Now that’s my kind of race!

After a disappointing show in last Saturday’s race and a similarly disappointing day at work on Friday, I decided I needed to run a 5K this morning – I felt like I needed to prove to myself that I was still making forward progress in at least one part of my life. So I woke up at 6:00 this morning and headed out to Long Creek Vineyard near Decatur for the JWA’s Run to the Vineyard 5K. Fortunately they had race-day registration and there were even still t-shirts and souvenir wine glasses! After registering, I sat in my car for about an hour reading Laura’s copy of The Great Gatsby (which I’m actually not hating this time around) until it was time to start getting ready for the race. We got sprinkled on before and after the race, but while we were actually running, the weather was clear!

It was a road race – I’ve learned my lesson after last week’s trail run – and, despite there being an uphill section on the way out and on the way back (yes, it was uphill both ways – no, there was no snow), I ran all the way and seem to, unofficially, have set a new personal best for myself! The official race results haven’t been posted yet, but when I crossed the finish line, the 5K clock said 34:33 which is an 11:13/mile pace! I’m slowly getting closer and closer to my 10:00/mile goal!

It certainly wasn’t as fun without a friend to go with me, but I still had a good time – I only wish they’d had a glass of wine waiting for us at the finish line 😉

p.s. – I felt very color-coordinated in my pink and green shoes, pink and green race t-shirt, and pink hair. Even if I’m slow, at least I’m stylish!

What do you do with questionable celery?

Make Cream of Celery Soup! Soup is so forgiving, it’s always my go-to option for vegetables that are very nearly dead. I did run into a problem in the form of a disgusting potato (even though I’d just bought it) so Drew came to my rescue and ran to the market to replace it (and to get flour and baking powder – who runs out of baking powder?! – which allowed me to make us a dessert, too). It was not my night in the kitchen – I didn’t have enough baking powder for the Whole-Wheat Beer Bread and also had to substitute bread flour for all-purpose in that recipe, I spilled flour and butter all over me while making Orange and Dark Chocolate Buttermilk Scones, encountered the aforementioned gross potato, and may or may not have lost an earring back in a bowl of diced onions (Drew got me an onion to replace that one, too) – but somehow everything turned out all right!

The celery soup tastes like celery, but in a good way and the beer bread is a lovely combination of salty and a little bit of sweetness. Yum!

The scones are tasty, as well – I baked off two of them for us to eat that evening and the other four are in the freezer waiting for just the right moment. Can’t wait!

It’s still strawberry time!

I originally bought the strawberries that have featured in the last few cooking items to make this one recipe – the strawberries got a bit out of hand, I’ll admit that, and have found their way into pretty much every other thing I’ve made since then. But they were originally intended to be used in this Mahi with Strawberry-Avocado Salsa which turned out to be super tasty! The first night, I used the Slap Ya Mama Cajun seasoning that Drew brought back with him from New Orleans – it’s good but it’s very salty, so the next night, I used Emeril’s Essence instead and I think that had a better salt level. The salsa is really good – yummy on fish, but probably also just as good eaten with tortilla chips! To go with it, I also made the String Beans with Ginger and Garlic that I usually make at Thanksgiving, but without the ginger since I wasn’t sure that would go with the flavors in the fish and salsa. Still tasty just with the garlic!

Then, to use up some sour cream and cream cheese that I had around from the strawberry doughnuts I’d made, I made these Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting. They turned out a little drier than I would have liked, but they’re still chocolate cupcakes, so how bad can they be! And I added a little bit of strawberry extract to the frosting, but was a little too cautious with it and you couldn’t really taste it. Next time I’ll know to add more!

Trail running is HARD!

After really enjoying the 10K trail run we did in Allerton, Mom and I were looking forward to the Buffalo Trace Trail Run at Lake of the Woods in Mahomet. We signed up for it, thinking it was a 5K, but it turns out it was actually a 5-MILE run! Oops!

We finished, but it wasn’t pretty. I managed to run the first 3 miles, but then I pretty much staggered the last 2 miles. Mom was doing really well and eventually I convinced her to leave me and save herself, but even she sort of pooped out on the last half mile or so. Her time was around 1 hour and 5 minutes and mine was about 1 hour and 6 minutes, so our mile pace was slower than it has been for our 5Ks but better than the first 10K we did.

I definitely prefer running on plain, old pavement or at least a very packed-down trail (like the ones in Allerton) – running through grass and uneven ground was just enough extra exertion to make it difficult! Mom didn’t place in her age category this time which was a bummer since the trophies were cute buffalo trophies, but according to her “These old ladies are fast!” We don’t think we’ll do this one again, but once we shave a few more minutes off our pace, we may try again and see if Mom can get her buffalo trophy after all.

I can’t get a good picture of it, but…

…I swear my hair is pink now!

I’ve always wanted super pink hair, but just haven’t even gone for it despite having had blonde, black, red, and even blue (well, highlights, but still!) hair. I thought a good way to ease into it would be to have this pretty rosy color and work my way up to hot pink. 😉