Monday, January 12, 2015

Dear William (65 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 65 months old!

This is the month we had C H R I S T M A S!

First you got to open presents from Mommy and Daddy.  Daddy got you a new bike helmet and balaclava, which you wore on your last day of school in 2014.

Balaclava

On the Saturday before we left town, you opened the rest of your presents from us!

Books

Presents

Plane

Book

Then we loaded up the station wagon and headed east for what seemed like forever.  You and Corduroy didn’t mind.

IMG 4579

We ate dinner at a Chipotle in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Dinner

And then we slept in the pop-up camper.  It was very cold.  You and I shared a sleeping bag. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but I don’t think we’re doing that again.

Camping

 

Once we arrived in Illinois, you had lots of Christmases.

Toys!

Battle

4th gen

Family hug

Christmas morning

Christmas morning

You also did some light sewing with Grandma Nan and made Corduroy a sleeping bag of his own.

IMG 4610

 

When we got back to Colorado there was S N O W.

Dusty

 

On New Year’s Eve, we went sledding at Rocky Mountain National Park.

Sledding

Blasting snow

Snow sports

You liked sledding so much that we decided we’d take a family ski trip to Snowy Range Ski area in Wyoming.  

You were adorable in your tiny ski gear.

IMG 4647

 

You took a lesson.

Lesson

 

Then you showed us your moves on the slopes.

IMG 4675

 

Will skiing from Melissa Raguet-Schofield on Vimeo.

You finished off the month with a Gnar Runners organized kids’ trail run out on the mud and ice at Horsetooth Mountain.

FCTR kids trail run

FCTR kids trail runThis. This is why we moved here.

 

You're the best, William

Love always,

Momma

Thursday, January 8, 2015

You're Vegan What Do You Eat? Bowl of Stuff.

I feel like we generally eat pretty simply (you know: fruits, vegetables), but simplicity gets complicated when you’re traveling 1000 miles, and it’s the holidays, and you’re the only vegans.  No matter how anyone might sugar-coat it (about how being vegan is easy and the holidays are a snap), I am here to tell you that it is really hard.  It can be done though, with lots and lots of planning, lots and lots of packing questionably perishable produce, and a willingness to subsist on Clif Bars (or spoonfuls of peanut butter from the jar) if the going gets too rough.

We did pretty well on the first day of our drive, because I had packed us hummus/veggie wraps, apples, and baby carrots for lunch.  And for dinner, we found a Chipotle in Lincoln, NE that had vegan sofritas.  (It’s the one on campus. I kind of couldn’t believe our vegan luck in Nebraska!).

When we arrived in Illinois, Rob went to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and when he got back, I was faced with the task of finding my way around someone else’s kitchen and assembling these items into dinner.

The results were fantastic.

What we ate boiled down to this: a bowl of mixed greens with seasoned couscous, roasted brussels sprouts, and chickpeas. 

As soon as we got home, I tried to recreate our fantastic meal, while at the same time making it even more creative.

We now call this meal “Bowl of Stuff,” and we have eaten it probably at least once a day since we discovered it.  There are no rules with the Bowl of Stuff… you can add anything.  The red pepper that’s been in the fridge for a week and needs to be eaten soon or thrown out?  Dice it, toss it in.  The left over black beans from last night’s dinner?  Put that in the bowl.  Beyond Meat Chik’n Strips?  Yum.

Bowl of Stuff is obviously a dynamic, constantly evolving dish, but our latest favorite rendition tends to include the following items:

IMG 4678 His ’n Hers, Bowl of Stuff.  I recommend pairing it with an Odell’s seasonal ale.  Rob recommends water.

Bowl of Stuff

  • Greens (can be mixed greens, spinach, kale, mustard greens, whatever)
  • Roasted vegetable (Brussel sprouts, FTW)
  • Cous cous (I’ve been using the Near East brand boxes, but only because I haven’t been to Whole Foods or Sprouts yet to buy it in bulk)
  • Tofurky vegan kielbasa, sliced into rounds and browned in a skillet (Yes, this is a kind of weird ingredient, but it is super high in protein and very satisfying when you are trying to run a 170 mile month).
  • Spicy sriracha dressing (basically, everything I eat is just a conduit for sriracha).

One thing about this meal is that it seems like it would be fast and easy, even though I would say it’s not, particularly when it comes to cleaning up.  I mean, you’ve got a lot of pots and pans going on, what with making the couscous, roasting the brussels, and browning the Tofurky slices.  Plus, it is kind of hard to have all these things ready at the same time.  I actually like to have all the Stuff cold on top of my salad greens; Rob prefers the Stuff to be warm, but he’ll eat it however.

Here’s another shot of that Bowl:

IMG 4681

Will, of course, is difficult and he won’t eat this meal as is.  But he is getting braver, and he’ll eat the couscous and tofurky slices with a raw fruit and raw vegetable as a side.  He also says he wants to learn to clean up the kitchen so he can help me.  Love.

The beauty of this Bowl, and in general of being vegan, is that you can basically just throw a bunch of stuff together and it turns out amazing.  It is like a clearinghouse for whatever leftovers you want to get rid of in your fridge.  The possibilities are endless, but the basic pattern to the goodness appears to be:  

  • A bed of greens
  • A roasted vegetable
  • A grain 
  • A protein

Hearty, delicious.  I’m glad we accidentally stumbled upon this during our travels and that we’ve been eating it ever since.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

December 2014: I did it. Also: the year in review.

Around a year ago, I saw a lot of people posting/bragging about their annual mileage, and it got me wondering how far I actually ran in any given year.  I’d never kept track, even though I’ve been running (albeit, not to this degree) since I was 14.  So I decided to give it a try.  No pressure.  I wasn’t trying to meet a goal or anything.  But at the same time, I found myself thinking, there’s no possible way I could run less than 1200, even if I break a leg.  And beyond that, it’ll probably end up more like 1500, unless something really terrible happens.

IMG 0014 2

Of course, there actually were a lot of kind of terrible things going on at the time.  I had lost/quit my job.  We were planning on trying to sell our house and move across the country.  My sister was moving to Ireland.  And the biggest terrible thing: my dad had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and surgery was imminent.  

Running was the only thing I could count on, and then, the stress fracture/tendon injury.

 

If I’d known early on how serious it was, and more importantly, handled it better, I likely would have ended up with a shorter recovery time overall.  But as it was, I kept thinking, it will go away if I rest a couple of days and try running again.  Re-aggravate and repeat.  

Before I knew it, three months were gone.  Then four.  A con artist and two millionaires had tried to buy our house, all of them by creating the Worst Possible Scenario for us (at least one of the millionaires was actually worse than the con artist) and causing me to have two complete nervous breakdowns.  On the bright side, my dad was healing beautifully from his brain surgery.

But still, the nagging pain in my tibia lingered and lingered.

We cut our losses and drove west until we got to the mountains.

IMG 3263

I could breathe easier, for the first time in my life.  And just like that, after nearly 5 months of battling this injury, my tibia no longer hurt.

Irises

I picked up right where I left off.  This time, with KT tape.

IMG 3498

Things were going well, until I ran 200 miles in July (not the wisest recovery plan) and then pushed myself into oblivion during an 11-day research project in Nicaragua.

I was in pain and almost back to square one with the tibia.  It looked like the 50 miler I’d signed up for at the end of September was out of the question.

I ran it anyway.

Meli Stream1

I can’t explain it, but my leg felt fine for the entire run.  No regrets.

I followed that up with a 50K in Boulder just two weeks later (where I sort of came in first place in the women’s division, although there was only one other female participant, and I think she got lost).

I ended up a little worse for the wear, but managed to avoid serious injury.  The remainder of October and much of November, I finally took a much needed rest.

By Thanksgiving, I was feeling fairly strong again and realizing how tantalizingly close 1500 was.  Even though I’d battled an injury for nearly half the year, I could still make it… if I ran 172 miles in December.

It was a stupid idea from the outset, because the trial-and-error of the preceding months had shown me that 150 was about the most I could manage without my tibia falling apart.  I should have played it safe and not risked carrying this injury into 2015, but there was an overwhelming part of me that screamed aloud, But what if I could?

Meli at Grayrock

I decided to go for it.  I promised myself that at the first sign of any pain in my tibia, I would call it quits.

I piled on the miles.  Early morning, every one of them.  The first hour was almost entirely in the dark.  It was cold and lonely, but I got to see the sunrise every day.

IMG 4532

 

My calf started hurting during the first week or two, and that was the point at which I should have stopped.  I tried to stave off serious injury by using Rob’s new million dollar R8 Roll Recovery massage roller.  This actually made things worse, and I could barely walk for a few days.  I kept stretching and managed to recover even as I continued to run.

After that, everything was fine.  I ran a 44 mile week and then a 46 mile week.  I was exhausted but at the same time felt stronger and stronger.  It was like I was in a stage race, just with very short stages.  Every day, there was The Run, and then there were these subsequent, seemingly brief, foggy interludes of Not Running before I would grab at a few hours of sleep and begin the whole thing over again.  My footsteps in the darkness.  Cold.  The stars and the moon.  Christmas lights.  Reminding myself that soon the sun would rise.

I began to feel that I was held together mostly by air.  My back hurt and I couldn’t sleep.  This kind of thing happens to me during intense training for ultras, but I hadn’t expected it to hit so hard when my mileage was below 50 miles per week.

Oh right, and then, the hunger.

It turned out pretty nice to have this mileage push coincide with the holidays.  Food, everywhere.  I ate constantly and yet, was still skinny in my skinny jeans. 

Ravenous and with an aching back, it started to look like I might actually pull this off.  It would require some creativity to keep this pace throughout our epic trip back to the midwest for Christmas, but I’d managed to bank enough miles that I could afford to take a couple of days off as we drove east for what seemed like forever.

Driving Rob's car

We visited Rob’s family first—only 7 miles away from the Illinois/Indiana border.  Naturally, we ran to the state line (and a little bit beyond).

State line

 

Our next stop was my family, where I ran the “Big Hill” by my parents’ house three times (laughing throughout) and then went to the Rock Island Trail, where I ran the fastest 10 miles I’ve run since… well, we moved to Colorado .

 

The final obstacle I faced in this endeavor was when I made an improper sock decision (possibly during our Indiana run) that left me with a gigantic blister on my toe, which then became a gigantic and painful flesh wound.  I could barely put a shoe on, much less run.  I wondered if this whole thing would fall apart because of a blister, but I ended up taking just one day off and then powering through.  

By the time we left Illinois for our epic 14-hour drive home, I was only 10 miles short of my 172 mile goal, and there were still 4 more days in December.  

There was already something like 8 inches of snow on the ground at home in Colorado (I almost got stuck at an unplowed 4-way stop in our neighborhood, and we had to shovel our driveway before we could even pull in), and the weather was supposed to get worse in the next few days.  I finished out the year during a snowstorm on December 29th.  It was 14 degrees and windy.  It should have felt ugly, but instead it just felt beautiful.

 

I did it.

Screen Shot 2015 01 05 at 10 42 18 PM

 

The sense of accomplishment and disbelief felt kind of like that time I got an NSF grant to do my dissertation research. Kind of, but not really.

I made a really hideous gif of the super non-technical way I counted down the mileage:

G11mb

 

And now, 2015. I'm beginning it with a bit of a rest. In part because I do feel sort of beaten down (i.e., exhausted) from December's push, and also in part because we have had so much snow, ice, and below zero temperatures that logging lots of miles was not super feasible.  I haven't set any real goals for this year, but I'd like to see if I could run more than 1500. Which I should be able to do, unless something really terrible happens.

So I guess I’ll keep recording my miles and see where 2015 takes me.  Hopefully some more trails, a lot more hills, and at least one 50-miler.  Maybe something even farther than that?  Just no more injuries or real estate crises.  Plenty of sunrises and blue skies.

Grateful for a life that lets me do this.  Thanks for reading.

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Friday, December 12, 2014

Dear William (64 months)

Dear William,

Today you are 64 months old!

Probably the biggest thing we did this month was Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving dinner

IMG 4459

 

You were already in the Christmas spirit, so we went and got a tree, Fort Collins style.

IMG 4494

 

You helped me decorate it.  I think it turned out really well.  It might just be our best tree ever.

IMG 4488

We put some decorations around the rest of the house too.

Randy lay there like a slug

 

You watched some Christmas movies with your dad.

IMG 4461

Then fell asleep.

IMG 4495

 

Santa Claus came to town.  We watched him ride in, on a bike.

IMG 4411

 

You were kind of like,”Meh."

IMG 4412

 

You ate a tiny apple.  And despite the horrible look on your face, you said it was really yummy.

IMG 4408

 

You wished some family members happy birthday.  (Okay, Uncle Andy’s birthday was last month, but I didn’t get the picture in time).

Andy's birthday

Happy Birthday Grandpa

 

You continued to go bouldering.

Stuck between a rock and a hard place Insert requisite comment about “rock and hard place” here.


Climbing

 

You helped me bake Star Wars themed vegan gingersnaps.  You learned that Darth Vader could not eat with his mask on.

IMG 4510

 

You are *very* excited about Christmas, which will be here before you know it.

Can’t wait :)

Love,

Mama