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Monday, October 20, 2014

Notes From the Trail

Feeling a little nervous before the race.
This weekend I completed my second Gunstock Half-Marathon. I finished it faster than last year and more importantly I finished it feeling better. I was tired, I had two purple toe nails, and my stomach was a little uncomfortable for the rest of the day but I was feeling GREAT. I attribute all of this to two big changes in my race strategy: pacing and fueling.

I have never been very good at pacing. I do not have one of those fancy watches that gives me real time updates on speed and mileage and heart rate.  That would really make life a lot easier (maybe I should add it to my wishlist?). I do have an app that records my stats but I don't want to be looking at my phone constantly and it only reports audibly every mile meaning not until I am finished with a mile do I know how fast I did it. Anyways, so I decided to pace myself by going as slow as I could possibly go straight out of the gate. I also listened to scriptures on tape. Nothing like that to keep you going at a slow and steady pace. And, it killed two goals with one stone--kept my pace slow and got me that much closer to getting through the Book of Mormon, marathon style, in the next two weeks. 

I knew it could be defeating watching all those people run faster than me at the start. I knew I was going to be tempted to keep up with their pace. To combat that I did some preliminary mental training. Lots and lots of self talk the week previous was one way to do this. I constantly reminded myself that I would be running my own race and I didn't care how many people were in front of me. I wanted to feel good, I reminded myself. I also spent time visualizing the start, feeling people brush up against me as they passed, focusing on my feet taking small even steps, and watching the trees, the birds, the clouds, the bushes, NOT people.

Two purple toes. Thankful for feet.
It worked! Soon I found myself in a cluster of people that were my same speed. Sometimes I would pass them and sometimes they me. We loosely stuck together through the midpoint of the race when THEY started lagging. THEY were lagging not ME! Now that was pretty exciting for me because usually I'm the one that starts slowing down halfway through but not this time! I had gone slow enough that I could keep on keeping on. That felt great. And what felt even greater was at about 8 miles I started passing people that had been well ahead of me but had totally lost steam and were now barely jogging or walking.  Last year I was one of those people and this year I was zooming past. Hurray!

Last year I took just one Gu gel with me and then drank sparingly on the race course. This year my fueling strategy did not begin on the race course. A week ahead of time I conscientiously avoided all caffeine and stimulant type additives. I did not take Excedrin for headaches, I did not each (much) chocolate. I did not take some of my vitamins that have extracts that could be considered minor stimulants like green tea extract. A few days ahead I started drinking a LOT of water in an effort to super hydrate myself. A few days before I avoided dairy and breads and the day before I ate easily digestible things like fruits and veggies and I had chicken for dinner. The morning of the race I woke up 2 hours early to eat a banana and an energy bar and drink 3 glasses of water so it could all digest and get into my system before the race. I hadn't done any of this last year.

During the race this year I took 3 Gu gels along the course and I drank a full cup at every station. I didn't want to mix my gels with Gatorade but two of the stations had run out of water when I ran through and I had to have Gatorade. I think that caused me my stomach upset--too much carb sitting in there--but I'd rather have a little tummy distress than be dehydrated. I took my first gel about 30 minutes into the race, my second one 45 minutes later and my last one 45 minutes after that. The first two were strawberry banana flavor. It is the kind I always get because I love the flavor and there is no caffeine.  But the third one I took a gamble on.  I tried something I haven't done before and I had a Jet Blackberry flavored gel with 40 mg caffeine. That is more caffeine than a coke but less than an Excedrin. I knew I would be dragging at the end and that the caffeine on top of the carb would give me a little more pick me up. And it did!

Just before the halfway mark the Book of Mormon playlist that I was streaming from YouTube stopped working. That was a little dismaying but it figured since we were running way up in the hills. It was a miracle it been streaming without problem for as long as it had. I ran in silence for a few miles until I decided to turn on music. I accidentally hit an old running playlist. Psychologically this was a great, happy accident. I hadn't run to these songs in a long time, hadn't heard them in a long time, and it made it invigorating and fun to listen to old songs that I loved. This also just happened to coincide with the part of the race where people started slowing down or walking and I was passing them. Also a psychological boost. And this is also about where I took my third Gu gel and had just passed the last water station both a physical boost. Pretty soon I was clipping along at a faster pace than I'd run the whole morning. I was passing people left and right. I was able to bounce down the hills and keep a strong, steady, happy pace. And I ran into the finish line hard. 

It was a fun race this year. I am going to take note of the tricks I used and see if it will work again next time. This filled me with such enthusiasm for running and I'm really looking forward to my marathon in December. Stay tuned for race results. They should be posted in the next day or two.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Tonight's Headlines

My first gray hair!


In other news, Afton and I made coco puffs tonight for family night. They were delicious. Another goal checked off the list! 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

1000 things I love (121-140)

121. Tradewinds
122. warm nights (but not too warm)
123. the stars
124. the lunar eclipse of the blood moon. It was so cool.
125. surfing date nights
126. root beer floats
127. Oreo cookies
128. friends who pitch in when I need help
129. helping friends with their sewing projects
130. apple bananas
131. cold papaya
132. cool clean drinking water
133. podcasts
134. guest speakers in my class--less time I have to talk :-)
135. morning runs on the beach
136. Ballega running socks
137. Did I say before: that Dave fixes our vehicles? yeah, again, I love that he fixes our vehicles.
138. Pay Days!
139. Handel's Messiah
140. peanut M&M's. I may have said that before but I really love them.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

40 Before 40 Check-up

Twenty days to my birthday and it is time to check in on my list-o-goals
  1. Travel to the Big Island-    We bought our tickets and made our reservations! We will be going for Christmas! I am so excited. 
  2. Hike to Laie Summit  I will be completing this on NOV 1st. Yep, going up the Hill on the morning of my 40th birthday. A few friends who are interested in the trek will be going with me. It will be an 8 hour hike.
  3. Hike Stairway to Heaven--This trail has been closed and monitored closely. I won't likely complete this goal.  There's always next year.
  4. Hike Sacred Falls--Another illegal hike that I cannot accomplish . . .yet.
  5. Hike Makapu'u
  6. Hike Diamond Head--I might be able to do this next Friday, stay tuned and cross your fingers.
  7. Complete a Marathon distance--This is on the calendar for December. I will be running the Laie Marathon on the second Saturday of December with a group of friends. It goes from Laie to Waimea and back again.  Should take me about 5 hours. Yikes.
  8. Complete a sprint Triathalon
  9. Learn to cross walk my surfboard--I'm not super awesome but I'm doing better and practice a lot.
  10. Learn to ride a skate board--after spending an hour or so messing around with the skateboard I decided that that was enough. The kids think I'm cool without being a good skateboarder :-)
  11. Ride my bike with no hands--I can kinda do this. for like 5 seconds. I'll continue working on this this next year because I will begin training for an Oregon Coast bike trip that Dave and I will be doing next summer.
  12. Be in a flash mob
  13. Make home made yogurt
  14. Make home made caramels--this is on the calendar for next Sunday afternoon
  15. Make Granola Bars
  16. Make Gyros--Will be making these next week (waiting on the recipe from my SIL)
  17. Make CocoPuffs (like Liliha bakery)--I'm gonna do it today!!!!
  18. Make authentic Pani Popo
  19. Get or make a dress form
  20. Sew a Hawaiian Quilt block
  21. Learn to tat
  22. Sew Easter Dresses for/with my girls
  23. Sew/Tailor a suit for one of the boys--Still haven't gotten around to this and won't before my birthday. Dang. I will do it still.
  24. Sew myself a blouse--it is in the works. I've got the material and the pattern and now I just gotta make the time. Next Saturday I think is the day.
  25. Sew myself a dress
  26. Make curtains for the house Ok, so I didn't "make" them. My landlord gave me the curtains I needed so why make more?!
  27. Learn how to use the embroidery machine at school
  28. Further develop curriculum for THEA 141
  29. Make a container garden
  30. Read the Book of Mormon straight through, marathon style--This is on the calendar this week. I will use a combination of reading and listening via my scripture app.
  31. Read Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
  32. Read Brave New World
  33. Read I am the Messenger
  34. Write to Gramma at least once per month
  35. Sort through kids memorabilia--I did this several months ago and I've already got more stuff that needs to go in. This is a never ending project.
  36. Get my photo albums up to date--same for this one. Just when I get caught up I find more files that need to be printed and added. I happy to report that I am further ahead on this than I was when I made the goal and that's the whole point, right?!
  37. Place my photography for sale on Fine Art America --I'm undecided on following through on this one.
  38. Buy a piano (or keyboard with weighted keys)--Yep, got myself an old piano. Next goal--learn how to tune it!
  39. Pay off my student loan--Made my last payment in September!! What a relief it is to have that debt gone.
  40. Get my motorcycle endorsement--I want to do this but also don't want to. I waver between being brave and being a chicken. I am  not likely to have my endorsement by the end of the month because I am feeling like a chicken lately. Hopefully I can confront my fear, gather my courage, and go achieve this goal in the near future. 
Speaking of goals, fear and achievement. Today in church a woman went up to bear testimony and said something to the effect of, "The hardest part of doing something is starting." That got me thinking about starting things. As I thought of all the things I have wanted to do, decided to do, started to do, or stopped doing I was thinking that starting something was the easiest part of the equation. Starting is when action begins, where intellectual, emotional investment meets physical. Starting to cross-walk my board only took one step.  I had to lift a foot and when I did, viola!, I had started cross-walking my board! 

As she continued talking about whatever it was she was talking about I continued thinking about her statement. If starting wasn't the hard part well neither was wanting. Wanting to do something is even easier than starting. The list of goals I set for myself were things I wanted to do. I generally want a lot more than I can have, a lot more than I can do, and afford. Want seems to be something that kind of defines the human condition. We always want something better or something more. In some situations though, it may be hard to want something. For instance: it has taken me a lot of years to get to the point where I want to read the Book of Mormon marathon style. I've read it so many times now that I know the stories and the people and the concepts well and I guess now I want to read it all together to get a better idea of how it all fits together in a bigger picture kind of way. Bottom line: though occasionally I have to work my way into wanting something it is generally not hard at all to list a lot of things I want.

The testimony bearer had changed and I was still thinking about the hardest part of doing something and it seemed to me that the hardest part of doing something had to be in between wanting and starting. What's in between? Deciding? Actually making the mental commitment to do something, maybe that was it.  I had to mentally commit to lifting that foot while balancing on my surfboard. I wanted it before but not until I got myself in the mental place where I could trust my body and the wave and the board could I actually pick up my heel. Once the heel came up everything else followed. I'm mentally committed to reading the BoM this week too. I've prepared a plan and know how I'm going to carry it out. But deciding is a little different with the motorcycle endorsement. I want to do it but I haven't decided to do it yet. I haven't set a real date. I haven't done any of the background work. I haven't faced my fear of crashing.  I haven't found a bike I can practice on.  I haven't fully decided to do it because I haven't taken any mental action towards that goal. Same with putting my photography for sale on line. I want to do it.  I think it would be cool but I haven't committed any time, money, emotion to the cause. For me the hardest part of doing something is all mental, it is deciding I really want to do it, whether it is worth the risks and costs, whether I can face my fears, whether I can trust myself or others. Whether I really want it that bad. I think the hardest part of doing something is all in my head.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Behind the Scenes Fall 2014

Check out my costume class' blog. This is the first semester I have required the class to keep a public journal of their progress in labs and weekly costume critiques. They have been much more diligent than previous classes and so I'm going to make this a regular thing in all my costume classes from here on out. The class is an introduction to costume through hands-on experience and their short blog entries are a reflection of the basics that they are learning. Enjoy getting to know my students!

Behind the Scenes BYUH Costume Shop Blog

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dear Gramma

Hi Gramma-

How was your birthday dinner? Jeanne posted pictures on Facebook and it looked like it was a nice night with your kids. I hope you are feeling well and optimistic going into your 92nd year! I wanna be just like you.

This month has been an exciting one for us here. Heath started his Freshman year of college here at BYUH, we had a friend move in with us, and Cora has begun tennis.

Heath is enjoying his classes. He seems to be doing pretty well so far. He is taking a bunch of music classes but wants to be a marine biologist. The other day he said, "maybe I should get a music minor too". I don't know how the two will work together but it might be a good idea since he loves music so much. Heath just got his paperwork all finished for his mission yesterday and is just waiting to hear from the Stake about his Stake President's interview.

We had a friend from Washington move in with us this month. His name is Spencer Lawrenson. He was in our ward in Lakewood. He is a return missionary and is attending BYU Hawaii also. He is sharing a room with Heath and so Kirkham has his own bedroom for the first time in his life. Actually Kirkham is sharing the room with me--it is my sewing room. When Heath leaves on his mission Kirkham will share the room with Spencer.

Right now the only kid in sports is Cora. She is on a community tennis team. She has practices twice a week at BYU Hawaii and she has games most Saturdays. This is her second year playing tennis so she is still not very good but she loves it and never gives up. Afton and Kirkham will start training for the High School swim team soon. Heath has joined an intramural inner-tube waterpolo team at BYUH. That will be a fun sport to watch.

Of course there is a lot more going on too. I am teaching two classes this semester; costuming the University play and  the Elementary school fall play; sewing homecoming and wedding dresses; and trying to stay sane balancing that with my family. Dave is working in Admissions, working on his Doctorate program and he is the Young Men's president. Every chance we get we are still out surfing and doing our best to live life to the fullest. Needless to say we are always tired but we are happy.

I'll write again soon, 
Love you!
Dani

Monday, September 15, 2014

Tom Kha Gai and Coconut Rice



Another dish I have been meaning to make for quite some time. These copycat recipes are my two favorite dishes from two different Thai restaurants in Haleiwa: Opal Thai and Haleiwa Eats. 

I have eaten at Opal Thai three times. Each has been an experience. It's a small place with a long line and an owner (Opal) who oversees everything, and I mean everything!  He talks to the people in line and takes their names for the waiting list. He decides who goes in next never mind when you arrived. He takes your order, kinda, by asking a few questions like how spicy, do you eat meat, what kind of Thai dishes have you had before. And then he delivers your surprise meal, always several courses. Obviously--because a meal in an expensive restaurant wouldn't be complete without the owner coming out to check on you--he comes back to check on you and make sure you are happy with the experience he has designed for you. I always am. 

I have liked everything I have eaten there but the Tom kha is the one dish that has blown me away. I could eat it everyday! Or at least every month. My pocketbook can't handle that (and Opal won't let you make your own order anyway--yes, a little soup nazi-ish) and so I have been thinking about and researching and trying to figure out for a while how to make it myself. It ended up being quite easy. 

Dani's copycat recipe of Opal Thai's Tom Kha Gai

Combine in a regular size crockpot:
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups water
2 T chicken bouillon
2 T brown sugar
2 T fish sauce
2 T curry powder (I buy mine at Costco)
6 quarter inch slices of fresh ginger
1 stalk lemon grass, sliced small like green onion
4 oz fresh mushrooms, washed and halved or quartered
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 t lime zest
1 Serrano chili (or a portion thereof depending on desired heat. I'm a whimp and used 3-1/4" slices)
1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 1/2" pieces

Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Before serving add 1 T lime juice to the pot and stir. Ladle soup into bowl and garnish with a drizzle of chili oil, large pinch of fresh chopped cilantro and a lime wedge. 

Haleiwa Eats is another Thai restaurant in Haleiwa. It's a cute place, kinda quiet and usually has a short wait to be seated. My favorite dish here is their coconut rice. Now it has been a long time since I've been there so it's hard to say that this is a true copycat recipe, I just haven't compared the two close enough. So instead this is my interpretation of what I think I remember coconut rice should taste like. I should also say I know nothing, repeat nothing, about different kinds of rice. I suppose this should probably be made with a special rice like jasmine rice. I really don't know and don't care. If you know more about rice let me know why I should care--like if it will improve the taste and why--and maybe I'll try your suggestion. Until then I was pretty darn happy with how this turned out and will keep it as is. Ready? This is a tough one...

Dani's Coconut Rice
In rice cooker add
3 scoops white rice 
1 can coconut milk
Add water to suggested depth for 3 scoops according to manufacturers directions. 

Press the white rice button and walk away. When rice cooker beeps add 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/4 cup sugar, and a spritz or two of lime juice. Stir to combine and serve.  Delicious served for breakfast, dinner or dessert!


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