Category Archives: weather

Crackin’ the coconut

Friday afternoon I stopped at Kohl’s Department Store because I had a gift certificate to use up along with a coupon. I found some cute birthday presents for two of my little cousins, and then browsed the kitchen department to find something fun for myself. I ended up with a rolling pin and two silicone baking mats. How exciting, right!? So naturally I had to test out the baking mats yesterday with some peanut butter cookies.

The verdict? Love the baking mat! And the cookies were pretty darn good too. I am also very excited about the possibilities for my rolling pin. Can you believe I have never owned one before? On the agenda for this week is definitely some homemade crackers.

I won’t bore you with the details of my running this weekend because I have more important things to share. I had two great runs (13 miles on Saturday morning and 10 miles on Sunday). Luckily I was up early this morning and finished my run before this happened:

Just when all the snow had melted and I enjoyed two glorious runs on dry paths and sidewalks. Dear Mother Nature, I hate you right now. Sincerely, Laura

Since the yucky slushy snow had me dreaming of the tropics, I decided there was no better time than the present to crack open some coconutty goodness.

I could hardly contain my excitement.

I let Steve take care of the manly tasks involving hammers and nails. He hammered in two holes so we could drain out the water.

I couldn’t believe how much liquid was in there. It ended up being two full cups.

Then I had to try it. Did you know some people just lop off the top of the coconut and stick a straw in to suck out the water?

Here’s what it tasted like:

Blech. It was nasty pants. A while back I bought a can of coconut water from the store and it tasted awful. I thought surely it must taste better straight from the source. Wrong.

Then it was time to crack the sucker open. Again, I left this part to Steve for fear of causing bodily injury. Please don’t look at the messy counter or pile of dishes in the background.

Viola!

Removing the flesh was kind of tricky and involved prying with a knife. I left this part to Steve as well. Hmm…I guess Steve really did most all of the work here. After much prying and cracking, we had a plate full of coconut meat. It tasted better than the water for sure, but not quite as great as I thought it would.

See how there’s still some brown stuff on the outside of the pieces? My wonderful husband peeled the back of each piece with a potato peeler for me while I snacked on peanut butter pretzels. Now that’s love.

Then came the question of what to do with it all. I decided to freeze a few chunks whole for future use in a smoothie, then I threw everything else in the Vitamix including the water.

After a few minutes I had a bunch of creamy coconut mush for lack of a better term. All mixed up it tasted delicious.

It made about four cups, which is now sitting in the fridge.

Steve was running to the grocery store, so I asked him to pick up some pineapple, bananas, and a mango. I am having visions of the best tropical smoothie ever for breakfast tomorrow. I also think the creamy coconut mush might be good as a soup base, so I’m going to look into that as well.

So there you have it. Now I am off to look up tropical vacations that we will never go on just to torture myself. Summer, are you here yet?

Do you like coconut? Have you ever bought a whole one?

3 Comments

Filed under Baking, Food, The run, weather

Snow day

Even though I always have off work on Wednesdays, I pretended that it was a work day today and I got to stay home because of the blizzard. It made me happy to feel like I was getting out of work. Yesterday I left early so I could get home before the start of “The Blizz 2011,” but that was pretty unnecessary. Things didn’t start getting dicey until later last night. On my way home I stopped at the grocery store because I didn’t get a change to go over the weekend. Holy cats it was busy! There were barely any spots in the parking lot. People were apparently stocking up on water and canned goods like we were headed for a nuclear attack. Really, it’s just snow people. It’s not like we are going to be trapped in our homes for weeks.

Last night as the wind started to blow like crazy and the snow was coming down, I snapped a few pics out the window.

They don’t really do much to convey how nasty it really was out there. The wind was fierce and the snow was blowing and drifting everywhere. This morning I woke up to this.

My favorite part is the bike chained to the pole. What a nice day for a ride!

This is out the same window as the pictures from last night. That drift on the sidewalk was easily 5 feet tall, and you can see the cars down the street all plowed/drifted in.

All day I have been watching people try to get their cars out. I have never been so grateful for underground parking. Look at the car in the little parking lot across the street. Yeah, that one’s not going anywhere for a while.

So what did I do with my little “snow day” you might ask? I am happy to say it has been very productive so far. I did two loads of laundry, one of which involved dying our off-white flannel sheets pink for valentine’s day. Whoopsies! You mean you’re not supposed to throw a red blanket in with white sheets? What?

I also dusted and vacuumed the entire condo, organized the pantry, dusted off my bike and rode the trainer for 45 mins, and cleaned the bathroom. Who am I? I also had a tasty lunch to keep me going.

Carrot sweet potato soup that I made last night from this recipe. Try it, seriously. On the side is an oatmeal quinoa scone that I also made last night along with some kale chips. I haven’t made kale chips in a while, and I don’t know why because these rocked my socks off. After lunch I had a bowl of cherries with a dark chocolate square. That triggered my sweet tooth and prompted me to eat a massive amount of chocolate chips and peanut butter, thus probably ruining my appetite for dinner. I promised Steve a teriyaki stir fry tonight, so I will still be making that. At least it will be a good lunch for tomorrow.

Now I am off to do some more cleaning. I cannot be stopped. I think I am going to do my quarterly mopping of the floors. Please don’t judge.

How often do you mop your floors?

Quarterly, if that often. I know it’s gross but I hate doing it so much. I would rather clean 10 toilets than mop the floor. And don’t worry, I do at least vacuum/sweep it on occasion.

Do you have any trigger foods?

For me it’s sweet things like chocolate. Sometimes once I start I can’t stop until I’ve done some major damage. Cereal does it sometimes too. What causes that?

3 Comments

Filed under Food, Snow, weather

Sunday run-day

Two days ago it was 51 degrees. I ran in capris on the last day of 2010. This second day of 2011, it is 14 degrees and blustery. Here is what I wore:

 

Tights, running pants, base layer shirt, fleece, running jacket, 2 pairs gloves, fleece neck warmer, hat. It took me almost as long to get dressed as it did to run 5 miles.

I had to run pretty easy today because my calves are sore from NYE dance party 2010. I am having flashbacks to my brother’s wedding over the summer when this happened:

I jumped up jumped up and got down more than Kriss Kross, and literally could barely walk for four days because my calves were so sore.

After my chilly run I came home and made this:

Pumpkin oats topped with PB & Co White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter, homemade cranberry sauce, and Annie’s chocolate graham bunnies.

Steve and I are getting massages at noon, and then I plan on being as lazy as possible for the rest of the day.

What is your favorite oatmeal toppings?

Mine are peanut butter, craisins, cereal, maple syrup and nuts.

1 Comment

Filed under Food, The run, weather

Oh sweet glorious taste of summer

Today could have been ripped straight from the pages entitled “summertime in Milwaukee.” It was complete with glorious warm sunshine, bustling activity on the lakefront, and thanks to St. Patrick’s Day, drunk people stumbling around the city. I ran in shorts. I met my husband for lunch and enjoyed a warm breeze coming in through the open windows. Oh how I long for hot days spent lounging around on the boat drinking beer. I even called to book summertime campsites this morning. Is it July yet?

Wait, who am I kidding? My summer will be spent logging countless hours on the bike, running my ass off, and I guess swimming will have to fit in there somewhere as well. It’s going to be tough to balance training with summer activities, but I am confident it can be done. I don’t want to give up my entire life to Ironman.

Speaking of Ironman, my training schedule officially kicked off yesterday. In honor of this, I made my triumphantreturn to the pool. Any and all swimming fitness I gained before the half-ironman last year is totally and completely gone. I am most certainly back at square one. It sucks, but it is what I expected after my little seven month hiatus. Something about the pool at the Y just makes me want to puke. Maybe it’s all of the dirt and band-aids that have comfortably settled into the bottom corner. Maybe it’s the chlorine so thick you can almost see the fumes rising up off the water. Maybe it’s the fact that the temperature is like bath water. Maybe it’s the fact that I suck at swimming. Maybe it is just because it is mind-numbingly boring. I need to find a way to like it, or I will never get through the next six months of having to swim 2-3 times per week.

On a brighter note, I smoked my 18-miler on Saturday. I kept an average pace of 8:48/mile, which puts me about on pace for a 3:50 marathon. There is no way I could have held that for another 8 miles on Saturday, but I still have a while to get there. The next four weeks will be the most important weeks training wise, with two 20-milers in there and some longer tempo runs. I’ve gotta say, I am feeling pretty darn good about this race right now.

With that, Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

1 Comment

Filed under Marathon, The run, Triathlon, weather

Weekend Recap

Mother nature, you are such a slutty whore. You bring us temperatures reaching 60 degrees with actual sun at the end of the week, and you piss all over us ALL weekend. WTF? I think you need an attitude adjustment, and you need it now. A little bitch-slap perhaps? We want spring for crying out loud!

Ok, now that that’s out of my system…

I had to do my long run on the treadmill Saturday once again due to the miserable pouring rain. Luckily this was somewhat of a “rest” week, so it was only 13 miles. I wanted to run at race pace this week just to get the legs moving a little faster. What is race pace? I’m not exactly sure. My goal for the Wisconsin Marathon in May is to PR. I went into the Chicago Marathon last October with no goal, and I was pissed at myself because I know I could have run faster. My current PR is 3:57:03 at the 2006 Lakefront Marathon. Out of 7 marathons, that is the only one in which I broke 4 hours.

I was thinking I would be really happy if I could hold an 8:45 pace and run a 3:50. Then I had two really fast runs last week, and now I am wondering what might be possible. Last Thursday in the warm weather I cranked out a 10-miler in 1:23, or about 8:20 pace. I was in shock when I looked at my Garmin at the end. I was working hard, but not killing myself, and I felt really good. Then my 13 miler on the treadmill ended up just under 1:50, or about 8:26 pace. Had I been running an actual half-marathon, I would have PR’d. Now we all know that anything can happen during the second half of a marathon, but I am really encouraged by my training lately. One thing I will say without a doubt, my weekly speed-work sessions on the treadmill are definitely paying off.

Speaking of training, Ironman training officially begins next Monday. I am taking this week to enjoy my last few days of not swimming. Next Monday I have a date with the pool at the Northside YMCA. Blech. I need to find a way to like swimming. Any ideas?

Back to the weekend. My brother is on an assignment in Michigan, so he drove in for the weekend. Saturday we celebrated my dad’s birthday, and Sunday we had a big family gathering at my mom’s house for lunch. We don’t get to see Mike very often, so when he visits, we tend to have big parties. I didn’t snap any pictures this weekend, so I give you a gem of a photo of us circa 1985:

1985-583

Cute, no?

After the big lunch yesterday, Steve and I headed home and took up residence on the couch. We napped and watched movies on and off for the rest of the day/night. Something about the gray sky/freezing rain-turned-snow just makes you want to do that sometimes. On the bright side, we set the clocks forward and it will be light out one hour later. This makes me happy, and reassures me that someday we will see spring.

Hear that Mother Nature??

2 Comments

Filed under Family, Marathon, The run, Triathlon, weather

Doldrums

Why does mother nature hate us? I know, I know, it’s only February. But come on. Not but a couple of weeks ago we saw temperatures in the 60′s. What a tease.

I have been doing long runs on Saturday mornings in preparation for the Wisconsin Marathon (The Cheesiest!) on May 2nd. I haven’t actually committed to the race yet via official race entry, but I am most definitely probably going to do it. Up until this weekend, I would not have been deterred my a little snowfall. This is Wisconsin after all. However, when I woke up early Saturday morning to near-blizzard conditions, I went into wimp mode. I decided to take my 15 miler to the Y.

I hopped on the treadmill, which I now have figured out how to rig to run for 60 minutes instead of 30 minutes before it shuts itself off. I was armed with 1 bottle of water, 1 bottle of Gatorade, and 1 pack of Black Cherry Clif Shots. This is actually quite a bit of gear to be running with at the Y, but what was I to do? I made sure the treadmill I chose was smack in front of the TV that was tuned to the Discovery Channel, and I was off.

Hour one passed by pretty quickly as I simultaneusly listened to my iPod and watched Dirty Jobs in closed captioning. At the start of hour 2, Wreckreation Nation came on, and I knew this was going to be a little tougher. It’s not my favorite show, but I forced myself to watch it anyways in the interest of passing time. Somewhere around mile 10, my stomach really started to hurt, but I pressed on.

An aside – people at the Y will look at you funny when they see you eating weird little gummy bites out of a packet while you are running.

Where was I? Right, 2 hours down, 2 miles to go. These last 2 miles were tough, but only because I thought my stomach might actually explode. If not for that, I felt like I could have actually picked up the pace quite a bit. I finished out the run, and was pleased with myself for sticking it out. This was officially my longest treadmill run to date, and it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. If you get yourself in the correct mind frame before you start (I am in this for the long haul, let’s just press on and get it done), it’s not so bad. I also force myself not to look at the numbers very often, which helps.

I have hit the point where I am pretty focused on my training, and just waiting for winter to end. I am not interested in any more snow or cold or anything of the sort. I am hoping that the weather from here on out will cooperate enough that I can at least do my long runs outside. Hear that mother nature? Thank you in advance.

2 Comments

Filed under The run, weather

Weather Stalker

After years of loyalty to Weather.com and the 10-day forecast, I recently discovered AccuWeather.com and the 15-day forecast. Awesome. Now, I realize that weather forecasters have trouble being accurate in describing the weather for the next 5 minutes, but for the last few days I have been stalking the 15-day forecast. I am completely neurotic about the weather over which I have no control, always have been.

Today is the first day that the wedding day appeared in said forecast, and here is the prediction:

This better be subject to change in the next 15 days. Do you think it’s bad luck to stalk the weather?

Neurotic. Case in point.

2 Comments

Filed under weather, Wedding