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:

SLO Marathon 1024x379 Starting with a Bang...

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!

Yoga Central Starting with a Bang...

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.

Favorites: Yoga, Candles, Vegan Wellington & Turkey Trotting!

Wow! It’s Friday again! The weeks are flying by, the holidays are looming, and I haven’t prepared my Holiday Wishlist Gift List. Remember when you were a kid and the last weeks before Christmas seemed to last forever? Not anymore!  While I never have been one of those people who have their shopping done in November, I’m hoping to at least get my list done soon. I don’t want to be always be running around at the last minute.  In the meantime, I compiled a list of some of my favorites that I want to share with you.

Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot

Delray_turkey_trot_logo 2There is no better way to start off Thanksgiving Day than with a Turkey Trot 5k. My husband is the director of our local race, the Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot, which is celebrating its 16th anniversary. If you’re visiting or live nearby, we’d love to see you out there. If you can’t make it to our race, I’m sure you can find one closer to your home.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Wellington

WellingtonSpeaking of Thanksgiving, there is still time to order your Thanksgiving Wellington from Native Foods! I always choose to give turkeys something to be thankful for on Thanksgiving, and this delicious, plant-based puff pastry filled with seasoned seitan, yams, stuffing, and kale will make everyone happy.

 

 

 

 

Yoga Central is going Global!

Yoga CentralEven though I’m not the most consistent yogi, one thing has never changed: my love for my favorite yoga studio, Yoga Central in La Quinta. It is owned by my friend April, and she, along with her staff, are the most amazing instructors! Now, the classes at Yoga Central are available 24 hours a day in the comfort of your own home through Yoga30!  Here’s how you can get access to my favorite studio and teacher: Got to Yoga30 and select either Yoga Central as your referring studio or April Jones as your referring teacher. By doing this you are affiliating yourself with Yoga Central, but you are free to choose any class or teacher on the site.

Prices:
$5 Day Pass
$14 Monthly Unlimited (costs less than one drop-in fee at any studio!)
$71 Six Month Unlimited Pass
$134 Annual Unlimited Pass
There is a 7-day free trial offer available on the Yoga30 site. Because this is so new, there are currently three classes available from Yoga Central, but more are coming soon, including an all-level Vinyasa, Gentle Flow, and a Hips/Hamstrings mini class.

 

Old Factory Candles

Old Factory CandlesI recently received a gift set of Old Factory Candles to try out and review. These candles are sold exclusively on Amazon.com. They are all hand-poured in the US with natural soy wax, hand trimmed cotton wicks, and premium fragrance oils. Each gift set comes with three themed scented candles that burn 20 hours. I chose to try Spa Day because I love the scents of lemongrass, cucumber, and green tea.

I love these candles. They smell so good and last forever. I can close my eyes and feel like I’m really in a spa (aside from my dogs barking at every movement). There are a lot of scents to choose from including Fall Harvest, with Pumpkin Spice, Cranberry and Autumn Leaves, Vacation which comes with Sea Breeze, Hawaiian Lei, and Awapuhi, and many others. A gift pack of three 20-hour candles costs $25 and they are eligible for Amazon Prime.

 

What are your Thanksgiving plans? Will you run a turkey trot? What is your favorite candle scent?

Trottin’ to La Quinta. Plus My Birthday! And My Dad

 

Old Town La Quinta Turkey Trot

Those of you who know me (either in person or through my blog), know that every year my husband and I put on a 5k race on Thanksgiving morning. We’ve been doing it for 15 years! It’s called the Turkey Trot, and for 12 of those years it took place in Palm Desert, on El Paseo (kind of the Rodeo Drive of the desert). Then we moved to Palm Springs for a year. Finally, last year we came home to La Quinta, and made it a trail race in our beautiful cove area.

Delray_turkey_trot_logo 2

Now, I say “we,” but it is really my husband’s project. He does almost everything related to planning a race, from dealing with the city council, to planning the route, to raising sponsorships, to ordering porta-potties. I get the registration set up on Active.com, make the flyers, find the volunteers, then, on race day oversee registration. Years ago, when we were much smaller, I even handled the finish line timing, but now we hire someone to do that (thank goodness!).

I’m excited to announce that in this, our 16th year of putting on the race, we will be moving to the streets of La Quinta! Even better, we will be starting and finishing right in the center of Old Town La Quinta, our quaint shopping and dining center in our city.

Old Town LogoSo, if you are going to be in or near La Quinta over the Thanksgiving Holiday (November 27-30), we’d love to have you participate! The course will be flat and fast, the crowd fun and family oriented (we always have a free race for the little kids), and you’ll be done long before the turkey (or in my case tofurky) is ready. In fact, I almost always work at the race, then go home and prepare Thanksgiving dinner for my family.

You can register by clicking this link, the logo above, or if you want to wait until later, there is a link on the side bar. I’d love to see you out there!

My Birthday

So, Sunday was my birthday. Since I got to pick our activities for the day, we went to visit my son, daughter-in-law, and, of course, Samuel! I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

SamuelIt was also exciting that they had just moved into their new house! They had it built in a new development (which is much closer to the desert, hurray!), and just got the keys last week and moved on Friday! So the house was still full of boxes, the walls are bare, but they are so happy to be into their first home.

house 2

houseYes, that is my birthday wine in the foreground.

So we got to play with Samuel.

Samuel 2

And with the granddogs (Chloe will also be celebrating her first birthday in a couple days. Can you tell which dog is the puppy?

Granddogs

Sarah

They took us to lunch at the Earth Bistro, a cute place in Temecula that has vegan options for us and gluten free options for them. A win-win!

Earth Bistro

Samuel 3All in all, just about the best way I can think of to spend my birthday.

My Dad

My dad and I shared the same birthday, so I always like to take some time to think about him on “our” day. He would have been 88!

Dad

How was your weekend? Any fun events or family time? Want to come to La Quinta to run a 5k with me? Did you guess which dog was the puppy?

Wow! What a Weekend!

In a nutshell, this is how I spent Thanksgiving weekend:

Thursday:

  • Turkey Trot (on the trails this year). Alan and I (mostly him) put it on.
  • Just two for dinner.
  • Impossible to cook Thanksgiving Dinner for two.
  • Huge quantities of vegan Thanksgiving food prepared.
  • Huge quantities of vegan Thanksgiving food consumed.
  • Bed by 6:30.

Friday:

  • Work, 7:30-12:30
  • Not a black Friday kind of person, but had to venture out to buy Samuel’s birthday present.
  • Didn’t feel good after shopping (possibly a result of the night before? Not sure).
  • Went to bed early with no dinner, worried that I was coming down with something.

Saturday:

  • Got up feeling much better.
  • Took a three mile run with Alan and the dogs.
  • Showered, packed and got ready to head to San Diego.
  • Arrived at my son/daughter-in-law’s house around 1:15.
  • Celebrated Samuel’s first birthday with family and friends.
  • Drove to Encinitas, where we had a reservation for the night, arrived around 6:00.
  • Didn’t feel like driving anymore, so we first walked to the beach (in the dark), then to dinner.
  • In bed by around 8:30

Sunday:

  • Got up, went to Starbucks for coffee, then went for a three mile run.
  • Showered, packed, and checked out.
  • Went to breakfast.
  • Went to Roadrunner Sports
  • Drove home.
  • Finished doing the results for the Turkey Trot (late, I know, but I’m just one human being).
  • Dinner of vegan Thanksgiving leftovers. Ate too much again.
  • Sat down to write this post.

A few highlights:

Thursday: Turkey Trot

Or as we call it now, Trot N on the Trails. Because of an issue at Palm Desert High School, where we were originally going to hold the race, we had to make a last minute change and chose the trails in La Quinta to hold the race (same course as the Gem of the Desert trail race). As a result, we had a much smaller crowd (only around 250), and I was in charge of the timing. Timing companies are pretty expensive, so with the small turn out we ended up doing the timing by hand, which is always a challenge.

Weekend - Turkey Trot

Backing up just a little, Alan was up at 2 am, and I was up at 2:30 to get ready for the race. We had plenty of volunteers, and everything went really well (except a couple timing glitches, of course). The race benefited our friend Jeff Rasmussen, who you may remember from my post almost a year ago, is dealing with a stage four brain tumor. Exactly a year ago on Thursday, he went into a coma and had to have emergency brain surgery, from which we were told he probably wouldn’t survive. Well, he actually walked the race on Thursday! Here is a link to the local news video about Jeff.

After finally finishing up and carting everything home, it was around 11:00. I really was afraid to sit down, thinking I might never get up again. So, I first made my pumpkin pie, then just kept on with the food prep. I made the stuffing and sweet potatoes, then finally took an hour for a quick nap. I finished up with the rest of the dinner, and we ate around 5:30.

Weekend - Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner

After everything was pretty well put away and cleaned up (that is one part that is easier when there are only two people), I decided that there wasn’t really anything else I needed to do, so at 6:30 I headed to bed.

Friday: Work & Upset Stomach

I had to work in the morning on Friday, but I was done about 12:30. I spent a little time writing a post (it was Samuel’s first birthday!), then we went to lunch. Since I had put off buying Samuel’s birthday present, we had to venture out into the Black Friday crowd. It wasn’t too bad. We went to Target, where our timing was pretty good, and we got out of the store with our sanity.

By the time we got home though, I really wasn’t feeling good.  I just felt queasy, though it was hard to put a finger on the cause. I decided to go to bed early, skipping dinner. I was worried that I was coming down with something, and I was concerned that it would cause me to miss Samuel’s party on Saturday.

Saturday: Birthday Party!

Fortunately, I felt much better on Saturday morning. Good enough to go for a little run on the trails with Alan, Penny, and Buddy. We ran about three miles, then we showered, packed up, and got on the road to San Diego.

Grandpa

David

It was a great party! Lot’s of family and friends, and even if Samuel won’t remember, we certainly will.

Weekend - Samuel and Teddy

Samuel

Weekend - First Birthday Cake

Afterwards, Alan and I drove to Encinitas where we were staying overnight. We talked about going to Native Foods for dinner, but once we parked at the hotel, we didn’t feel like driving again. Instead, we took a walk to Moonlight Beach and listened to the waves for a while, then walked to the Roxy, which has a nice selection of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. I was still pretty full from lunch, and chose a big salad and soup for dinner.

After that, a walk home and another early-to-bed night.

Sunday: Running and a Little Shopping

We woke up pretty early on Sunday (after going to bed so early!), and decided to go for a little run along the coast. Even though I had a long run on the schedule, I felt that a three mile run was just perfect. I’ll catch up next week.

Weekend running in Encinitas

Running2

Weekend - Running tree pose

After running, showering and checking out, we headed to one of our favorite places for breakfast in Encinitas, Ki’s. It was a beautiful day, so we ate on the patio overlooking the ocean. Pancakes for Alan, and a tofu scramble for me. It was excellent. I always order a Virgin Mary when we go to Ki’s, but this time it took a while to get it. When the server finally delivered it, I thanked her, then thought to ask, it is a Virgin Mary, right? She looked a little embarrassed, and said no, actually there was quite a bit of alcohol it it. She started to take it back, offered it to Alan (who doesn’t drink at all), then brought me my alcohol-free version. I really do enjoy a good Bloody Mary, but not when we are busy, driving, and trying to get things done.

Weekend vegan breakfast at Ki's

After that, we headed to Roadrunner Sports for a little shopping (VIPs get 20% off through Monday!). And then, finally, we drove the two hours home, where our dogs were almost as happy to see us as we were to see them.

Shoe Dog

I spent about three hours finishing up the results of the Turkey Trot and uploading them to Active. Fortunately, we had plenty of leftovers from Thanksgiving, which we enjoyed for dinner. And, again, I ate too much.

Finally, here I sit, trying to put words together in a fashion that you will enjoy reading, before I had off to yet another early bedtime.

And how was your weekend? I hope that you had a wonderful, family-filled holiday.

Monday Runday. It’s About Change: New Plans, New Venues + CIF Semi Finals

In reverse order from the title:

CIF Semi Finals

Our girls’ cross country team competed in the CIF (California Interscholastic Federation) Semi Finals on Saturday. While they didn’t advance to the finals, they all were amazing, several running personal bests on the very tough, hilly course at Mt. San Antonio College. Our twins, healthy again, finished together, which was a nice way to end a great season. Our other girls did very well, in spite of one with that pesky illness that made the rounds and another with a hip injury.

Change - CIF

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - ChangeThe young woman who would eventually win by over a minute (16:58!), already had a large lead a half mile into the race.

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

CIF - Change

So, cross country season is over, and as always I have mixed feelings. I am happy to have some time back, especially my Saturdays, but I also miss seeing the team.

Now, onto the changes.

Change #1: The Turkey Trot

We had to change the venue of the Turkey Trot, basically at the last minute, due to difficulties holding it at the high school as originally planned. We chose to move it to La Quinta, using the same trail course that we use for the Gem of the Desert run. Now called Trot N on the Trail, the race is still a 5k distance, but now on the trails surrounded by the beauty of the La Quinta Cove. A great way to start Thanksgiving.

Change #2: A New Race Plan

The big change, and the real point of this post, is that I have decided not to run the San Diego Holiday Half Marathon.  Originally, Alan was going to be the announcer and I was going along for fun and to run the race. His deal fell through, so I decided that since it would be so close to Christmas that I would switch to another race. This will also give me a little extra training time, since the Holiday Half is only about six weeks away.

Instead, I am going to train for the Palm Springs Half Marathon, which is on February 9. It is a great hometown event and I’ve participated in it in one way or another almost every year since the first. Alan has been the announcer for about the last 10 years. I myself was the volunteer coordinator for five years, and I’ve run either the half or the 5k many times. It is the race in which I ran my PR eons ago (2001-1:33:11). And we are great friends with the race director and his wife (my former marathon cohort back in the day).

Plus I now get more time to train properly. Unlike the Holiday Half which has a net elevation loss, this race is basically flat, with one longish, but mild hill. So in addition to my key workouts of interval training and tempo runs, I will be adding some hill training, mostly incorporating it once a week into one of my shorter runs.  Here’s the plan if you’re interested. Click on the thumbnail for the full plan.

PS Half Training PlanSince I knew by midweek about my change of plans, I didn’t worry about not quite getting in  the mileage originally scheduled. I had to fast for a blood test on Tuesday, so I skipped the run, but I did my first tempo run in months on Wednesday. Two miles at about 20 seconds faster than my goal race pace! We were off to the (cross country) races on Saturday, so I barely had time for two miles. On Sunday Penny and I took to the trails for three miles, then I finished up alone for two more.

Change - Penny - trailsPenny may be 12 years old, but she still doesn’t want to waste time standing around and taking pictures. She is always ready to go.

Change - trails - Penny

I plan to really get started on my training plan this week, and with no cross country practice or meets, it will be much easier finding the time. It’s also back to the gym and to my yoga mat, as strength training and yoga are both important components of my training plan. I’m excited to start training with a goal again, for the first time in about four months.

Have you ever had to make a change in mid-training? How did it turn out? How was your weekend?

Next Monday is Running Question day, so if you have a question you’d like to see answered leave it in the comments or email me.

Random: Cross Country, Running with Dogs, and the TurkeyTrot

It’s been a little busy around here lately. Well, if you read my Day in the Life post a few weeks ago, you know that is pretty much a way of life. Still, cross country season, work getting ready to kick into high gear, and now, getting ready for the annual Turkey Trot we put on,  makes everything even more hectic. That, combined with a couple blogging commitments, both my interview with the founder of Dynamic Tape, the GMO Labeling post yesterday, plus a couple other reviews coming soon (both running related; a cool flexibility tool and a new flavor of one of my favorite nutrition aids), have all conspired to leave me playing catch up around here (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!). Since I have a few minutes this afternoon I though it would be a good time to share some pictures and other random stuff.

I always like to start off with a few Samuel pictures, but unfortunately I haven’t seen him in a couple weeks and don’t have anything new. Ah, what the heck, an old picture is still amazing, so here you go, from a few weeks ago (and still my current Facebook pic):

Random - Samuel - Mt. Carmel Invitational

That was at our cross country meet in San Diego on September 21. Since that time, my girls team has been knocking them dead! After finishing fourth in our league meet, we followed up the next weekend with a third place win for our Freshman/Sophomore team in Hemet. Even better, this past weekend, our varsity girls won third at the Yucaipa Invitational, which is a pretty big event. And we did it without our number one runner! To say I am proud of them would be a huge understatement.

Yucaipa Invitiational - Random

The boys did well too, finishing fifth in our division. See if you can pick the constant in this picture:

Yucaipa Invitational - RandomYucaipa has a great course but it is challenging and it is well known for this particular hill:

Yucaipa Invitational - RandomThat’s one of our parents in the foreground. She dressed appropriately because we managed to run a couple miles racing around to different vantage points on the course. Other parents got their exercise in too, climbing up and down that hill to get pictures of the team.

After the meet, Alan left directly to go to San Dimas, where he was announcing a triathlon on Sunday. That left me alone on the school bus with 35 teenagers!

I was also alone the next day for my run. Well, not alone exactly. I have the best canine running partners, who I took in shifts. Penny got her two miles, then I took Buddy for three, and finally Lily, Olivia, and Coco (the little girls) for one.

Random - running with dogsI didn’t get a lot of pictures, but this one of Buddy says it all. Tired and happy (me too!).

Random - Skora Running - Dynamic TapeNot only was I trying out Dynamic Tape, it was the first time I’d taken my Skora Base running shoes on the trails. They did fine on the packed trail, but I’ll probably stick to the road for the most part in them. Sometimes I’d step on a rock as I was running and could feel it all the way through the soles of the shoes. Plus I want to keep them clean and shiny!

Random - Sydney and GoldieAfter I took all the running dogs out, I finished up the pack by taking Sydney and Goldie for a walk. Sydney, in the foreground, is our 13 year old, blind Australian Cattle Dog. He’s so smart and knows his way around the house so well that sometimes you don’t realize that he’s blind. Goldie has a compressed disk in her back. For months after her injury we didn’t think she’d be able to use her hind legs again. Alan did physical therapy with her a couple times a day, plus walked her frequently while having to support her rear end. We’ll never forget the day that she was looking at us and suddenly we saw her wag her tail. We knew she was on her way back!

I mentioned work, and indeed we are gearing up for another busy season. I recently started a Zumba class as my fitness center, with a new instructor who is amazing. She was great with my older population and even had me (trying to) shake my booty. At least I looked good in my Swirlgear!

Random - ZumbaFinally, we are really late getting going with the annual Turkey Trot 5k. I say we, but it is Alan who dedicates hours and hours to putting on this race. This year we are moving it to Palm Desert High School. It has become so expensive to put on a small race. The costs of road closure and police in particular are so high, and it doesn’t matter if you have several hundred or several thousand runners. That’s before you even factor in the costs of timing, t-shirts, and insurance. In any case, we will be partnering with the high school this year. Our costs will be much lower and the school will receive some of the proceeds. A win-win! (You can click the picture to register!)

Random - Aztec Turkey Trot

Now that you’ve made it through all my ramblings tell me something about your week! It can be random too. Family, pets, training, kids, what is going on with you?