Friday, August 15, 2014

Quick RUNdown.

We ran in another race last Saturday - the 5K Race with the Balloons as part of the Great Midwest Balloon Fest in Kansas City, Kansas. The race was held at the Legends Outlets and Kansas Speedway, and benefited several area charities.

We got up at 5:00am so we could make it to the packet pick-up area before 6:45am. It was a really beautiful morning - sunny, but a little hazy and humid. Because of the threat of rain (it rained a tiny bit while we were running), the promised balloons did not ascend while we were running the course. Instead, about four of them took off long after the race ended and we were heading into Bob Evans for breakfast (cinnamon pancakes!).

The race itself was a fairly easy, mostly flat course, with a little bit of gravel mixed into the road race part. Once again, this course was longer than 3.1 miles - from start to finish, my Garmin watch clocked it at 3.2 miles.

Mr. Awesome had another strong race, but his age group was the most competitive and he finished 5th in his group, but 20th overall out of 337 participants. His official time was 24:19. With the extra 10th of a mile, this gave him is best 5K time ever.

I also had a strong race - I finished in 36:05, but my Garmin told me I set a record for 5K distance.

After the race we ate pancakes and decided to walk to the speedway grounds from the shopping area to check out the balloon fest, since our race packets included free tickets. What a fiasco that was. There are no sidewalks between the Outlets and the speedway, so we had to walk in the grass. Then, all of the entrances to the speedway were blocked off and marked with NO TRESPASSING signs, and all indicators pointed balloon fest attendees to one entrance on the southwest side of the speedway. So, after walking about 2 miles, we realized we still had another 2 to go before we reached the entrance, and the balloons weren't around anyway. We headed back to the Outlets, disappointed. If we could have cut across the speedway grounds without threat of security intervention, it would have been so much better. Hopefully, if the race is held next year, they will have a pedestrian entrance. Probably not, though.

So we went shopping at Legends instead. Mr. Awesome got some pants, I got some shirts. It was a good day.

The rest of the weekend was pretty low-key. Lots of walking, going to the gym, and eating stuff. You know, the usual.

This weekend I'm running in the Rivalry Run in downtown Kansas City. It should be fun. Mr. Awesome is sitting this one out with an injury, but hopes to be back in form by next weekend's run.

Oh, and I stopped reading Bill Bryson's One Summer. I got bored with it, and really didn't look forward to reading any more of it. So now I'm reading Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres and I'm much, much happier.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

An i-ROK'n weekend!

On Saturday, we ran in the i-ROK Foundation 5K. The foundation was created in honor of Kori Quinn (i-ROK is Kori spelled backwards), who was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer called Ewing's Sarcoma in 2009. The foundation was formed to " to bring awareness to Ewing's Sarcoma, to save lives, empower people, to find cures, and to help people and organizations in a variety of ways as they battle cancer." Kori passed away in February of this year at age 18, but the foundation lives on.

We didn't get a chance to walk the course in advance like we did for Smithville, but we did look at it on Map My Run.

It looked easy enough, but once on the course we realized that those elevation changes weren't anything to scoff at. Those hills were TOUGH! Also, while the race was identified as a 5K, the actual distance was 3.26 miles, rather than 3.1 miles. This would affect our overall times.

Mr Awesome started strong and finished with an official time of 25:03. A couple of young guys started strong ahead of him, then had to stop and puke during the race. They ending up coming in after him. If not for the extra 0.16 miles, this would have been his PR.

I had to stop to tie my shoe about a half a mile in, and succumbed to weakness a couple of times and walked some hills (I vow to not do that again!). I finished with a time of 37:47. Again, the extra 0.16 did my time in.

Mr. Awesome has a point: some races come in short, and some come in long. We can't celebrate the short ones and curse the long ones. We can only try to improve overall.

We stayed for the awards, which was fun, even though we didn't win anything, other than bonus calories to use at breakfast!

After the race we went to Ginger Sue's in Liberty and to the Liberty Farmer's Market for tomatoes, peaches, and blackberries. Then we went to the gym and worked out our legs. As if running wasn't enough. Then we went to Happy Rock Park and walked four miles on the Shoal Creek Trail. Because we're gluttons for quad soreness and sweating.

Then we went home and took a three hour nap.

Saturday night, we headed to Alamo Drafthouse to see Guardians of the Galaxy. I LOVED it! It was so funny and smart, and the music was perfect. I am already excited for the second one, and it's three years away! We spent some of our hard-earned calories on chicken fingers, fries, cookies (of course), and drinks. Good times were had by all.

Then we headed home and started watching the old TV show Cheers on Netflix. I watched some of it when I was a kid and it originally aired, but we'd recently heard it was great and held up well, so we thought we'd give it a go. Yep - it holds up great and is smart, funny, a little sappy, and entertaining. There's 11 seasons worth of it, so I don't expect we'll run out of episodes any time soon.

I found a sub-plot in the second episode to be especially surprising - a bar patron (played by Donnelly Rhodes of Danger Bay fame!) comes in for advice on how to deal with his son's fiance - a black man. Coach, in a round-about way, ends up convincing him that if he loves his son, he'll accept him just the way he is, and would welcome his son's fiance into their family. This, in 1982. I remembered back to something I read on Reddit recently:
"Over time, AIDS wiped out an entire generation of gay men. This has had an effect on the more recent generations since people that would normally have been mentors, big brother figures, teachers, etc. were gone, so the younger generation lost out on the wisdom and experience of the previous one."
I never really stopped to think about that: an entire generation of men - most of them smart, creative, caring people - were decimated by a disease, the future robbed of their wisdom, contributions, leadership, etc. This segment in a 1982 episode of Cheers aired mere weeks after the disease was given a name. It's startling to imagine what the world would be like had AIDS not destroyed as it did. In 1982, mainstream TV-watching America was being told it's right and proper to accept an interracial gay couple into one's family. Had that trajectory of acceptance continued, gay rights would be just everyday average rights. Instead, AIDS and the fear it generated pushed the gay rights fight back into shadows, and countless contributions to human advancement were lost or stifled.

Anyway, Cheers is good.

On Sunday, we made some terrific vegetarian chili. It's so good, you won't miss the meat at all. Really. I promise!

Three Bean Pumpkin Chili
Servings: 4
Calories per serving: 320

1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (15 oz) can pureed pumpkin (like Libby’s)
1 (15 oz) can garbanzo beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can great northern white beans, drained
1 (15 oz) can vegetable stock
2 1/2 Tbsp. Williams Chili Seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper, to taste
4 Tbsp. light sour cream

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the pumpkin, beans, and vegetable stock, and stir to combine. Add the chili seasoning and cumin and stir, then taste and season with salt and pepper as necessary. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes.

Serve in 2 1/2 cup portions, topped with 1 Tbsp. of sour cream.

We prepared this Sunday night, and let it sit in the fridge all day Monday before reheating it for Monday's dinner. And Tuesday's dinner. It was so, so, SO GOOD! And crazy-filling, for something so low-calorie.

This weekend, we're getting up bright and early on Saturday morning to run in the 5K Race with the Balloons as part of the Great Midwest Balloon Festival at the Kansas Speedway. I will NOT walk in this one, not even a little bit!