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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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Let’s Put This Week to Bed. In (Mostly) Pictures

I have rehashed this week to death. You’ve read about my accident, my feelings about my accident, and my completion of the Move Nourish Believe Challenge in spite of the accident. I am tired of talking about it myself. So, I won’t. Except that a decent size insurance check should be arriving today so let the car shopping will begin.

We deserved a good weekend and the good karma gods delivered. If you follow me on Instagram you have a good idea what we’ve been up to (and if not, why not?). In any case, here are some pictures from the last week.

Running Girl

Goodbye Running Girl


Egg Tofu

My new discover thanks to Cadry’s Kitchen. I can’t believe how easy it is too make “tofu eggs!”


Mmmm, vegan pizza


On the trails with Penny on Saturday before leaving for the beach.

Penny and Mom


The view from our hotel room in Encinitas


Enjoying a little sea breeze, watching kids playing in the ocean, adults playing beach volleyball. Life in So Cal in February!



One of the most amazing sunsets I’ve ever seen. Also from the hotel room.


This was about 5 minutes after the sun had set. Still amazing.

Native Foods

Dinner at Native Foods. Two weeks in a row!

Native Foods 2

Soul Bowl

Native Foods 3

Bad pic, good food. Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger.


A foggy morning on Sunday.


At about mile 9 of 10.



Finally, the reason for our trip to San Diego! 15 months old!

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We got to meet Chloe.

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Samuel 4

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Lunch at PF Changs. These pictures were much better than the food pics.

bla bla blaThe week ended on a good note. Nothing like spending time with family to remind you of what is important and how precious life is.

I guess it’s time to start looking for a new car. I have pretty much decided that I want to start by looking at another Honda CRV. It was such a good car that it’s hard to think about a different one. Unless I get a really good deal on something else!

I want to thank you again for the support, love and concern that you expressed through the last week. It truly helped me stay strong in spite of the circumstances.

So, how was your weekend? Any travel, events, or special family time?

Chafing and Road Rash and Colds, Oh My!

We had to turn on our air conditioner yesterday. I’m not bragging about our warm weather (close to 90 degrees!). I hate turning on the A/C. Hate the stale air, hate closing up my house, and especially hate the increase in my electric bill that it causes. It’s February, right?

This week has not gone as planned. It was supposed to be week one of marathon training. I was supposed to create my training plan. I was supposed to build on my mileage from last week, which ended in a strong half marathon/long run. None of that happened.


After taking a couple days off after the race, I did manage a run on Wednesday. Not my usual tempo run, but a slower recovery-type run. My legs were still feeling the half marathon. And remember the chafing I mentioned? While it has mostly healed, one spot, on the inside of my right leg, has become a little infected and still hurts, not just when I run but anytime my legs touch each other (or anything else for that matter).


I have to share my pre-run banana 8 ways.

I took a fall on my Wednesday run. Probably because my legs were tired, but I tripped over a bump in the sidewalk, meaning that I landed hard on concrete. I have a little road rash on my hand and elbow, I jarred my knee a little, but I was able (after a few minutes) to jog back home.


Penny is never really happy to pose. She just want to run.

Thursday morning I woke up with a cold. Scratchy throat, stuffy nose, feeling blah. Unfortunately, Thursday is also a day that I teach two classes for which I couldn’t find a substitute. It was also a day that my assistant’s son dropped a concrete block on his foot and she needed to take him to urgent care. Which meant I had to stick it out for the day. I was stuck the next day too, at least until about noon, because said assistant called in sick herself. Great timing.

I felt a little better on Saturday, so I took Penny out for a three mile trail run. We both were pretty slow, but I felt okay. When I got home, the three little girls were all excited for their run, so I got them ready to go, then realized that Buddy (who usually runs with Alan, who was cycling that day) hadn’t had his run. Oh well, I figured, if I can take three I can take four. It was interesting.

The Little Dogs

It’s kind of hard to get a picture of four dogs on the run (try it sometime!).

Little Dogs

It was much easier to stop and get them to pose for me.

After that short run, I went home and slept for four hours. So I guess I wasn’t better yet.

I did manage to get the energy to go to dinner at Native Foods in Palm Springs on Saturday night. That doesn’t sound like it would need much energy, but it is a 45 minute drive in each direction, so it did take perseverance.


The food was good. We ordered way more than we could eat, so I ended up taking home leftovers, including our desserts. We were too full on Saturday, so we pulled them out on Sunday after dinner. Alan had the Peanut Butter Parfait, which was delicious. Unfortunately, they did something wrong with my Tiramisu. Like forget the sugar or something. It was inedible, a first because I’ve ordered it before and it was really good. Not feeling like the hour and a half drive to exchange it, so I ended up tossing it in the trash.

I was well fueled for my Sunday run. I knew I didn’t have a really long run in me, even though I felt pretty good. I set my sights on eight miles. Alan and I ran the first four together with the dogs, then I went back out for another four. I was slow, but steady. My cold seems to be staying in my head, so I didn’t have any asthma issues. It stayed cool through the morning too, which was nice, and gave me a chance to snuggle up in my PopSugar hoodie after the run.


I couldn’t take another long nap on Sunday because I had to go into work for a few hours to represent our fitness center at the homeowners’ annual meeting.

Tonight, finally having a chance to do some writing, I am still feeling stuffy, and have a little headache. Hopefully, I’ll feel better by tomorrow. Yes, I have to work on President’s Day.

So, the training plan will be coming next week, while I begin this new training week with high hopes of getting going on my Rock and Roll Training plan. Fingers crossed.

How did your week go? Any races, great runs or other exciting events? Did you get a three day weekend?

A Picture of Christmas + the FlipBelt Winner

We had our family Christmas celebration this past Saturday. For the second year, we picked up the twins in Orange County, then headed south to my son Nathan’s home in San Diego. Three Grandsons. Triple Awesome. In addition to the grandsons, Dane, Cash, and one year old Samuel, my son David, his girlfriend Melissa, niece Brynne (my sister Sue’s daughter), her boyfriend Eric and his son Zach were there. With, of course, Nathan and Sarah, Samuel’s parents. Nice size group, which included several paleo eaters, two vegans, and a bunch of “if it tastes good I’m eating it” eaters. Interesting combination.

While Nathan roasted a turkey, he also made a vegan stuffing, and we brought a party tray from Native Foods. We all had plenty to eat. I’d even got a slice of vegan pumpkin pie for myself when I picked up the platter, so I’d have something to nosh on at dessert time too. Confession: I didn’t take any pictures of the food. Instead, I took a lot of the family. Here are a few.

Samuel_DavidSamuel loves his Uncle David.

Dane_CashDane and Cash

Sarah_SamuelSamuel and his mom Sarah

David_MelissaMy youngest son David and his girlfriend Melissa

Brynne_EricMy niece Brynne and her boyfriend Eric

saraj_NathanArtsy pic with Sarah reflected in the mirror while Nathan admires his Chargers t-shirt.

MontanaA Joe Montana jersey for the 49ers biggest fan (sometime I’ll tell you the story of the only time I saw my husband speechless..when we bumped into Joe Montana at the Cliffhouse in La Quinta).

Alan_Dane_CashThe boys loved their goggles.

Brynne_Zach_EricWe had a plethora of 8-year-old boys. Eric brought his son Zach too.

Sarah_Nathan_SamuelIt’s great to be a one-year-old at Christmas. Of course Elmo was there.

SamuelAll this for me?

samue;2Of course, as children do, Samuel picks the wrapping as his favorite present.

Alan, the twins, and I stayed overnight in Encinitas. When we woke up on Sunday morning, we all went for a run along the coast. I’ve said it before, these eight year old boys are amazing. We all ran almost three miles!

Running FamilyMandatory family selfie

Running Family2Yes, we were running along the coast on December 21. Don’t hate us.

It was a wonderful celebration! The only sad thing was that my sister Lisa couldn’t be there. Hopefully she’ll be able to make it out from Texas next year (or, even better, the whole family meets in Hawaii (love this idea)).

With the big celebration out of the way, Christmas Day will be much smaller. Alan and I will celebrate it together, and my son David will probably stop by (and, omnivore though he is, enjoy some vegan Christmas dinner).

Before I forget, the winner of the FlipBelt giveaway is Sheena!! She says she will pick a black FlipBelt so that it will match all her crazy running clothes! Congratulations Sheena. I know you’ll love your FlipBelt. Remember if you didn’t win, you can still save on your FlipBelt! Just use the coupon code LFL and save 10%!

I hope that all of you who celebrate have a wonderful Christmas. Stay safe and enjoy the moment. See you in a few days.

Happy Anniversary to Us!

On Wednesday, Alan and I celebrated our 14th anniversary! We were married in 1999 in an interesting ceremony in Palm Springs. It seemed appropriate that we would celebrate our day in Palm Springs , not by running the Tram Road Challenge, but by having dinner at Native Foods.

Because our day was full with work and cross country practice, and because it is a 45 minute drive from La Quinta to Palm Springs, we decided to meet in Palm Desert. I got off work at 5:00, Alan finished with practice about the same time. We parked one car at the high school and drove together to Native Foods.

Anniversary cross country

We spend a lot of time in matching red shirts these days.

I had to laugh at myself today. I was telling a client about our dinner. I was saying that we arrived at Native Foods about 6:00, which is a little early, but by the time we ate and drove home it was already 7:30. That stopped me short. Seriously, how old am I that already and 7:30 belong in the same sentence? Old enough apparently.

Native Foods Anniversary

I was hungry, so I ordered the White Bean Soup to start. I came quickly and was very good.

Native Foods Anniversary

I have a lot of favorites at Native Foods, some healthier than others. While I love the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger with Native Fries, I instead went for my old time favorite, the Greek Gyro Bowl, which with its combination of seitan, vegetables, kale, quinoa, and hummus, is healthy and delicious.

Native Foods Anniversary

Alan stuck with his old standby, the Scorpion Burger, a tempeh burger with “cheese” and avocado.

Native Foods Anniversary

Everything was delicious. Because it was getting late we were pretty full, we decided to bring dessert home with us. Alan chose the Peanut Butter Parfait and I picked the Pumpkin Pie. It was my only disappointment. It tasted kind of bland and the “cream” that came with it tasted just a little too gingery (I actually wiped it off).

Native Foods Anniversary

So, it was a simple anniversary celebration, which is really what we like. We celebrate every day, just by the way we live our lives.

AnniversaryHave you ever been to Native Foods? Whether you are vegan or not, they have great food, good prices, and a fun atmosphere.

Don’t forget, it’s not to late to enter to win a dozen KIND bars!

Vegan Food on the Road, Cross Country, & Costume Party Run Update


I’ve mentioned before that I’m a Team Ignite Athlete, but I thought it was kind of cool how they jazzed up my picture, so I thought I’d share. I’ve been using the InRefresh Electrolytes, and loving it, especially in this humid, hot weather we’ve been suffering through enjoying lately. I didn’t carry my own fluids during the Costume Party Run, but I tried to hydrate as much as possible, both before and after the race, using InRefresh.

Costume Party Run Update

Speaking of the Costume Party Run, I received an email from Ken at Superhero Events. He thanked all the participants, asked for feedback about the race, and promised that it would be even bigger and better next year. The improvements will include providing tech shirts instead of trucker’s hats, and reducing the amount of distance spent running through the parking lot of Qualcomm. Hurray! Those were my only two, admittedly minor, complaints. And they are going to make the finisher’s medal even bigger! Next year, it will be the size of an actual 45 record. Huge! Can’t wait for next year. Hmmm, what should I go as?

Vegan Food

Cross Country

Cross Country practice started on Tuesday! I am always excited to get the season underway, meet the team, start training and planning for the upcoming year. The fact that practice started on the worst day, weather-wise, that we’ve had yet didn’t put a damper on my excitement.

Vegan Food - Costume Party Run

It looks pretty, but it was hot, humid, and even smoky! Though the weather managed to get even worse for my own run the next morning. Just gotta say, 70% humidity is HUGE in the desert! It just doesn’t happen. Until it does.

Vegan Food - Costume Party Run

Vegan Food on the Road

I always get excited when I travel to Encinitas, because I know that I’ll get to eat at my favorite restaurants. After we checked into the hotel on Saturday, Alan and I walked over to the Roxy for lunch. I was in the mood for hummus for some reason, so that’s what I ordered. The Hummus and Pita appetizer, plus a side salad (I didn’t take a picture of it but it was HUGE!).

Vegan Food

I couldn’t even eat the whole thing (the picture is missing a slice of hummus because I couldn’t wait–I reformed it into a 5 pointed star instead of 6). We burned it off by walking to Moonlight Beach to check out the renovations that had been done. They recently built a new dressing room/restroom/concessions complex, made some changes to the landscaping, and enlarged the picnic/playground area. It looked really nice.

Now that Native Foods has opened in Encinitas, there is never any doubt where we’re going to have dinner. I did post a teaser photo on Instagram, though.

Vegan Food

Alan and I both went old school. I had the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger, he had the Chicken Run Ranch Burger. And we shared an order of Native Fries. And we each had a piece of apple pie. I had to fuel for my race, didn’t I?

Vegan Food

Vegan Food

Vegan Food

Honestly, I think I kind of overdid it at dinner. Fortunately I didn’t have any stomach issues during the race, but my tummy didn’t quite feel normal. Too much delicious food!

After the race (if you missed my recap click here) and a little rest, we headed to the Lotus Cafe for a late breakfast. I was delighted to see that they’d added a full line of breakfast items to their menu, including my favorite, Tofu Scramble. It was really very good. It was served with vegan breakfast sausage (I don’t think I’ve even tried that before!), and potatoes. It did a great job of refilling my tank!

Vegan Food

Even better than the food though, was who we got to eat with.

Vegan Food - family

Vegan Food - family

And especially

Vegan Food - Family

As you can see, Samuel is wearing a specially designed helmet that will correct and round out a flat spot on his head. According to my son, this has become more common since they now tell parents to always put an infant to sleep on their back. If they turn their head more often to one side than the other, it can develop a flat spot. The helmet will correct it, but he has to wear it for four-six months. Since that will encompass football season, my forward looking son and daughter-in-law had the helmet made in blue and are awaiting receipt of various Charger logo stickers to dress up Samuel’s helmet.

Vegan Food - family

I was mostly concerned because, for a baby who always has a smile on his face, Samuel didn’t look very happy. I was afraid the helmet was making him sad. They assured me that he was simply tired, and it was true that after a short nap, the true Samuel-face reappeared.

Vegan Food - family

I drove home feeling completely happy and satisfied on all levels. I successfully completed my half marathon within seconds of my two hour goal (I’m simply not going to sweat that 11 seconds), had great food the whole weekend, and best of all, got to spend time with my family. Life is good.

I’m a little late asking this, but I hope you’ll still tell me..How was your weekend? Did you compete in any events, eat at any great restaurants, spend time with family? It was such a long weekend that you may have had time to do all of the above!