Saturday, May 10, 2014

Hummingbird Video!

Just a quick post to say "hello" and to share this video our backyard hummingbird feeder!

We have 2 hummingbird feeders at our house - one in front and one in back, and this seems to keep them from getting too territorial about the feeders.  Although one time I observed one hummingbird grab another with his tiny talons and haul it off the feeder!

I know - this is kind of random, but I guess it falls under the category of "emotional health"?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Product Review: Lenny and Larry's FIT Protein Brownies™

This is why I rarely do product reviews - it has taken me an embarrassingly long time to get this posted. I was provided with a generous sample box of Lenny & Larry's FIT Protein Brownies, but was otherwise uncompensated for this review, and the opinions here are my own and my family's. This is also my first post from my phone...if this works, my blog might come back to life!

It all started at FitBloggin'...which I'm sure has been the start of many a great story, both on- and offline!

I was at my friend Abbie's dining room table, sorting through the FitBloggin'-SWAG-kit-that-is-LEGEND.  I found a plastic packet with 3 foil-wrapped bars:  Lenny and Larry's FIT Protein Brownies.  I didn't realize it at the time, but they were treating us to a sneak preview - the product itself didn't launch until after FitBloggin'!

Anyhow, my friend's sons noticed what I had in hand and gave me what my kids call "pretty eyes" - think the character Puss-in-Boots in the movie Shrek right before his opponents end up in tatters.  *POOF*!  Two of the three bars were gone.  (I, fortunately, remained uninjured.)  This left me with the raspberry chocolate brownie.  I'm not usually a fan of fruit & chocolate combinations, and a lot of nutritional treats tend to have more sugar and carbs and way less protein than I prefer in a snack.  But the nutritional stats looked good.  Here's the scoop for their Chocolate Raspberry flavor:
  • 190 calories per serving - and one bar IS one serving!  How many times have I ripped open a nutrition bar and eaten it, to find that one bar is 2 servings?  Well, enough times to be more meticulous about my label reading than I used to be, that's for sure.
  • 7 grams fat, 13 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates (7 grams fiber, 9 grams sugar).  For those who use diabetic food exchanges in meal planning, this is equivalent to 1.5 starch (less if you net out the fiber) and 2 lean meat servings. When I had gestational diabetes, I learned from the nutritionist that one can maintain a more even blood sugar by spreading out one's carb servings throughout smaller meals and snacks during the day and by ensuring that you eat a little of your protein when you eat your carbs. (Similar to the recommendations made by the insulin resistance diet authors.)  The ratio of protein to carbohydrates in these bars definitely fits the bill for me!
  • Gluten-free and non-GMO
  • No sugar alcohols - you will know why this is a good thing if you, like I, have overindulged in  products that proclaim "Low Net Carbs!!!" and the fine print of "May cause gastrointestinal distress"....

"How was it?"

I gave it a try.  YUM!  The texture was chewy - more so than a regular brownie - it kind of reminded me of a cross between a brownie and a Tootsie Roll.  I tend to eat things way too quickly, and I found that these made me slow down and (1) enjoy the flavor and eating experience and (2) helped my brain register that I was eating something substantial.

When I Tweeted appreciatively, Lenny and Larry's contacted me about writing a review, and I happily agreed.  I got a nice, big box from them with bars in all three of the FIT Protein Brownie™ flavors:
  • Chocolate Raspberry, the one I tried from my FitBloggin' samples. 
  • Chocolate Decadence, an all-chocolate brownie.  This bar has 190 calories, with 7 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrate (7 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar), and 13 grams protein.
  • Peanut Butter Crunch, a chocolate-peanut butter brownie with crunchy bits.  This bar has 190 calories, with 8 grams fat, 23 grams carbohydrate (7 grams fiber, 8 grams sugar), and 13 grams protein.

"This isn't one of those weird health foods, is it?"

Now, regular readers know I enjoy unusual foods. (Chocolate kale, anyone?)  So to "normalize" my "oooo, these things are tasty" review, I recruited my kids and one of my daughter's friends to try them. Here's how we rated the bars:
  • 1st place:  Peanut Butter Crunch.  We only had 2 other tasters for this one, because my daughter doesn't like peanut butter.  We tasters loved this one, with its crunch and the peanut butter and chocolate combination.  One taster preferred it to the plain chocolate one because "it is not as darkly chocolate."
  • 2nd place: Chocolate Decadence.  This one was in the solid "like" end of the rating scale for the kids; for me, it was a very close 2nd to the Peanut Butter Crunch.
  • 3rd place: Chocolate Raspberry.  2/3 kids were a little wary of the fruit and chocolate combination and declined to sample.  The one who tried it said it wasn't her favorite; she found it a little hard to chew.  I liked it, but if I had to buy a single flavor, I'd get the Peanut Butter Crunch.
Mr. Handsome-and-Handy also tried them, and he remarked that they would be an ideal food to have in one's desk at work in case one was too busy to grab lunch. (Oh, surely, none of us... ;-)  I imagine they would also be good to have handy in an emergency kit.

Do you have a favorite low/lower carb snack that you enjoy? Please mention in the comments - I love trying new foods that fit with my way of eating. 

Participants Needed for a Research Study: Diabetes and Future Pregnancy

Popping in from my slacking off in blogging busy day job life to let you all know that participants are needed for a research study on diabetes and future pregnancy.

I was contacted recently by Carrie Grady, a graduate student at Drexel University.  In her email, she wrote:
I am working on my Master’s thesis research project that studies women with diabetes’ perceptions of becoming pregnant. Many women with diabetes have reported a poor knowledge of the risks of hyperglycemia during pregnancy, a lack of information about planning a pregnancy from health care providers, and unsupportive attitudes from others, such as health care providers, family members, and partners. This study aims to assess how women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes view their ability to control their disease, prevent a pregnancy, and understand how to reduce risks of adverse outcomes from hyperglycemia during pregnancy.
Participants fill out an anonymous online survey, which asks women about their diabetes and future pregnancy/planning (the survey link is I hope that this information will help doctors and nurses improve their quality of care for women with diabetes.
She is looking for women with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who have never been pregnant. More details about the survey criteria are available in the Recruitment Flyer (click this link to view). In following up with Carrie, she mentioned that most respondents have been women with Type 1 diabetes and that they would really love to hear from those with Type 2 diabetes as well.

Good luck, Carrie!  I had not been diagnosed with Type 2 until after my pregnancies, but I did have gestational diabetes during both and was fortunate to receive excellent care.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Race Report: Foster City 10 Miler and 5K (January 12, 2014)

Or, "Dead Last Finish" Trumps "Did Not Start!"

I was feeling really great about running after the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run last fall.  I'd finished my Couch to 5K program (I used, and enjoyed, the podcast series to train).  I went for a run one morning about a month after the race, full of plans to gradually keep improving my 5K racing time, then *TWONG*!  Something tweaked in my lower leg about halfway through my run.  I thought walking it out might help, but no, when I tried running again, the pain came back.  I limped home, feeling rather discouraged. I needed to keep my legs healthy for hula, so I ended up resting it in between rehearsals for our holiday show.

Fortunately, after a week or so of rest, I could dance and walk and could still stationary those I did.  I did a "Turkey Strut" in lieu of a Turkey Trot, and ushered in the new year with a nice blufftop walk/jog.  Still, I hadn't been running regularly, so when I signed up for the Foster City 10 Miler and 5K (so excited to have a race that was within a half hour of home!), I knew I'd be walking most of it.

The Foster City 10 Miler and 5K is the first race in the new Northern California 10 Miler Series.  The next two are in Marin (May 25) and Santa Clara (August 24).  The series creator is Corrigan Sports, which also produces the Oakland Running Festival.

Given that I'm in walking mode lately, not to mention more interested in 3 miles than 10, why would I do this race?  Location, location, location!  It's nice and close to home, with lots of parking in the area.  Not to mention I needed the good feelings that doing a fitness event bring.

On race day, I was up bright and early - I wasn't sure how popular the series would be, and I wanted to leave myself plenty of time to park (especially with street closures for the race) and to pick up my race bib.  There was a packet pickup on Saturday, but it was such a rainy, mellow day, I didn't really feel like going to the shopping center. 
Great Day for a 5K!
Sunrise over Leo Ryan Park in Foster City
Still, even after parking and pick-up, I had an hour to wait for the race to begin.  Fortunately, the community center of the park was open, it was warm inside, and there were benches.  I ate my banana and some peanuts...something missing...something...oh yeah.  Coffee.  Ugh.

"Well, there are more ways to wake up and get warm than coffee," I sighed to myself, and I headed outside to warm up.  A brisk walk out along the lagoon, then a jog back...wait a minute?!?  What to my wondering eyes should appear, but a coffee-serving mini van, Get Goes Coffee Cafe!  I got a small coffee, which they individually brewed.  It was delicious! With 5 minutes before the race start, I was also glad that it brewed quickly!
Another plus side about walking a race?
The 10 milers and 5K-ers had the same start, so I got in back behind the strollers and surged forward with the rest when the starting horn sounded.  One unique thing about this race - which is not unique to triathlon events - was the headphone restriction.  That is, no music during the race.  I was a little worried about it, because I've come to enjoy walking and running to music.  But it ended up being a nice thing - the race was more social, and I was able to chat with a group of friendly fellow walkers at the back of the pack.

The course was billed as "scenic," but sadly, with the starting point being where it was, this applied only to the 10 mile course, which continued along the bay after the 5K turn-around.  I knew the 5k out-and-back would be going through business parks and over the freeway, but they blocked the streets for the course and it was a pleasant walk. 

Before I knew it, we were at the turn-around and headed back.  Had to do a little more sidewalk walking on the way back, because the police were starting to clear the course.  We spotted the finishing arch and kept a good pace...then as we got closer, the announcer directed us to not go through the arch, but to cross over to the other side of the street and go down to the 5K turnaround and then loop back. What a tease that finish was!  But I'm glad he told us, because there were about 6 people who went through the arch and didn't have an official finish recorded. I think an improvement for next time would be to have clearer signage at the intersection of Shell and Hillsdale for the returning 5K participants, maybe even some directional arrows in chalk?

On our way down to the last turnaround, the first 10 miler and the pace bike passed us!  That was exciting!  Another minute or two, and it was our turn to cross the finish line.  I appreciated that they called out our names as we strode under the arch - that was a really nice touch!  Results were posted quickly - by the time I picked up my race shirt, the 5K results were posted around the race area, and my finish time was on there already.

How'd I do?  I was 86/91 and the last finisher that had an official time (56:23).  After a lot of PR chasing over the years, I felt it was rather a hoot to add the PR of "First Last Place Finish" to my record book.
Nice race shirt!
(But I don't quite grok beer at a morning race...maybe free coffee vouchers next time, guys?)
Overall, I really enjoyed this race and would do it again...I could see this series becoming very popular, so I might have a bit more trouble finding parking next time around! (I think they would have had even more participation if the Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K hadn't been happening in San Francisco on the same day - that sounded like a fun one, too!)  I was impressed by the friendly volunteers and professional race staff - thanks for a great time!

(In case you were wondering: No, this was not a sponsored post.  I bought my own coffee and paid my own race fees.  It's simply that I've been to enough events to really appreciate a well-run one, and I would love for more races to be held on the SF Bay Peninsula!)

Friday, January 10, 2014

Going to FitBloggin' 14? Here Are Some Tips from a FitBloggin' First-timer

As you probably know, the location of FitBloggin' 14 will be Savannah, Georgia!  Check out Roni's page at for details.  Are you considering going (especially after reading about my adventures at FitBloggin' 13)?  Here are some advice and thoughts from my experience as a first-timer.
  • Stay at the conference hotel, or at least at a hotel where other FitBloggin' attendees are staying.  If you're feeling really brave, reach out to other attendees and share a room.  I didn't do this, and while I loved having time with my local friend, I felt a little torn in two sometimes.
  • Connect with others going to the conference.  I already had met a couple of attendees in person before coming to the conference, and it made it easier for me to connect to other bloggers.  The FitBloggin' site has a "Who's Comin'" page that lists the blogs of those who are coming to the event. Roni also has a FitBloggin Facebook group, which is also a great way to connect.  Check them out and start getting to know, through commenting, the people you "click" with.
  • Everyone there really wants to meet and connect with other bloggers, so the vibe is super friendly.  There may be some folks that you have more in common with than others, and that's okay.
  • FitBloggin' is a very welcoming place, with many people in different parts of their fitness journey.  You'll meet people who have moved forward in their goals or who have regressed in their goals...good news is, if you took the time and expense to be there, you're still in the game.
  • DO try to make the event on the last day - whether 5K, 10K, or a rockin' 1 mile walk with friends.
  • What to wear?  Clothing choices ranged from "tidy athletic" to "business casual" for most of the sessions.  I did notice that those who enjoy dressing up did so at the mixer on the last evening, it was quite festive.
  • Although they are not a "must" item, business cards can be really handy for swapping contact info quickly or for entering the many drawings hosted by the vendors.  I quickly "hand-crafted" a limited edition run of lined paper and ballpoint pen business cards...which amused several people.  At a different conference I went to last fall, our badges had a QR code printed on it with our contact information, so that people we met could scan it and have our contact info loaded right into their smartphones.  I don't remember if I mentioned this in my feedback on the conference, but that would sure be handy!
  • Be prepared to want to take home all the things!  I ended up leaving a lot of stuff with my friend Abbie, but there is a swap-fest on the last day for either picking up more things or leaving stuff that you won't be able to fit into your suitcase.  Maybe budget for a 2nd suitcase?
  • Don't be afraid to take time for YOU.  (Especially important if, as an introvert, you find that much social interaction is taxing your energy.)  For example, even though I would have loved to have gone to EVERY fitness session, it didn't work out for me to do so.
Take time to smell the flowers...
...To enjoy the colors...
...To savor the coffee...
...And to notice the cow. 

Have you been to FitBloggin'? Do you have tips or a review of the conference that you'd like to share? Please leave them in the comments - I would love to read them, and I'm sure other FitBloggin' first timers would, too!

Friday, January 3, 2014

FitBloggin' 13 ("What, not a New Year's Post?!?")

"We write to taste life twice. Once in the moment and once in retrospection."
- Anais Nin, A New Woman

So here I am, half a year later, trying to recap FitBloggin'.  It's harder than I thought it would be, for such a memorable event.  Not sure if it's because I'm afraid of getting some fact wrong, forgetting to mention any of the wonderful people I met, or simply rambling too much.  So rather than give a sequential account of things, I'm going to talk about what I LOVED about the conference and what I would tell another first-timer to the conference.

13 Things I Loved about FitBloggin' 13!

Not necessarily in this order...and each of these would not be possible without the amazing job Roni Noone did: planning the agenda, recruiting sponsors, arranging the conference hotel and menu to suit people with such varying definitions of what it means to eat healthfully.
Yeayyy, Roni!
13.  SWAG!

Roni did a fantastic job in recruiting generous sponsors for the event.  I was avalanched with wonderful goodies on arrival.  I had heard that the swag at FitBloggin' was legendary...and it's TRUE!  At registration, we were given a great Reebok gym bag stuffed with lots of amazing samples and gifts, and just past the registration table, the nice folks at Reebok outfitted us with shoes and yoga tank tops! 

I love mine: I got the purple Reebok Crossfit Nano shoes!  I was really worried about whether they would fit my feet.  However, their wide toe box meant that my feet were not pinched at the toes.  They are lightweight and have good airflow.  Not to mention I get a ton of compliments on my bright kicks! :-)
Purple?!? Be still my heart!

I'd say about half of the items in we received were fitness-goodies (a Humana pedometer, Sweat Pink shoelaces, a Nutrilite gym bag and supplements package, a tech shirt from the JumpSport Fitness trampoline folks), and the other half were food samples.  I especially liked the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, Blue Diamond almonds, Simply Snackin meat snacks (I got to try the Sirloin with Apples & Cherries - yum!!!), and the sample pack of Lenny & Larry's brand-new Fit Brownies (which I'll be reviewing in a near-future post!).

The swag wasn't just in the bag - sponsors hosted the snack times and the evening events, and they were present in the exhibition area with samples and drawings. I was especially delighted to see The Laughing Cow!  When I was little, my dad was a salesman for an imported deli food company, so I have fond memories of their tiny cheese cubes and Babybell cheeses.

"J'aime bien La Vache Qui Rit!"
Attune Foods and Driscoll's Berries sponsored a lovely yogurt and toppings bar with - hurrah, plain yogurt! - during the Ignite keynote session in the evening.

...and After (yum!)
My iPhone and I must also thank the Amana folks for the recharging room and the refreshing citrus-infused water stations.

11.  The conference hotel - The Nines! (

Groovy Unhipster Meets Hipster
Hip (did I imagine the hipness to be kind of tongue-in-cheekly so?) and swanky in its decor and usual clients (picture the stylishly dressed bar-goers and the athletically dressed conference-goers eyeing each other in the elevators), The Nines also had the nicest staff and best conference food ever!  Breakfasts were my favorite: beautiful fresh fruit, egg dishes, and delicious, high-quality bacon!

12.  The Cheese Guy

He was very knowledgeable about the cheese selections, and we enjoyed a wonderful plate of cheeses, among other delights, at The Urban Farmer restaurant in The Nines.

Words fail me.  I'm distracted by the cheese.
I'm not a big fan of blue cheese, but OMG, the blue cheese + lavender honey combo was amazing!  I also liked the cheese from Cowgirl Creamery...a type of brie, I think?
Another picture: because...CHEESE!
10.  Great Sessions

You mean, it wasn't just a big blogger reunion?  There was that, but also so many good sessions.  Most were live-blogged, and those are posted here:

I attended mostly the blogging business-related ones, probably because I was curious about how much social media does/could intersect with my career as a technical writer.  I did attend some of the small discussions as well, particularly Margo Porras' and Jen Sader's excellent "Getting Back from Gaining Back" discussion. Maintenance is hard, and bloggers especially feel a lot of pressure of "what do I talk about?" when stuck or experiencing a setback.  Some good advice shared:  Reframe it as continuing rather than starting over.  Pick a blog name/theme that fits your whole life. (Which I've seen many of my blogger friends over the years do successfully.  My favorite blogs tend to be ones in which the writer shares their weight loss/maintenance/diabetes management experiences, but also shares their interests and experiences beyond those topics.)

Of the business sessions, I liked the video and photography ones the best, even though I don't use video in my blog and do not have a fancy camera.  Both sessions were highly technical, but included tips for improving your skills.  Best video tip: get a decent microphone, video is 80% audio.  (I've created product screen-casts, and yes, poor audio and narration is jarring to the viewer.)  Most useful photo tip for me was the concept of "catchlights," the little pinpoints of light that help the subject's eyes look a bit more lively.  Simply turn your subject's face toward the light until they appear in the subject's eyes, and then snap your picture!

9.  Pin-giving

Earlier on registration day, I was enjoying some of my favorite spots in Portland with my friend Abbie and her sons.  We were at Butterscotch - a favorite shop that sadly, has closed since then - and I perused their bin of cute buttons.  I suddenly had a brainstorm:  what if I bought a batch of pins and gave them out at FitBloggin', sort of like the pin traders at Disneyland?  I was kind of shy when it came to offering the buttons, but most people seemed delighted to accept one and were able to find a pin that "spoke" to them - and each pin found a new home by the end of the conference.

8.  Spontaneity - Dance parties, karaoke, impromptu conversations

I loved how, often as not, each evening's session would end up in a dance party.  This year they also had karaoke on evening #2; I didn't sing, but it was fun to see individuals and groups get up there and perform.  You couldn't ask for a more supportive audience for branching out of your comfort zone, that's for sure.

7.  Ice breakers

First, there was badge decorating, then the official Social Scavenger Hunt (e.g., find someone whose blog you have never read, and leave a comment, then get their signature).  The OMG-I-don't-know-anyone-what-do-I-do-now!?!? panic almost took hold, when Susan Ito ( spotted me:  "I need you to help me brainstorm for the ice breaker!"  Whew - something to do! 

Speed ice breaking!
Our job was to come up with questions for an ice breaker that was based on speed-dating:  we had two circles of chairs, and one group rotated chairs, so each person got to know a little bit about someone new every few minutes.  Another great one was when Susan had everyone group themselves in zip-code order, so people could see who else from their part of the country was attending.  So fun!

6.  Free time

Most conferences pack in the sessions.  I liked that FitBloggin' allowed time for participants to have a block of free time to enjoy the city together.  You could go on your own, or there were several "offsite walking tours" organized by various FitBloggers.  I went on the knitting one, led by Deb Eber Roby (  We went to a shop called KnitPurl, and with help from local FitBlogger & knitware designer Kristine Beeson (, I found a locally made skein of yarn.

Note the colorway: kale!  At FitBloggin', even the yarn is healthy!
After the knitting shop, it was food truck time!  Portland is known for its vibrant food truck scene, and I got a delicious Korean BBQ salad. 

5.  Karen Anderson's EXCELLENT "EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique, aka "Tapping")" session

Karen Anderson, "The Acceptance Whisperer" (, presented an overview of EFT and asked for issues to address from the participants.  Thank goodness there were several boxes of tissues in the room!  The thing that struck me most:  here we were in a room full of beautiful, talented, funny women, and so many deal with tough feelings.  It made me a little teary myself, and I'm not exactly a leaky dame.  Karen led us with grace and gentle humor through EFT exercises.  I left the session feeling calmer, and it seems to me a nice technique for acknowledging when I'm stressed and thinking through how I might make a shift to my reaction to a situation.

4.  FitMob 2013!

FitBlogger Margo Porras ("Nacho Mama" of "It's Nacho Mama's Blog - Life with Extra Cheese" organized a FitMob to the song "Fame."  She posted YouTube videos of the choreography so that we could practice in advance, and we had a little rehearsal before the FitMob happened.  Here's a video to "remembah":

(It gets more watcher-friendly by 40 seconds in.  Thanks to Alan Ali of "Sweating Until Happy" for posting this!)

3.  Zumba!

I had the privilege of meeting Sue O'Lear ( at the Las Vegas Rock & Roll Half Marathon, and I had followed the story of her becoming a Zumba instructor and of her and business partner Samantha Collins ( forming Trio Fitness, so I was very happy that they were leading the Zumba party again at FitBloggin' this year. (Having read about their leading Zumba at former FitBloggin' conferences, being able to attend their class was a dream come true!)

Sam & Sue rockin' the house!

I enjoyed shaking my groove thing with Sue & Sam, and their fellow Zumba masters Gina, Nellie, and Bonnie (

2.  Location in Portland, Oregon

I am in love with Portland, Oregon, so I may be a bit biased.  Books, chocolate, coffee, amazing food, and you can walk EVERYWHERE!  It's like the fairy godcity of food AND fitness! 

Bacon all day? My kind of town!

Some of my favorites:

Devil's Dill Sandwich Shop ( My flight on Wednesday was delayed, so by the time I got to my friend Abbie's house, even the grocery store was closed.  Happily, Abbie had a flyer from a sandwich shop that delivered until 2:30 a.m. Devil's Dill to the rescue!  They had sauteed kale on their side order menu, so I had a good feeling about this.  I ordered the No. 1, 5-spice Pulled Pork with Sesame Slaw and Chili Garlic BBQ Sauce.  I think this was the best pulled pork sandwich I have ever eaten.  We also split a cucumber "Dry Soda" as a cocktail mixer - 11 grams of
sugar in the entire bottle, so pretty reasonable.

Alma Chocolate (  Alma was more of a dash-in, dash-out than I had hoped.  We usually linger over a chocolate drink and cake.  But I tried their Chocopop!—A chocolate truffle pop.  Wow, wow, and wow!!!  They do ship their hand-crafted chocolates, and boy, are they tasty!

Ruby Jewel Scoops ( Most folks were toting pink boxes from Voodoo Donuts, but Margo Porras, Jen "Toledo Lefty" (, and I wanted to try the Blue Star gourmet donuts mentioned in the in-flight magazine.  So we walked see this:

Sad face, indeed!
Points for humor, though:

On the way back to the hotel, though, we spotted this:

And soon we were nomming this:

South Park ( I went here twice, too.  Once with Deb Roby, and we enjoyed their fresh pig cracklings and meatballs, and tasty beer.  The second was with Abbie - I enjoyed their sustainably caught fish.  Sadly, they no longer serve their amazing chocolate crostada, so we went to Ruby Jewel for ice cream.  It was a fun turn of events, because I got to show the local a new location!

Ruby Jewel encore!!!

Saint Cupcake (  A stop at the Saint Cupcake Deluxe location on Belmont is my go-to bribe for my friend's family.  I love their mini carrot cake cupcake the best: spices, cream cheese, perfect cake-to-frosting ratio!

Why, yes!  They *are* as good as they look!
Stumptown Roasters (  The Belmont location is a mere two blocks from my friend Abbie's place.  Unlike most of the above, you can order their amazing coffee.  They have THE best decaf coffee, and the only better regular I've had is from a small grower on Kona.

THIS Coffee = happy!

1.  Seeing old friends and making new ones!

I didn't know very many people going into the conference, but as you can see from the above, I left Portland with some new friends!  It sure was fun to see again some of the blogger friends I had met before, some I finally met in person for the first time (Carla Birnberg!!! *Squee*!!!), and others that I didn't know well (or at all!) before the conference but enjoyed meeting and getting to know at FitBloggin' and after the conference through their blogs.

Stay tuned for my next post: "Tips from a FitBloggin' First-timer"

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2013 Senior Coastsiders Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run 5k

Well, house painting awaits, but I had to pop in and post about the 2013 Senior Coastsiders Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Run/Walk!  Wow, can't believe it's my 5th event - I ran in 2008, 2009, walked it in 2010, ran again in 2011, took 2012 off...and here we are in 2013!

I love this race - it was the first one I did when I was regaining my fitness, and so it has a special place in my heart. My fitness really plummeted in 2012, so I fired up the podcasts and started training - just finished week 8, day 2 on the Thursday before the race, so this event was "graduation".  I did the supplemental weeks 4-2 and 7-2; the former, because I needed it, and the latter to time week 8 with the race.  So my main goals this year were to have fun, to finish, and to feel grateful that I didn't have any injuries to keep me from running it.

Despite a choppy night's sleep - I always sleep poorly before a race - I got there at about 7:30 and the pre-race was in full swing.  I picked up bib and my race swag: pumpkin and a t-shirt (no, not the one I'm wearing!).   I jogged around a bit to warm up, because it was cold and quite foggy.  (Glad I did - I usually don't, but I noticed during my runs that I don't really feel fully warmed up until about 20 minutes.)  I don't think I've ever attended a sunny one - and the morning weather was clear all during the week until Friday morning!  OH well.

I love this race:  lots of families race it together, young & old run and walk it.  Early on, I was absolutely dusted by a woman with a jogging stroller.  One girl was running with her dad, and at one point they both broke into skipping, and then she turned 3 flawless cartwheels - I cheered, "Bravo!" as much a salute to her exuberant spirit as to her skilled cartwheeling.  You get a lot of serious athletes in this one, too, and then there are the crazy folks who do a 1-mile ocean swim down the coast (BRRRR!!!), emerge, and then do the running event.  I wonder if they plant bikes here and do a bike ride on the way home? ;-)

The route was a little different than in 2011.  Instead of going through the campground for mile 2, the route wound through the Alsace Lorraine neighborhood.  Lots of volunteers and cute pumpkin chalk art on the ground kept us on track.

I feel like my training prepared me very well for the race.  I'm not as fast as I have been in the past, but I maintained a slightly uncomfortable pace for most of it - if it wasn't a little uncomfortable, it wouldn't be a race, right?

There were lots of people in pumpkin hats, pumpkin t-shirts, and one runner in a pumpkin suit, but the run tends to be a bit low-key in the costume department.

Before I knew it, I was passing beneath the balloon arch.  The race clock said 37:xx, I forget exactly what the minutes were, so we'll call it 38 minutes.  I felt satisfied - I met my goals, and I finished faster than my first one in 2008.  (I was unofficially a little faster in 2011, but that's because a late bathroom stop delayed my start by a couple of minutes.)

UPDATE:  Looking for the race results?  They are posted at ( and on the site ( 

There are some amazingly fast people in this race, in all age groups.  I am not one of them.  But I was happy with how I did.  My pace was 37:46.7 (12.11 min mile).  In the 5k Run/Walk, I was 300/492 overall and 31/52 in my age group. 

You know what the coolest part was?  After the race, seeing some of my kids' friends get awards in their 12 and under age group for the 5k!  One of the kids - a girl from my son's preschool playgroup - took first of the girls, and so I got to find them and catch up a little.  I also saw my daughter's Kindergarten teacher, who couldn't believe that some of the kids she had taught were running the 5k this year.  (No, not mine...they were all snug in their nice, warm beds.)  She and her husband and family had just finished the 10k, massive 2-kid stroller and all!

Congrats to everyone who participated in the event this year!  And thank you, Senior Coastsiders and event volunteers, for hosting another event full of fitness and fun!

A happy 5k finisher!