Competing while curvy: My first 5k race

Ready to start my first 5k with 2,000 other people.

Ready to start my first 5k with 2,000 other people.

I finished my first 5k race! Notice how I said finished, not ran. I did intervals the entire race, which is a fancy way of saying I walked and jogged. It just sounds better, like I did it on purpose or something.

I started training for the race about two months prior and was progressing nicely until I developed Achilles tendinitis from running with the wrong shoes and increasing my mileage too quickly. I ended up having to completely stop jogging and even slow down my walking speed to get my heel in better shape. I also caught an upper respiratory infection so I was nowhere near 100%. In fact, I wasn’t even sure I was going to go. My husband had already picked up the race packet and I paid for it, so I thought I may as well go and see what happens. Worst case scenario, I’d have to walk the whole race and that would have been fine. Surprisingly, my heel didn’t hurt at all during the 5k, but my lungs were very painful and really slowed me down. I jogged until my lungs hurt, then walked until they didn’t, and then kept doing the intervals until I made it to the finish.

There was entertainment at two different locations along the race, a really great drummer (both in personality and skill, he wholeheartedly cheered each person) and a friendly DJ. There were two water stations as well, and I had no idea that after drinking your water it was standard procedure to just throw the cup on the ground. There were so many cups everywhere and it just felt wrong to litter, but they have people who pick them up. One word of caution, drink carefully. At the second station, I tossed it back too quickly and ended up choking on my water. Not good.

After surviving my brush with drowning while jogging, I did manage to make it to the finish line. As I jogged towards the huge banner, I could hear people cheering, clapping, and yelling—one voice stood out deep and clear as he said, “Finish strong!” I’ll never know who said it or who it was directed to, but it felt like it was for me and every other person that had reached the end of the race. We ran under the celebratory banner, were given a medal, and then had a picture taken for posterity. It was great!

For the majority of people, the point of racing is to finish with a new personal best. Since it was my first race, I just wanted to finish. I wanted to finish something I never thought I’d be able to do, not just from a physical perspective but a personal one as well. Finishing a 5k was a great experience and no one will can take it away. I will always be someone who competed in a 5k race and you know what? I’m going to do it again. In fact, I’ve already registered for several more 5k races and even a 10k in 6 months that will be the goal race I’m working towards. Be sure to keep an eye out for my follow up posts where I’ll talk about the things I learned from my first race and for training tips too. Have you competed in any races? Do you want to?

I’m a hooker!

I’ve started hooking, but I’m not that good yet so I’ve yet to get paid. I hope with practice, I’ll get the strength up in my hands and be able to do it all night instead of an hour here and there. Hopefully, I’ll get good enough for people to pay me just to learn how I hook.

Yes, I’m talking about my new hobby. I can do it anywhere and everywhere… no, not that! It’s crochet, of course.

I saw a book on how to make Amigurumi, which is the Japanese art of making cute little crochet figures, and could not resist the pull of extreme adorableness. Just look at it!

Keroppi Amigurumi

Keroppi Amigurumi by Kham Tran, via Flickr, CC by 2.0.

My fingers twitched in anticipation of completing my own teeny, tiny little creation. I purchased the book and after some trial and error, was actually able to make a fuzzy blue hamster. Why blue, you ask? I had some yarn left over from my knitting board projects (fuzzy blue, chunky yellow, and smooth purple) and the blue seemed the most hamstery (that’s a word, right?). I chose the hamster because it seemed to be one of the more simple projects since it was essentially an egg shape with tiny ears and an embroidered face. Unfortunately, I kept loosing my stitch count and my hamster ended up looking like a weird cat toy.

This is where the picture of my masterpiece “nailed it” result would be if I can ever find it (it’s currently lost in a box with a gazillion toys). For now, just imagine an peeled, boiled egg so moldy that the fuzz looks like an urban city landscape. Spray paint that moldy egg blue and you have my first amigurumi creation.

Do I have a future as an amigurumi extraordinaire? No, not likely, but I did have fun learning to crochet. If you’d like to get started learning to crochet, check out Ravelry for tons of free crochet and knitting patterns. I found an amazing jewel-tone mermaid blanket pattern that I’d really like to try making. Are you a soon-to-be or experienced crocheter? What project are you working on next?

Changes, people. Changes are a’comin

What does my new-found enthusiasm in life mean for this blog? Well… I’m not sure of anything yet, except that I’d like to make some changes. I’ve made some big changes in my lifestyle, like eating healthy and exercising. I’ve even decided to start running, like for a race. Crazy, I know.

I originally started this blog because as a mom, I’m supposed to have one. That’s like a rule or something; have baby will blog. Now that I’m almost like an adult again, I think I’m going to refocus the blog from baby stuff to …well, let’s just see what develops. I do think the name Basically Mama still applies, since at my core I am a mama, but I am also more. I’d like to work on developing other facets of my identity, like being a runner or starting my own business, and hopefully developing this blog will lead me along the way.

So now for your viewing pleasure, here’s a pineapple!

Image via Unsplash By Pineapple

This thing called life…

Image by Moriartys, CC-BY-2.0

Image via Flickr user Moriartys, CC-BY-2.0

I’m back, and I’m bigger and better than ever! Well, better I think and smaller for sure, but more on that later. I let life take over and my poor little blog-let fell to the wayside, but now I’m back and finally starting to sleep again which means my brain is starting to work too! (But still not so much with the complex math.)

Squeaker is now 4 1/2 years old (going on 15) and she has been joined by Monkey, who is almost 2 1/2 years old and pure toddler attitude. While definitely different in personalities, there was one strong similarity…neither knew the meaning of the word sleep. Squeaker started sleeping through the night, for 12+ hours like a rock star, at just past 2 years old; conveniently, in time for Monkey’s arrival. Monkey is still waiting on her 2 year molars, so until they come in I’ll still have very scattered and sporadic sleep but it is the most sleep that I’ve had in more than 4 years. Thus the slightly more functioning brain and better energy level. I’ve made it through the baby daze days and though I will miss them dearly, I am still happy to find me again.

Why my husband’s the best: Reason 1

There are many, many reasons why my husband is the best. Since my time is limited by baby’s moods and activities, I’ll just focus on one reason.

He takes out the trash. I know it seems so trivial, but the fact that he does it twice a week and the recyclables every other week without me even asking is great!

I used to remind him the night before and sometimes the morning of and he’d do it, but if I didn’t remind him I would have to throw some clothes on fast, grab baby and drag it out myself before they came by (which was frequently early and many times missed).

He’s been doing it now for a long time and I definitely noticed. I keep forgetting to tell him thank you or that I appreciate it, so that’s why I’m writing this post.

Thank you Gator for taking out the trash. It makes my day less stressful and I appreciate it.

Oh, and this and any future reasons are not in order of importance, just the order that I remember to actually mention them… Just thought I’d add that so you didn’t think the only and most important reason I {heart} my husband is because of his awesome trash skillz.

Why do you? How come? What’s up with that?

So I thought it might be helpful to start a frequently asked questions post that I can update when as questions are asked.

Why are your sisters numbers?

Well, I’m proud sad to say that I am was a Trekkie. I watched every single one from the Original, to Voyager, Next Gen, Deep Space 9, and still have the original box set VHS all the movies. On Voyager, there was a Borg whose name/designation was Seven of Nine. As a kid, I used to joke with my sisters that I was One of Four since I was the oldest of 4 girls. I guess that stuck with me more than I thought since it is a really easy way to refer to my sisters in my posts.

What’s with the weird bad words?

When I was in college, I watched way too much South Park and picked up a bad cursing habit. As I got older, I decided to clean it up a bit and was quite successful with it until I got pregnant. I don’t know what it is about the hormones, but I’ve never cursed so much in my life. I’m talking F-bombs left and right. Now that baby is here and listening, I’m trying to clean it up again. So far I’ve got bish down …

The Wiggles are hot! Except for the weird one …

Jeff Fatt of The Wiggles Live @ the MCI Center...

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve been sleep deprived for 9 months. Well, actually more since the entire last half of my pregnancy I was waking up every hour or two. Normally it’s not too bad, except that now we lost PBS!

We don’t have cable to save money and honestly, with our antenna we get the main networks and with Hulu, pretty much everything else. Although I do wish I could get Bravo or embarrassingly enough, that Toddlers in Tiaras show.

Normally, Squeaker doesn’t watch tv except when I’m making our breakfast or lunch.  It’s impossible to cut things and hold a baby at the same time and I’m always paranoid about hot liquids jumping on her so into her bouncy she goes. That’s when I put on good ol’ PBS. Until it was gone … *sniff, sniff*

Now all I have that is baby appropriate is a dvd of the Wiggles. The first time I watched it, I thought ok, weird but not bad. The second and third times, I started to enjoy singing the silly songs. Now after like ten times I’m so.over.it. Then the 9 month growth spurt hit and I turned into a mombie (mom-zombie) which means I completely lost my mind. That has to be it, otherwise… *shudder*

I woke up with the wiggles’ songs in my head, fell asleep with the wiggles’ songs in my head, and *gasp* started dreaming about the wiggles.

I can barely even say this, but the wiggles started to even look attractive to me! Except for the weird one. You know who he is!

So now when the Gator puts the moves on me and reaches for the remote to turn off the Wiggles, I gently put my hand over his and whisper, “leave it on…

Shrimp Empanadas

What’s for dinner: Easy shrimp empanadas

My sister, 3 of 4, came up with this shortcut recipe for easy shrimp empanadas and it’s one of my favorites. All you need is some puff pastry sheets, rice, cheese, and shrimp. The longest part of this is waiting for the pastry sheets to thaw (40 minutes).

Puff Pastry Sheets

I got some precooked frozen salad shrimp because of they’re bite-size and quick to warm up. Since it only takes a little bit of shrimp, the rest can be used for something else. I also used wild rice with quinoa, but these empanadas are really good with yellow or basmati rice too.

Cheese, Rice, Shrimp

I warmed the shrimp in a pan with butter and garlic to give them a little flavor. This is more shrimp than you actually need, but I was hungry and wanted to snack on it while I made the empanadas.

Shrimp

I put the rice and cheese on a plate next to the pan of shrimp for easy assembly.

Rice and Cheese

You cut each puff pastry sheet into 4 equal parts, so you would have a total of 8 squares. Then you just stretch the pastry square a little and add your shrimp, rice, and cheese.

Puff Pastry with Shrimp, Rice, and Cheese

Fold the pastry square over into a triangle or rectangle (or whatever shape you like). They don’t have to be perfect, they’ll bake up great.

Shrimp Empanadas

I put mine in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Shrimp EmpanadasThese are big enough that 2 are a good meal for an adult. You can make these smaller to so they could be more like an appetizer. Hope you enjoy them!

Weekly photo challenge: Sunset

When I saw the photo challenge for this week, I smiled. Sunsets, who doesn’t love them?

Below are two different views on the same sunset off a lake in Florida. We took these pictures after a fun, family get together and at the end of the day decided to walk around the lake, which had a great boardwalk.

I can still feel the warm breeze on my face as my hair whipped about haphazardly. Relaxing together, watching as the sun dipped slowly below the horizon.

Sunsets make me smile.

What makes you smile?

If you’d like to see other sunsets submitted to the Weekly Photo Challenge, check here.

Weekly photo challenge: Fall

Since it’s still a little early for the beautiful color change of fall, I thought about the type of fall I experience more than once a year. You might be familiar with it, it’s when I fall on my oh, so ample rear.

I've Fallen and I Can't Get Up

Cue dramatic music, dun, dun, DUN …

I always thought I had bad balance, but it turns out I’ve actually got better than average balance and especially with my eyes closed. Go figure.

If there’s a way to fall, I’ve done it. I’ve fallen up stairs, down stairs, off ladders, in water, on ice, from my toe or shoe getting stuck in my pants leg (that one is much too frequent), over fences, in leaves, off tires, down rocks, in mud, in pee … Yes, pee!

So you can see why I thought I had bad balance, but then I signed up for a new gym membership and it included 3 free sessions with a personal trainer. She evaluated my balance and surprise, surprise, it was very good. I even stayed up longer on one foot, while shaking my head with my eyes closed. Ha, so that means I’m just a klutz.

Just in case you were disappointed that you didn’t get any autumn goodness, here’s some pictures from Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2008.

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween PartyMickey's Not So Scary Halloween PartyMickey's Not So Scary Halloween PartyMickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

If you haven’t gone to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I highly recommend it. Everyone gets to dress up (we went as pirates) and there’s trick-or-treating, games, a special parade and fireworks, and the rides, of course. In fact the whole park and characters are “tricked” out in Halloween fun, special outfits, spooky lights, the whole shebang. You are never to old to trick-or-treat at Disney!

If you’d like to see more fall photos submitted to the weekly photo challenge, look here.