First run back with the BRRC!

This past weekend I went for my first run back with the Baltimore Road Runners Club. I was so happy to be there, I didn’t even mind waking up at the crack of dawn – well worth it considering the heat recently. At 7am, the weather was surprisingly comfortable. I loved seeing familiar faces from previous BRRC training seasons and meeting some new runners, too.

I increased my distance to 4.2 miles for this “long” run. I used an interval timer, but was able to run through some of the walking intervals once I got warmed up. I walked a bit to socialize with one of our coaches at one point because I was so happy to be able to catch up with her and generally exercise in a social setting again! I’m thankful that I have a gym membership, but group runs (particularly outdoors) will always be more enjoyable.

It was very relaxing to run this route again. I didn’t listen to music and on a whim decided to use my daily Headspace meditation session during the run. It was a very different, but very good experience to follow the guided meditation cues while running. Instead of focusing on my tired legs and lungs, I observed more of the sounds around me than I would typically notice. A recent Headspace session reflected on observing your thoughts from the sidelines, as if you’re sitting on the side of the road watching cars go by. It is a great technique for anxiety sufferers or simply to organize your thoughts. I was more aware of the rest of my body and thus, my running form. It was a positive experience and if I can make it more of a routine it seems like something that would be helpful with mentally powering through difficult runs and races. I still have marathon aspirations (2017?) so I’ll definitely need that… If you’re interested in meditation, I highly recommend giving it a try during a run! I’m curious to hear other runners thoughts and experiences on this as well.

My view while running at Loch Raven Reservoir

 

The Wheezy Runner - Loch Raven Reservoir

 

Next weekend I’ll likely stick with the same distance. It is awfully tempting to go longer, but I’m trying hard to be patient and train properly in order to stay healthy and avoid injury. I’ve been using My Macros+ to track my diet and my body measurements are slowly creeping down. I’m trying to be patient with that, too!

If you’re in the Baltimore area and interested in very affordable, quality training take a look at the BRRC website. The mid-distance group is training for fall half marathons, and there are trail running and Couch to 5k groups too. This training season is just beginning so there’s still time to join!

 

 

Our geocaching kit!

We recently put together a geocaching kit with some supplies we keep wishing we had with us while out and about. Since we’re getting more and more heavily into caching (and even getting friends to join in), we’ve also wanted to carry things to leave or trade in caches in addition to the basics like having pens on hand and supplies to repair caches if necessary.

A vast majority of the time, I would not alter a cache but recently we found a damp log in a ziplock bag that had split down one side – an easy fix that wouldn’t have altered the cache at all. So, into the kit a handful of sandwich sizes and smaller bags have gone.

Many geocaching supplies and goodies to exchange can be found for very low cost or free. Our gray containers, mini composition book to use as a cache log, stickers, and mini erasers were all free through Listia (referral link) purchases. Listia is a credits-based auction site where you can watch videos, do surveys, or complete offers to earn credits in addition to selling your own items. Thrift stores are the perfect places to find locking plastic food storage containers to use for medium sized caches.

We did recently decide to purchase a premium membership to Geocaching.com. We’ve found that their new app unfortunately is extremely limited to basic members – much more so than their previous app. For as much as we use the app, it has been a worthwhile purchase.

 

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  1. Repair kit – tape, scissors, and extra baggies to replace ones that have torn.
  2. Keep some goodies on hand to leave behind or trade! I love sewing little felt foods or other cute things, in addition to the stickers and erasers.
  3. Our first cache to hide – includes a small container, label to put on after we name it, a log sheet, and a cute handmade polymer clay hamburger as a first-to-find goodie.
  4. Pen and extra logs, in case a log is full or destroyed.
  5. A light drawstring backpack to carry it all!

If you’ve also caught the treasure hunting bug, what’s in your geocaching kit? Share with me in the comments!

I finally returned to my usual running route!

After taking it easy with lots of very short, very slow runs on the track and treadmill, I finally had my longest run of the year over the holiday weekend – 3.4 miles! I ran our usual “neighborhood loop” that I used to dread…our neighborhood is pretty but the loop gets very repetitive after awhile.

This time, I couldn’t have been happier to be on it! It felt so comfortable and normal to be back on a regular route. I was so happy to run a whole 3+ miles (though still a far cry from my longest run last autumn at 16 miles) that I didn’t even mind my legs feeling tired afterwards. If anything, the tired feeling made me even happier because it was familiar and I felt productive.

Last night I had to settle for a treadmill run due to available exercise time, and I also added some upper body weights in after. SFG and I got to visit the gym together, which is a rarity for us! Today it is the hottest it has been so far this summer and the air quality is poor – I could feel it immediately this morning – so I may be stuck on the treadmill again, but I’ve already been looking forward to my next trip around the neighborhood loop!

I’d like to be able to do shorter races by the end of the year. I’m nowhere near being PR-ready, but there are some autumn and winter races that would be fun to do with the family. A friend is already registered for a Halloween 5k in which you carry a pumpkin through the race course! I love all things autumn so some fun, low-pressure events like that would be ideal to get me back into racing.

Listening to: On both my weekend run and last night’s treadmill run, I listened to episodes of Last Podcast on the Left, a podcast that is a mish-mash of true crime, paranormal (with a healthy dose of skepticism and mockery), and crude humor. It provides lots of laughs, but is not appropriate for little ears!

 

The Wheezy Runner

Old Bay Scallops Recipe

My mother made Old Bay scallops a few days ago and I thought they were so pretty! They’re a quick and easy basic breaded scallop recipe – roll the scallops in bread crumbs and Old Bay to taste and brown in butter in a medium-high skillet for roughly three minutes each side or until opaque and cooked through. Squeeze some lemon juice on and top with parsley!

I love lemon juice on nearly any seafood dish and if you’re familiar with Maryland at all, you’ll know that Old Bay goes on just about anything. It is most well known for seasoning crabs, but C loves it on broccoli, it is great on fries, and I’ve started putting it on corn on the cob lately too.

Slate cheeseboard is from Brooklyn Slate and the little bowl by LeafnFiber is made from fallen palm leaves and is compostable.

 

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Our DIY wedding invitations are ready!

Like just about everything else with our upcoming big day, our diy wedding invitations have been fun to work on together. We chose vines, colors found in nature, and a handwriting font to coordinate with our relaxed, outdoor location and decorations.

I designed the invitation in Adobe Illustrator and I swear we got it done in about 30 minutes! I sat down at the computer, really only intending to make a couple of very rough drafts. I usually agonize and obsess over design projects, but between the two of us we managed to quickly come up with a layout that worked.

We purchased A7 invitation envelopes in “natural” and for the RSVP cards, “grocery bag” A1 envelopes. Our envelopes arrived very quickly and I’m impressed at the quality for such a low price! A co-worker who happens to be getting married on the same day recommended Envelopes.com to me and she is also really happy the order she placed.

To dress up the invitation envelopes a bit, I painted a wash of blue and green acrylic paint across the front and hand addressed each with a white gel pen.

Being a crafty person, I had a lot of fun making our invitations and recommend it if you’re at all design inclined. I love the personal touch and the ability to perfectly tailor the designs to what we want instead of using a template or hoping another designer understands our vision!

Did you design your wedding invitations or DIY other parts of your wedding? Let me know about it in the comments – preferably with a link so I can see your awesome work! 🙂

 

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10 Favorite Treats for the 4th of July

I love the 4th of July so much! Each year we go to Oregon Ridge, a local park where the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra performs while we wait for the sun to go down and the fireworks to begin. This is the same park where we’ve been trail running a number of times, plus they have pavilions, grilling areas, and a big playground. This is one of my favorite events of the year…it is such a relaxed evening with friends and family, the weather has always been great (and hopefully will continue that way!), and I love listening to the BSO.

This year, C and I have chosen to make this festive rice crispies recipe. We haven’t made rice crispy treats in so long and C was really excited as soon as I said the words. They’re a classic treat I remember very well from my childhood, making them with my grandmother in a big, heavy pot with a wooden handle. Rice crispy treats will travel well for our picnic, too, especially using Wilton candy melts to decorate them. I find that they don’t melt as quickly as milk chocolate.

I’m a huge fan of sweet and salty desserts, so this recipe jumped out at me right away!

This is a simple yet beautiful cake that would be ideal for any patriotic picnic or party.

These popsicles are not only healthier but pretty, too! I love the stripes!

Fruit skewers are a classic dessert that everyone can enjoy, and the star-shaped pineapple is a perfect idea!

Here’s another take on the patriotic rice crispies…

Who doesn’t love cheesecake?!

Muddy buddy mix is another dessert I remember my grandmother making

I love decorated ice cream cones. They’re simple to make but look really fancy and photogenic!

These fireworks cookies look great and use a very easy decorating technique.

These cherries are an adorable treat for the adults!

What are your favorite foods to bring to the barbeque or fireworks? Do you have a 4th of July board on Pinterest, too? Share with me in the comments! 🙂

Race Review: GBMC Father’s Day 5k

I hope you had a great Father’s Day weekend!

This year, we began our celebrations with the GBMC Father’s Day 5k, a mid-sized local race that benefits the Greater Baltimore Medical Center’s NICU. This is another family friendly race with lots of participants running with strollers and even a few cute dogs! 🙂 There were roughly 1,200 runners total, but the race had a smaller feel to it and was fun and well organized. There were kids activities and food after the race, in addition to awards for both runners and those who raised additional funds to be donated to the NICU.

The course on the hospital grounds is a tough one with lots of hills – not ideal for a PR attempt, but the first overall runner came in at an impressive 16:52! Since this was a special Father’s Day race and I am not yet race-ready, SFG and C ran together and I was the photographer for the morning.

The Wheezy Runner GBMC Father's Day 5k

 

I love that C’s feet are off the ground in each photo! I’m so glad I was able to catch his silly starting line pose.

 

The Wheezy Runner GBMC Father's Day 5k

 

C loves photos of our local mascot birds, but not with them. Luckily, I was able to catch The Oriole Bird and Poe posed for the start of the awards ceremony. I’m not much of a sports fan, but I do like our local teams!

The Wheezy Runner GBMC Father's Day 5k

 

After the race, we went to Famous Dave’s since barbeque is a family favorite. C presented SFG with a gift bag of Father’s Day surprises and we enjoyed brisket, spicy macaroni and cheese, and more.

It was a fun, relaxing day that ended with playing outside just before sunset. SFG does so much for our family and certainly deserves a day to celebrate! And even on his special day, he spent a good portion of the evening tutoring me for my math class! C and I appreciate him very much every day. 🙂

 

Don’t be bored! 30+ ideas to keep you active.

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We’re on the brink of summer vacation – some of you are already there! If you don’t have many plans this summer, here are some ideas to keep you busy and fend off the “I’m boooored!” from adults and kids alike over the next several weeks. 🙂

I also have a personal thing against people who claim to be perpetually bored. Petty? Maybe. But I truly believe it is impossible to be bored given the vast, diverse world we live in. And I only listed a few things to get you inspired – there are so many other options out there too depending on your interests and geographic location!

  1. Attend a free workshop at Home Depot. There are options for all ages (including younger children) and skill levels on a variety of topics.
  2. Go to a planetarium show – here’s a directory of planetariums all over the world!
  3. Go for a hike – AllTrails will help you find the perfect trails near you.
  4. Hunt for treasure in your own neighborhood! Geocaching shows you where to look.
  5. VolunteerMatch lists a huge variety of ways you can help out in your area. There are countless organizations that need assistance of all kinds!
  6. Learn a new skill or teach others what you know via SkillShare or learn how to set up a local skill share in your area.
  7. Get to know your neighbors. Make a friend and make your community safer, too.
  8. Find a new book to read.
  9. Send a postcard to a random person on the other side of the world.
  10. Exchange original artwork and crafts on SwapBot.
  11. Exercise! You don’t even need equipment.
  12. Flex your writing muscles and journal – here are 180 prompts to get you started!
  13. See what weird tourist traps can be found in your area and make a roadtrip to visit one. I’ve used this site for years to find offbeat and fun places to visit!
  14. Speaking of weird…has there been anything in the sky where you live lately? Lay a blanket out in the yard, grab the telescope or binoculars, and take a look!
  15. Visit the zoo! No matter how young or old you are, seeing cute and creepy animals makes for a great day.
  16. Pick your own fruits and veggies at a local farm.
  17. Dip dying clothes and decor items is really popular right now – order a kit, grab some friends, and spend a few hours out in the yard refreshing your old stuff or thrift store finds. Dharma Trading is a company I’ve used before for dyes and kits and they’re awesome!
  18. Take your kid(s) bowling for free every day over the summer.
  19. Lakeshore Learning stores offer free craft activities for kids on Saturdays – find a store near you.
  20. Go to the library! Obviously books are the best feature of a library, but our local library system offers a huge variety of activities for all ages – from makers spaces with 3d printers to classes on beekeeping, meditation, and more. Most are free or very inexpensive.
  21. Check out Find A Grave – visit the graves of notable people, leave flowers (where permitted), or research your ancestors.
  22. Make a pin hole camera from a matchbox.
  23. Learn how to DJ (free software!).
  24. Learn magic!
  25. Make a zine.
  26. Make roses out of coffee filters and paint them with watercolors.
  27. Learn to code.
  28. Automate your home with raspberry pi (also, Instructables is one of the best sites on the internet. You’ll never be bored after discovering it!).
  29. Make a stop-motion video with Legos!
  30. Take a free class on edX – they offer classes on everything from astrophysics to starting a business to how to outfit your home with solar panels.
  31. Go camping.
  32. Find amazing free knitting and crochet patterns on Ravelry – I’ve bookmarked some really fun and nerdy patterns to get started on for the fall, such as a Nyan Cat scarf and stuffed Mario Bros characters.
  33. Set up a DIY screen and have friends over for movies outdoors.
  34. Build DIY lawn games.

Have anything to add to the list? Let me know in the comments!

Monday night trail run

I feel very lucky to live in an area so close to trails. I keep harping at SFG that we need a little solar house in the woods so we can walk out our front door and hit a trail immediately. But really, I can’t complain – this trail is about five minutes from our apartment and is one of many beautiful places for hiking and running in the general area.

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I love seeing how much stronger C has become over the spring season! I remember the first visit to this trail and he said it was so difficult, and last night he finished strong like it was nothing. While at the start of the season he was bringing up the rear during track workouts, now he’s in the middle of the pack. I’m excited to see how he does at the last team race coming up mid-month. Hopefully I’ll be able to improve enough myself that I can keep up with him, too! I know he loves running with SFG though. 🙂

 

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I was a little frustrated at having to keep my heart rate in proper training range because between the hills and the heat, it kept spiking with even a small effort. It was well worth it to be out on the trails though…the leaves, animals, even the smell of the woods makes me happy.

 

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Sometimes I wish I had “proper” photos to really show off how beautiful it is in the places we get to run (and take photos of us that aren’t blurry!), but I can’t bring myself to ruin the experience by lugging around camera gear. I’m all for going out on photo-specific hikes and taking photos of my family and other running buddies, but for a regular training run like this I just want to enjoy the family time and chance to be outdoors.

 

Long weekend crafting!

I hope everyone enjoyed the long weekend! I loved having the extra day to relax at home with everyone, get things done around the house, and have some family DIY time. We spent a good amount of time at the pool too, which surprisingly wasn’t too cold!

On Saturday evening, friends came over to help with some wedding crafting. My bouquet will be made of paper flowers, so we spent a good hour cutting out flower petals with the Martha Stewart templates. We used acrylics to paint one side of them – the outside will be left as is.

 

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I’m on another tiny food kick too, and used Sculpy to make a little burger. I love tiny, cute things and these simple sculptures are fun and relaxing to make. For the first time, I used chalk pastels to “toast” the burger buns – I can’t believe I didn’t do this sooner to add the extra detail. I’m accumulating quite a bit of tiny food on my desk now…I’m not sure what I’m going to do with them ultimately! Magnets, maybe? Start putting them on jewelry pendants?

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We also made test seed bombs out of recycled paper and butterfly flower seeds. Using silicone molds, we started with a layer of paper pulp, put a small scoop of seeds in the middle, then sealed it closed with another layer of paper pulp. We added blue food coloring to the pulp, too. This method took a long time to dry, so for our wedding favors we’ll likely go with the air dry clay method of seed bombs. Still, these came out really cute and there are so many shapes you could make with the vast selection of silicone molds out there!

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