked some up (along with some vegan tartar sauce).

fishThe Fishless Filets are baked, not fried, but they were still very crispy on the outside. Now it’s been a long time since I had a real fish filet, but I thought these were very tasty. The inside somehow managed to be flaky, and taste like fish, but it wasn’t fishy. It had a light, fresh taste. They also provide Omega 3s from a plant based source! Alan liked them too. I think they are great for an occasional change of pace. I will buy them again, probably soon because I now have a jar of vegan tartar sauce to use up!

You can usually tell how busy I am by how many of my home cooked meals include a faux meat. I’ve been really busy lately, so in addition to the Fishless Filets above, I also bought a package of Gardein Chick’n Scallopini. I made two easy and delicious cruelty-free versions of Chicken Piccata and Chicken Marsala.  I kept the recipes simple and served them with rice (leftover rice on the second day), so both meals were done in a flash.

Marsala

By the way, for my gluten free friends, Gardein has added a few gluten free options to their line up!

Other Stuff (like Running)

So, all is pretty quiet on the running front. I definitely took my recovery to heart, probably more than I needed to. What with one thing and another (like traveling to the OC), I only ran about three miles on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I did take all the dogs out running (in separate groups). Even Johnny got to run a little, his first time running with the pack. No pictures though, I would have needed a couple extra hands for that!

I’m planning to up the intensity a little bit this week, as well as the mileage, three weeks out from the marathon. Now I just need to pick another event and start training!

Run

Alan and I also spent way too much time fixing our kitchen faucet. It’s pretty old and we had a heck of a time finding parts. We thought we were going to have to replace the whole thing. But finally one Sunday and five hardware store trips later, we got it done and we have running water in the kitchen again!

Have you ever tried to repair your own plumbing before? Do you play (or understand) soccer? If so, will you explain “Off Sides” to me? I just don’t get it.