Friday, January 6, 2012

Random Five Friday

Often during the week there are little things I take pictures of or thing about posting but they aren't really worthy of their own post.  Enter the first edition of "Random Five Friday".  This may or may not become a weekly thing, we'll see. 

1.  We're having the warmest winter I've seen here in Minnesota.  We had no snow at Christmas, rain on New Year's Eve, snow on New Year's Day, then just a couple days of cold (i.e. normal January weather) and we're right back to 30 and 40 degree days.  The weather has just been weird.

Monday: 16 degrees

Wednesday: 39 degrees, running with Liam

Liam after Wednesday's run- for some reason when I uploaded this, his face got squished...

Friday: 46 degrees, ran in shorts and long-sleeve top.  In January. 

2. In order run outside today, I had to run during Liam's nap.  The little bugger would not go to sleep at his regular naptime, instead waiting until almost 2:30PM.  I knew that he was likely to sleep until sunset, so I headed outside to run my "track" (the circular driveway around our yard).  But the track was still snow-covered in spots and slippery so I ran back and forth on the road in front of my house.  

 What do you mean you can't see that yellow sign in the right-hand ditch?  Well, it's just past the electric pole.  I hung the baby monitor on the mailbox and ran a 0.06 mile stretch back and forth (and back and forth and back and forth and...well, you get the idea) for a total of 3.25 miles.  Yep, that's right six-hundredths of a mile.  I really wanted to run outside.  I was going for 4 miles, but Liam woke up.  (Before sunset! Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men...)

3.  I saw this post several places this week.  It's originally from the forums on  posted by marmadaddy who is one of their admins (see his post and the discussion following here).  I also saw it on another health and fitness board as well as posted here by Steve In A Speedo.


During the coming weeks we will be seeing posts from people making observations about their gyms, particularly how crowded they are with new people. A few years back I posted the following in response to some of those observations. It has become something of a tradition that I re-post it in order to add a little perspective to what will surely be stressful and inconvenient in the coming weeks for many of us.

We're endurance athletes. We train all year not only outside, but also at the gym and the pool. We can expect some serious crowding in both places for the next few weeks. It happens every year.
Suddenly we have to add 30 minutes to our scheduled gym time because of the "resolutionists". There are no parking places. When you do manage to find one and get to the locker room 10 minutes behind schedule, there aren't any lockers available and the door is blocked by someone trying to remember the way to the weight room. In there, the machines you need to use are all occupied by people in new track suits pushing too much weight with truly horrible form. The bubbler is blocked by someone who is trying hard not to look totally out of their element. You can't get in the pool because it's jammed with people using pull buoys on their arms and kickboards as flotation devices. Half the lanes have people with no goggles and baggy swim trunks down to their knees who can't swim an entire lap.
The whole freakin' place is filled with...
It's one of my favorite sights. I've never been in a place more full of hope than a gym during the first week of January. It's a place full of people giving action to their dreams. People who for that day are making an effort to be fit, to improve themselves, to live a better quality of life. The effort and courage it takes them to get there that morning is huge. It certainly exceeds what it takes me. I know where everything is. I know the pool etiquette. I know what my workout is going to be and how to use the machines.  I'm not the least bit embarrassed to take my shirt off in the locker room. This is routine for me. These new people will be showing a lot of courage and determination by going to the gym in the next few weeks and they'll deserve my respect. They'll get it.
It wasn't that long ago that I was one of them. During the next few weeks I'll be making an effort to help some of these people feel a little less uncomfortable. Maybe make eye contact with some of them, be ready to give a nod or say hello.
Once we're halfway into February, the crowds will be gone. Parking will be easy. Machines will be available again. The wait at the pool will go away. We know this. We're endurance athletes. We know the reward that comes from sticking through the hard parts.
And from helping others through them.


 4.  When you're on a really restrictive elimination diet, you sometimes have to get creative.  I had a huge craving for guacamole tonight but I usually eat it with chips.  Corn is on the "NO" list.  Ok, so Blue Diamond Nut-Thins- rice and nuts, right?  Yep, and butter.  Dairy is also on the "NO" list.  Grrr.  So I looked up a recipe for gluten-free crackers.  I found one that looked good, but it calls for either arrowroot powder or cornstarch.  I have no arrowroot powder, and remember...corn is on the "NO" list.  
I sat and stewed about it for a while.  I really, really, REALLY wanted guacamole!  On beans?  Nope, don't have any that aren't dried.  On chicken?  Frozen.  Then, finally, AHA! On homemade chile lime potato chips!  Potatoes, lime juice, olive oil, ancho and chipotle chile powders, and salt to taste.  Bake in a single layer at 400 degrees until crispy.  They absolutely hit the spot!   

5.  We had a MAJOR upgrade in our exercise dungeon this week.  Previously, we had a really old TV (old enough the the only input was a co-axial cable), a really old VCR (no inputs) and a CD player/stereo.  I wanted a DVD player so I could do P90X downstairs as well as use a couple bicycle trainer DVDs that I have.  When I started looking into one, I realized that if I got a BluRay player, I could stream internet content as well.  And since I already have an Amazon Prime membership, I can get a lot of stuff for free.  After about a week of pondering, I decided to go with the BluRay player. 


I also went to the local appliance store and bought a used TV for $25 that has all the appropriate input ports.  Now we just have to run a splitter from the antenna (Yep, we have one of those big monster on-top-of-the-house antennas.  No cable or satellite in our house!) and we'll really be in business. 

There is a reason we call it the dungeon.  Note the lovely orange-painted cement block and water-stained cement floor decor.
Now I want to paint the walls and get some better lighting in there.  I hate to do it when we're only going to be in this house a couple more winters.  We'll see how bored ambitious I get over the winter. 

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