*Eaten alive by laundry*

Earlier in the week I had hoped that by today I’d already have at least a partial recap up of my experience running Hood to Coast last weekend with Nuun Hydration.

Reality just smacked me in the face!

I jumped into this week full-speed and have barely stopped! Being gone for four days last week and then diving into this week… well, there will be a lot of catching up this weekend! I’ve got family coming for a few days too so if I’m absent here, know that it is for good cause. ; )

Cross country officially started on Monday and so far, so good! It is going to take me a week or two to adjust to my new schedule but the kids that have come out to practice are great. I think we are going to have a fantastic season and a lot of fun.

What I didn’t take into consideration is how much more laundry I’d be doing. Holy moly! My running wardrobe isn’t very big to begin with but when you add in two running gear changes each day… I feel like I’m being eaten alive by laundry!!

Alright. Off for now. Time to get my run done. And start another load of laundry! I leave you with a little teaser of my HTC experience. Have a great day!

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Happy to cross the finish line and see my teammates cheering me in!

*Weekly mileage*

Mileage for the week of August 18th – 24th

Total weekly mileage: 29.75

Total August mileage (to-date): 144.75

Total year-to-date mileage: 1,437.25

Run review:

8/18      No run/rest day

8/19      30:40 min./3.5 mi./8:46 pace

8/20      42:41 min./5.25 mi./8:08 pace

8/21      32:16 min./3.65 mi./8:51 pace

8/22       47:59 min./6.25 mi./7:41 pace (HTC leg #1)

8/23       29:10 min./*3.86 mi./7:33 pace (HTC leg #2)

40:12 min./5.16 mi./7:48 pace (HTC leg #3)

8/24       No run/rest day

*HTC leg #2 was 4.86 miles but my Garmin didn’t sync until about a half mile in so I waited to start it until I saw the one mile marker.

What a week(end). I cannot wait to share my Hood to Coast experience with you. The words have not yet surfaced to describe how incredible it was and I find myself still pinching myself. Did that really just happen? Watch for my recap of the trip to Seattle to Nuun Hydration headquarters, the meeting of my teammates, and the Hood to Coast adventure itself, in coming days.

It is full-speed ahead this week. Cross country started today and I dove right in! More on that to come too.

Have a great week!

*Weekly mileage*

Mileage for the week of August 11th – 17th

Total weekly mileage: 52.5

Total August mileage (to-date): 116

Total year-to-date mileage: 1,407.5

Run review:

8/11      26:01 min./3.25 mi./8:00 pace

8/12      41:40 min./5.25 mi./7:56 pace

8/13      43:26 min./5.25 mi./8:16 pace

8/14      29:56 min./3.5 mi./8:33 pace

8/15       1:22:55 min./10 mi./8:18 pace

8/16       50:33 min./5.25 mi./9:38 pace

8/17      1:09:13 min./7.5 mi./9:13 pace

1:54:48 min./12.5 mi./8:57 pace (Watch reset after we stopped at 7.5 so one in our group could turn back.)

A solid week if I do say so myself! Yesterday I got suckered into running 20 miles on a hilly, gravel (somewhat uneven) trail. (And by suckered I mean totally willing!) While it was beautiful, a nice change of pace, and fun to run with some new peeps, I had to really dig deep the last 6 miles! I had 19 miles scheduled anyway so what’s an extra mile, right? Slow going, but glad to have 20-mile long run in for this training cycle.

I realized, seeing my year-to-date mileage, that I’m just over 600 miles away from my goal this year. I’m pretty sure I’ll even exceed my 2,014 miles in 2014 goal at least by a little bit if I keep it up!

*The final HTC prep begins!*

I’m bracing myself for what is most likely going to be a whirlwind of a week!

I hate to think that in one week from right now, it will all be over and I’ll be back home. Boo. (Note to self: don’t think about that and stay in the present moment. Geesh!)

In three days I will be heading to Seattle to Nuun Headquarters to meet my fellow teammates. They have some fun stuff in store for us and I can’ t wait to meet my team! There are actually two teams running Hood to Coast for Nuun: team Wild Berry and team Lemon Lime. I’m on team Lemon Lime! ; )

There is plenty to keep me busy over the course of the next few days… outfit planning, laundry, gathering gear, packing, preparing snacks for the trip up and throughout the relay, squeezing in a few more training runs, getting a little extra rest, hydrating (and more hydrating!), organizing some scheduling stuff for the rest of my family in my absence (but who am I kidding because MOM WILL BE GONE!), and trying to keep my cool because I’m so, so excited! Oh, perhaps I should get a train ticket too…

You’ll probably notice that my postings here will be limited this week but you can follow my journey on my Twitter and Instagram accounts while I’m away.

Okay, I guess I should go be productive… maybe get a head start on that laundry. ; ) Have a great Sunday evening!!

*Fuel Friday ~ Chocolate zucchini muffins*

If you aren’t up to your eyeballs in zucchini, I’ll assume you live A) in Antarctica, B) under a rock, or C) in some other desolate region of the world where either it doesn’t grow or you live more than 200 miles from any other form of human civilization.

Joking.

But if you aren’t growing it yourself, I’d confidently bet that you have at least been given, or offered, some zucchini from a friend, neighbor, or over zealous new gardener that had no idea how much zucchini a single plant will produce in a season.

I love zucchini and it kills me in the winter and spring months when I have to buy it from the store because this time of year I eat it nearly every day. It is such a versatile fruit. Yep, if you didn’t know that, zucchini is technically a fruit but I still consider it a vegetable as do most in the culinary world.

There are so many fantastic ways to prepare it, and perhaps I’ll share a few of my favorites in the coming weeks, but as I discovered a few years ago, zucchini and chocolate pair together wonderfully!

First, let me give you a couple of tips on selecting, and preparing a zucchini to use, specifically for baking purposes. Smaller zucchini, like the size you find in the store, are better suited for eating raw (zoodles!) or in stir-fry’s and such. Home-grown zucchini often is left to grow a little larger than ideal so you’ll often get really large ones and they are great for baking with.

When they are larger, the skin tends to be a little tougher and they will be seedy. The skin is edible, and I did leave some on when I grated it, but I tried to use more of the fleshy insides. I don’t own a food processor so I grated it by hand. I cut off the ends and then cut it in half both lengthwise and across. I then scooped out the seedy part with a spoon. This recipe calls for roughly two cups of grated zucchini which was 3/4 of the one I had on hand. It will vary depending on the size you use.

CHOCOLATE, CHOCOLATE-CHIP ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

Ingredients:

2 cups zucchini, grated

1 cup flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free All Purpose Flour)

1 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal/flour

1/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder

1 tbsp. baking powder

1/2 tbsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

3 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup agave

1/2 cup milk (I use almond milk)

2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use dark chocolate chips)

Directions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and coat a muffin tin with cooking spray. Prepare the zucchini following my tips above and set it aside.

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The grated zucchini will be added last.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips, and mix together. In a separate bowl, gently whisk the eggs together and then add the remaining “wet ingredients.

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Dry ingredients: flours, oats, cacao powder, etc.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and thoroughly mix together until well combined. Fold in the zucchini and chocolate chips last. Transfer the batter to the muffin tin, filling each space nearly full.

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Ready for the oven.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a toothpick into the center of one of the muffins. If it comes out clean, they have finished baking and can be removed to cool. If not, let them cook for another couple of minutes, keeping a close eye on them.  Let them rest for about 5 minutes and then transfer them to finish cooling on a rack. This recipe will produce a dozen muffins.

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The final product.

These muffins are slightly dense and while they are fairly moist right from the oven, they may dry out a little. I would suggest warming them up before serving. As a straight-up muffin, I added a little drizzle of coconut oil to mine before eating it. (Butter or nut butter would be an option too.) But then I did this:

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Oh yes.

Remember my Guilt-free Chocolate Sauce recipe a while back? You’re welcome!

*Relay survival guide*

One week from today my Hood to Coast adventure will begin! I feel particularly lucky that the Mother of all Relays is right in my backyard. Almost literally. Runners will be passing near my home by less than two blocks away! However, my journey will first take me to Seattle to meet the rest of my Nuun teammates! (And you can meet them HERE too!)

I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve been able to run HTC several times over the years. Most often, I’ve filled in last-minute for someone who had to drop out due to an injury or conflict. And with what seems to be an explosion in popularity of relay type races, I’ve had the privilege of running two Ragnar relays too. You can check out what I wrote about these events by following these links: Ragnar Las Vegas part 1 and part 2, and Raganr Trail Zion.

I would nowhere near consider myself an expert on running relays but I’ve learned a few useful things over the years. This is just the tip of the iceberg though because truly, one must experience it themselves to understand how crazy and fun running a relay is. There will be moments when you question your sanity and moments that you feel elated. Hopefully my Relay Survival Guide will help get you off on the right foot!

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Relay Survival Guide

*Seventeen*

For as long as I can remember, my dad has said that the older you get, the quicker time seems to fly by. As I get older, I’m starting to understand what he means.

Seventeen years ago today, my life was forever changed when my daughter made her entry into the world. I can’t believe how quickly time has passed. It truly seems like just yesterday that she was this sweet, joyful one-year-old, with the brightest blue eyes you can imagine.

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I’ve loved this sweet face for 17 years.

She still has those amazing eyes and has continued to bring us so much joy over the years. I’m so grateful to have been blessed with her as my daughter and my friend. Happy Birthday, Pie!

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