This is a great article about ways to make Halloween healthier. Fortunately, Lucy doesn’t even eat candy yet. But I’m taking notes for next year.
Lucy says “Mama” now. And “Dada” too. It melts my heart (along with about 300 other mannerisms of hers). She knows what these words mean and says them with intention. The other day Daddy dressed her and then brought her to where I was and set her down. He then went to the bathroom and shut the door to take a shower. Lucy crawled to the closed door, started crying and said “Dada.” She also clearly understands the words “milky” (as in breastmilk), “no” and “kiss”. She LOVES kisses.
Tomorrow, she’ll be 9 months old. As much time in the world as she was in my womb. On Friday, she visited the doctor for her routine checkup. She got a clean bill of health and the doctor raved about what a sweet and good-natured baby she is. Her weight was lower than we thought- almost exactly 19 pounds and right at the 50th percentile. We think she lost some weight last week when she was sick and feverish. Her height was 28 1/2″, 75th percentile and her head circumference is in the whopping 90th percentile (she takes after her dad on that one!).
The changes in her understanding of the world are fascinating to watch. She is developing at such a rapid pace and it’s quite thrilling to see her make connections. I’m sure she’ll soon be walking and talking and then before we know it she’ll be off to school. But for right now, I’m loving every second of it.
It’s that time of year. Time to change gears in the kitchen and make some fall foods. Squash, pumpkin, potatoes, soups. Last week at the farmer’s market I picked up some leeks and decided to make a potato leek soup to use them up. I’m not a huge fan of creamy soups as I find them too rich. So my goal was to go a bit easy on the cream without losing flavor. I think I struck a good balance. Although I will say that puréeing hot soup is not one of my favorite kitchen tasks!
Potato Leek Soup
Source: Adapted from a recipe on www.cookuk.co.uk
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb leeks
1 lb potatoes
4 cups chicken broth
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup milk or cream (I used about 1/3 cup of whipping cream and 2/3 cup of 1% milk)
First, clean and chop the leeks. I soaked in cold water to clean. The easiest way to chop the leeks is to slice each leek lengthwise twice and then chop all the leek from top to bottom. Melt the butter in a pan and add the chopped leeks and garlic. Fry them over a low to medium heat until the leeks are soft. This will take about ten minutes. Stir frequently so that none of the ingredients brown.
Peel the potatoes and chop them into cubes. Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan with the exception of the milk/cream.
Bring the soup to the boil and then let it simmer for about 20 minutes. When the potatoes are cooked, purée the mixture. Just before serving, pour the milk/cream into the soup and stir well.
Today, a poem for you. I am not so eloquent, but my sentiments are in keeping.
Poem: My Daughters Morning by David Swanger from Waynes College of Beauty. © BkMk Press, 2006.
My Daughters Morning
My daughters morning streams
over me like a gang of butterflies
as I, sour-mouthed and not ready
for the accidents I expect
of my day, greet her early:
her sparkle is as the edge of new
ice on leafed pools, while I
am soggy, tepid; old toast.
Yet I am the first version
of later princes; for all my blear
and bluish jowl I am welcomed
as though the plastic bottle
I hold were a torch and
my robe not balding terry.
For her I bring the day; warm
milk, new diaper, escapades;
she lowers all bridges and
sings to me most beautifully
in her own language while
I fumble with safety pins.
I am not made young
by my daughters mornings;
I age relentlessly.
Yet I am made to marvel
at the durability of newness
and the beauty of my new one.
Well folks, the official results of the race are in. I came in 55th out of 75 finishers, 19th out of 25 females. I wish they told you how many people started the race but didn’t finish- I know there were close to 100. Ah well, I’m just happy to be one of the finishers. And I know I must be feeling better…I’m starting to get an itch to run. Maybe this evening I’ll pull on those muddy shoes and take an easy spin around the neighborhood.
I’m ready to write about my epic adventure on Saturday. Let me first start off by filling in the last minute details before the race. G was away for work all week and didn’t come home until Friday evening. This ended up being poor timing for more reason than one, but namely due to my back strain. I had to repeatedly aggravate the injury by lifting Lucy all day Thursday and Friday. I did, however, make the call to put her in day care Friday and that made a huge difference. I had 2 massages, 1 doctor visit and 1 physical therapy appointment in the final 2 days. I did everything possible to get physically well in time for the race. Friday night, I was still quite sore and had limited range of motion. G and I had a serious talk and I acknowledged that I would almost certainly have to drop out of the race. After all the training I was feeling really disappointed, but decided I still wanted to start the race with my team. Unsure if I’d be able to run 3 miles or 13, I figured some was better than none.
I called it a night before 10 pm and slept soundly until 3 am or so. After that, I was restless knowing the alarm would go off at 5. All 3 of us got up and ready and drove in the rain and dark to Issaquah. I saw my teammates and once again said I didn’t expect to get very far, but was still going to start with them. Our coach’s wife, Leslie, advised me to take it “one aid station at a time”.
The gun went off just past 7 am and we set off in the gloam. I intentionally stayed at the back of the pack to keep my pace slow and wound up running with my teammate Cam. There were about 100 runners at the beginning and there was a lot of traffic for the first 3 or 4 miles with everyone running very close together. But after the 1st aid station (mile 4) everyone thinned out and we had a lot more “breathing room”.
The course starts off with a few easy miles- lots of twisting and turning trails but not much elevation change. I saw G and Lucy at that 1st aid station but didn’t really stop to chat. Just told them I felt OK and was continuing on. In the next section, there’s a long descent to a highway crossing. Once again, I ran conservatively- I didn’t want to slip on the slick roots and rocks that dotted the trail.
At the highway crossing, G and Lucy waved from the car (they weren’t allowed to get out there) and I stopped at aid station 2 for some M&Ms, brownie bites and pretzels. A brief pause, and I crossed over to Squak Mountain, the toughest section of the course. This mountain is basically 2 miles straight up and then down the other side. Needless to say, we did a lot of walking. I was still running with Cam and we started to see some of the 50-mile runners coming down from their first lap.
Aid station 3 (mile 13) was upon us, and amazingly, I was still moving. Up until this point, I barely noticed my back. In fact, I felt strong and nothing hurt at all. G and Lucy had hiked up to meet us at this stopping point. We refilled our water, had a few mouthfuls of food and posed for a few pictures. Stayed way too long at this junction and it took us a long time to warm up afterwards.
The second climb up out of Squak was definitely tougher for me. It seemed endless and there was a cold, bitter wind coming down the mountain. I was glad to hit the descent, although my knees starting aching after running the 2 miles downhill.
Cam was ahead of me at Aid Station 4 (same stop as #2) and I barely lingered as they quickly filled my water bottle. It felt good to be back on Cougar Mountain and I began to think there was actually a chance of finishing. We still had 14 miles and some tough sections left, though, so I tried not to think too far ahead.
Coming back up onto Cougar was another big climb. It was followed by some of my favorite sections of trail. Lots of rolling bits, with nothing too excruciating. We started to see other runners and some were not faring well- one guy was bent over at the waist dealing with cramps. The De Leo Wall (a short, steep uphill) hurt more than usual but the aid station at the end was a welcome sight. G was nowhere to be seen but apparently arrived just after we left. The next 3 miles had too much downhill for my liking- my knees were starting to give me a lot of trouble and every step down hurt like hell. I took it as slow as possible and enjoyed the fact that the rain had mostly stopped.
Pretty soon, we found ourselves cruising into the 25 mile aid station, which was also the start/finish line. Of course, we still had to run 6 more miles. G and Lucy waved me on once again and I stopped for some quick kisses from both. Cam and I set off for our final loop. This section of the course is exactly the same as the beginning, which means it is relatively easy. Sadly, my anti-inflammatories were really wearing off and my entire body hurt. I still put one foot in front of the other, but man it was hard. Everything from my knees to my shoulders was screaming at me, but I was close enough to finish now, even if it meant walking the whole way. When we hit mile 27, Cam proclaimed us to officially be ULTRA RUNNERS (in other words, we had now exceeded a full marathon or 26.2 miles).
Cam and I spread out a bit in this section with me out in front for part and then him leading. We joined up about 1/2 mile before the finish. We even managed to kick up the pace and “sprint” into the finish line. We crossed the line together with arms raised in victory. After a quick toilet visit, I joined the rest of the team and plowed through a plate of food and recovery drink.
As I mentioned, it took 7 hours and 53 minutes. The official results aren’t posted yet, but I’ll link to them once they are. I think if I’d been 100% fit, I may have come in a bit faster (30 minutes?), but not all that much. And honestly, I always expected it to take me 7-8 hours. It was once of the hardest things I’ve ever done (right up there with my 43-hour childbirth experience). Up until the last few miles, it was even fun.
I’m not sure if I’ll do more of these ultra events. There’s definitely a fair chance, but I can’t really think about it right now. I’m taking at least a few days completely off from running. When my knees no longer ache going down stairs and my back feels strong, I can start to ponder my next goal. But for now, I am content with this.
I want to extend a HUGE thank you to all of you. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. And thank you some more. I appreciate all of your support and prayers during my training and the race. I fully believe those thoughts helped carry me to the finish line. Last, but certainly not least, a tremendous thank you to G and Lucy, without whom I NEVER could have achieved this goal. From allowing me to take off all day on Saturdays to train, to braving the elements to cheer me on- these 2 deserve as much applause as I do.