The Really Unfortunate Way that Led Me to Discover Why I Run

People like to pose the question: Why do you run?

I never know how to answer. Sure, I started running as a way to get healthy and lose weight – two things I’ve been successful at. But why did I keep running? If I met my goal, why didn’t I stop?

I usually avoid that “Why do you run?” question because anything I answer would feel like a lie. In fact, the only things that ever come to mind are: to help keep me sane and to de-stress. But how could that be when I often feel like I am losing it trying to fit my training runs into already overloaded days?

Tuesday night, while bending to pick up an upside down magazine from beside my bed, I realized why I run. I recognize that’s not a very sexy way to have an “aha” moment, but that’s when it happened – after putting my son in the bath and before folding laundry.

Earlier in the day, I read an email from my mom. She’s not well. She lives two states away. I feel helpless.

I went about the routine chores of the evening while my brain subconsciously dissected the information from her note. It surfaced precisely as I was picking up the magazine and suddenly I needed to go for a run. Right. Now.

And that’s when I knew.

A family friend teased me once after I questioned aloud when I would run that day. He pretended to push a needle into his forearm. The mime stung, and I held back tears. But now I know he was right on.

I run to get away from real-life. I run to a place where all I have to do is focus on some numbers and the rhythm of rubber soles on asphalt. I forget about dishes and laundry and aging parents. Running lets me escape reality.

And anything that does that is a powerful drug.

Why do you run? Do you really know?

 

Note: The night after I wrote this my father-in-law also had a health scare and is currently in the hospital. We don’t know what is going on as he is in Alaska. Prayers for my mom and my father-in-law, please. Also, who wants to sign up for a full marathon with me?

My Favorite Fitness Tools Right Now

Me, Chelsea (the bride!) and Zoe all cleaned up (for once) at Chelsea’s shower.

1. Jillian Michaels’s Ripped in 30. To me, this video feels like it works the arms more and I struggle with getting my arms toned. The picture, from Chelsea’s bridal shower over the weekend, shows that while they are a far cry from Jillian’s buff arms, they are getting there!

2. Bob Harper’s The Skinny Rules. I have 10 pounds (or more) to drop to get to my goal weight, and I am wishing hoping praying thinking this will be my answer. My husband is losing weight quickly. I lost two pounds last week. This week has been interesting on the scale, but I am waiting till my weigh-in day on Thursday to see what the final number will be. Review coming.

3. Jillian Michaels’s 6 Week 6 Pack DVD. Last week, I was wearing a clingy shirt and my husband told me he wondered if I had a corset on. Enough said, right?

4. Zune Marketplace. An account with Zune Marketplace lets you essentially “rent” music so you don’t have to buy everything. If you’re like me, this is perfect because my the running songs on my playlist change as fast as the summer weather in Seattle.

5. Twitter. Twitter saved me during my treadmill 7-miler on Friday. The TV wasn’t working (it runs through a computer and my Geek was at work). So I set up his SurfShelf (another great product!) for my laptop and just watched my Twitter feed the entire time. It was a rough run. I don’t know what I would’ve done without it. The best part was seeing that Desiree Davila (who I have a running crush on) was running on her AlterG at the same time and struggling because Toddlers and Tiaras was on and the remote was juuuuuuust out of reach. Torture!

Guess for a Chance to Win Swag from the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series

ZOOMA, the women’s race series, is growing — they will be adding a new race location to be announced at the end of the week (July 26)! Watch this awesome video, then head to their blog to guess the next race location for a chance to win some sweet swag!

Go to the ZOOMA Women’s Race Series blog for a chance to win! Where will ZOOMA go next? Guess! (Then find out on Thursday.)

A Random Question & Dole Bananas Party Pack Winners

I’m curious? How many bananas do you go through every week? We just bought three bunches and figure it’ll be good for about a week in our house. Is that excessive? I just want to know if we’re normal.

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my Dole Bananas Party Pack Giveaway. The three winners, chosen by Random.org, are:

#3: Kates at Life on the Pavement

#24: Salmon Runner at Run Like a Salmon

#36: Julie S. Law, who is one of my lovely Facebook friends

Thank you all so much! Winner: Please e-mail me at kerrie (at) sanitydepartment (dot) com with your name and address so I can ship you your prize! Please get back to me by 7/26/12. Congrats!

Got Bananas? Use Them Up with These Surprising Recipes from Dole

Banana Curried Chicken

Probably the biggest hit at the Dole Banana Blogger Party on a recent Sunday afternoon, was the Banana Curried Chicken. Here is the recipe for it, the recipes for the other food I made, and a few extra recipes from Dole. I’ll share my thoughts on the recipes that I made before each one.

BANANA CURRIED CHICKEN
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

I am not a big curry fan, but the curry in this was very mild. In fact, all the flavors sort of melted together creating one delicious flavor. I made it the night before and it kept well for the afternoon gathering. The bananas in it began to brown in the fridge two days after that, but I suspect you won’t have any leftovers of this one.

Prep: 20 min.
Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or margarine
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 tablespoons mango chutney
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
2 large DOLE® Bananas, chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sliced DOLE Celery
1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted
Assorted crackers

Directions:

1. Melt butter in small saucepan; stir in curry and cook until lightly fragrant. Remove from heat, stir in chutney and lime juice; set aside.

2. Stir together, chicken, bananas, cherries, celery and coconut in large bowl. Spoon dressing over chicken mixture; toss to evenly coat. Refrigerate until serving.

3. Serve chicken mixture with assorted crackers.

Per Serving: 270 calories, 7 g fat (4.5g sat.), 30mg cholesterol, 750mg sodium, 41 g carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 21g sugars), 12g protein

Banana Oat Bars

 

BANANA OAT BARS
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

My version of these did not come out quite as neat and tidy as in the picture above. They crumbled easy, but it didn’t take away any of its yumminess. I really liked these “energy bars” and they kept well in the fridge for days.

Prep: 15 min.
Bake: 20 min.
Makes: 16 servings

Ingredients:

2-2/3 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup finely chopped dried mixed fruit
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sesame seed, toasted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
2 ripe DOLE® Bananas, mashed
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup honey

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.

2. Combine oats, dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, sugar, sesame seed, cinnamon and cardamom in large bowl. Stir in bananas until well mixed.

3. Melt butter in small saucepan; stir in honey. Pour hot butter mixture over oat mixture; stir to coat well. Spoon mixture into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray; press evenly.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool; refrigerate until firm. Store in refrigerator.

Per Serving: 160 calories, 6 g fat (2g sat.), 5mg cholesterol, 25mg sodium, 25g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 12g sugars), 3g protein

Banana Protein Cakes

BANANA PROTEIN CAKES
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

I left the cashews out of this recipe for nut allergy reasons and it was still good. This was my favorite recipe. I cut the cakes into smaller squares (about 30) — they are quite dense and half of the recommended serving is plenty! So yummy with coffee in the morning. Here’s what mine looked like:

My Banana Protein Cakes

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 30 min.
Makes: 15 servings

Ingredients:

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup protein powder
1/4 cup whole ground flaxseed meal
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup applesauce
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 ripe DOLE® Bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup cashews, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup dried cherries or cherry-flavored cranberries

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mix together flour, sugar, protein powder, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Stir together eggs, applesauce, oil, bananas and vanilla in medium bowl. Stir applesauce mixture into dry ingredients, until just blended. Stir in cashews and cherries, until blended. Pour into 13×9-inch pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.

3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool. Cut into 15 (4×1-1/2-inch) bars.

Per Serving: 250 calories, 9g fat (1.5g sat.), 35mg cholesterol, 170mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 17g sugars), 8g protein

Banana Tea Sandwiches

BANANA TEA SANDWICHES
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

These were another of my favorites. I’ve never used watercress before and had no idea it was spicy! Then you mix it with horseradish sauce. I admit, I was a little worried these would be a little too HOT for me and my guests, but the cucumber and the banana cool the spiciness and just leave a tangy flavor in your mouth. I used whole-grain bread (Dave’s Killer Bread) instead of white.

Prep: 20 min.
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1 to 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish
1 cup chopped fresh watercress
1-1/2 cups seedless cucumber, finely diced
8 slices soft white bread
2 DOLE® Bananas, sliced
1/3 cup pomegranate seeds (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions:

1. Mix together cream cheese and horseradish, until blended in medium bowl. Stir in watercress and cucumber, until mixed well.

2. Spread cream cheese mixture on 4 bread slices. Top with a layer of banana slices. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and walnuts. Top with remaining bread slices. Cut into triangles or use cookie cutter to make decorative sandwiches.

3. Can be served open face or served as a sandwich. Use cookie cutters to make decorative small sandwiches.

Per Serving: 460 calories, 19g fat (5g sat.), 25mg cholesterol, 490mg sodium, 62g carbohydrate (8g dietary fiber, 20g sugars), 13g protein

Classic Banana Bread

CLASSIC BANANA BREAD
Created by Dole

Like it says in the title, this is a classic recipe. Mine came out perfectly — moist and dense!

Prep: 20 min.
Makes: 12 servings

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
2 medium, ripe DOLE® Bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chopped almonds

1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in medium bowl; set aside.

2. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and fluffy. Blend in eggs. Blend in bananas, sour cream and vanilla until blended. Add in flour mixture; beat until just blended. Stir in nuts.

3. Pour into 9 x 5-inch baking pan sprayed with vegetable cooking spray.

4. Bake at 350°F, 55 to 65 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes.

No nutrition information available.

More Recipes:

The following recipes I did not make, but sound delish! Let me know how they turn out if you make them:

Banana Club Sandwich

BANANA CLUB SANDWICH
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

Prep: 15 min.
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1 large, ripe DOLE® Banana
1 ripe avocado
1 to 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
8 slices ciabatta or other crusty bread, toasted
8 slices bacon, cooked
1/2 small DOLE Red Onion, sliced
6 to 8 ounces sliced cooked turkey breast

Directions:

1. Mash together banana and avocado in medium bowl. Stir in lime juice and cilantro.

2. Spread 4 bread slices with avocado mixture. Top each with 2 slices bacon broken in half, onion and turkey. Top with remaining bread slices.

Per Serving: 280 calories, 15 g fat (3.5g sat.), 35 mg cholesterol, 890 mg sodium, 22 g carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 6g sugars), 17g protein

Banana Pumpkin Squares

BANANA PUMPKIN SQUARES
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 25 min.
Makes: 16 servings

Ingredients:

2 ripe DOLE® Bananas
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup protein powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup dried blueberries or blueberry-flavored cranberries
1/2 cup DOLE Shredded Carrot
4 tablespoons pumpkin seeds, toasted, divided

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Mash bananas in medium bowl. Stir in pumpkin and vanilla until blended. Beat in egg, sugar and butter, stirring well.

3. Stir together flour, protein powder and baking soda in large bowl. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture, until just moistened. Stir in pecans, blueberries, carrot and 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds.

4. Spoon into 13×9-inch baking pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Smooth top; sprinkle remaining 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds over top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean.

Per Serving: 190 calories, 9 g fat (2.5g sat.), 20mg cholesterol, 105mg sodium, 26g carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 12g sugars), 5g protein

Banana Chicken Salad Wrap

BANANA CHICKEN SALAD WRAP
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

Prep: 20 min.
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoon bottled barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 cups cooked, shredded chicken
1 large DOLE® Banana, chopped
1/2 cup diced jicama
1/2 cup dry roasted peanuts
2 DOLE Green Onions, sliced
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
DOLE Baby Spinach, as needed
4 (10-inch) burrito-size flour tortillas

Directions:

1. Stir together mayonnaise, yogurt, barbecue sauce, vinegar and brown sugar in large bowl. Stir in chicken, banana, jicama, peanuts, green onions and cilantro until well mixed.

2. Place desired amount spinach on tortillas. Spoon chicken mixture over spinach. Tuck in ends of tortillas then roll up tightly to enclose filling. Place seam-side down.

Per Serving: 390 calories, 18g fat (2.5g sat.), 35mg cholesterol, 640mg sodium, 38g carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 12g sugars), 20g protein

Banana Peanut Butter Scones

BANANA PEANUT BUTTER SCONES
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

Prep: 20 min.
Bake: 15 min.
Makes: 16 to 18 servings

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
5 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup DOLE® Seedless Raisins
1/3 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 cup chopped dried apple or pear
1 cup milk
2 ripe DOLE Bananas, well mashed
1 egg, beaten
Ginger Cream Cheese (recipe below) optional

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Line large baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.

3. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in food processor bowl. Pulse in butter and peanut butter until well blended. Pour peanut mixture into large bowl. Stir in raisins, walnuts and apples.

4. Whisk together milk, bananas and egg in medium bowl. Pour milk mixture into peanut mixture; stir until just moistened.

5. Spoon batter, about 1/3 cup each, onto prepared baking sheets. Bake 14 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve with Ginger Cream Cheese, if desired.

Ginger Cream Cheese: Mix together 1 pkg. (3 oz.) cream cheese, softened and 2 tablespoons crystalized ginger, minced until blended, in small bowl.

Per Serving: 250 calories, 12g fat (5g sat.), 25mg cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 14g sugars), 6g protein

Open-Face Banana Goat Cheese Sandwich

OPEN-FACE BANANA GOAT CHEESE SANDWICH
Created by Dole Fresh Fruit

Prep: 15 min.
Makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

4 ounces goat cheese, room temperature
2 large, ripe DOLE® Bananas, mashed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup red currant jelly
4 slices multi-grain wheat bread
Additional banana slices (optional)
1 teaspoon diced fresh jalapeno pepper (optional)
Cilantro (optional)

Directions:

1. Stir together goat cheese, banana and cinnamon, until well blended (mixture may be lumpy).

2. Spread 1 tablespoon jelly over each bread slice. Evenly spread cheese mixture over jelly. Arrange additional banana slices over cheese, if desired. Sprinkle with minced pepper and cilantro, if desired.

Per Serving: 290 calories, 10g fat (6g sat.), 20mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 41g carbohydrate (6g dietary fiber, 23g sugars), 11g protein

Go to Dole Bananas Recipes to find these recipes and more!

Banana Nutrition

Here are a few healthy facts about bananas:

  • Bananas have 3g of fiber!
  • Bananas are full of potassium, which helps regulate blood pressure
  • Vitamin B6, found in bananas, can help lower your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Bananas have manganese, which regulates metabolic function
  • Bananas are packed with Vitamin C!

Want to win a banana party pack?

Enter my Dole Bananas giveaway before July 20.

Do you have a favorite banana recipe? Share it in the comments below!

Dole Banana Blogger Party and Banana Party Pack Giveaway

I suppose it’s impossible to hold a party celebrating bananas without keeping a That’s What She Said tally. However, much to my surprise, there were only six. It’s possible that one or two didn’t get recorded, but I guess this shows that me and my friends are a lot more mature than I thought.

A Banana-Themed Party?

So what exactly is a banana party, you might ask (while giggling – stop it). Well, that’s what I wondered when Dole contacted me. Turns out, there are a number of cities across the United States that Dole considers Top Banana Cities, as in the population consumes more of the yellow fruit than other cities. Dole named Seattle as a Top Banana City! Seattle’s a pretty active city, so I’m guessing one reason we recognize the health benefits of bananas. (The other reason: We are drawn to the color yellow since we rarely see the sun?)

So, to promote this fantastic fruit, Dole held banana nutrition parties in their Top Banana Cities. One of those parties was at my house last Sunday! Dole gave me a generous budget for the party, and since I haven’t thrown a party in 4 or 5 years, I went all out. I decorated in a yellow/monkey/banana theme and I even made a banana-themed soundtrack (see end of post for the banana playlist). And I decided to make five of the recipes that Dole sent me, plus smoothies and dessert!

I don’t like to cook (or clean, which I had to do – yuck), so this was sort of a huge deal for me. BUT, all of the Dole recipes were easy, and as it turned out, delicious. Dole Banana Party attendees agreed, much to my delight. They were Mel from Tall Mom on the Run (@tallmomontherun), Zoe from Run, Zoe, Run (@runzoerun); Chelsea from Will Run for Food (@chelsea_c); Nicole of Ricole Runs (@ricoleruns); and Lauren from Marathon Lar (@marathonlar).

Zoe, Lauren, Chelsea, Mel, me and Nicole

It’s kind of perfect that Dole asked me to have this banana party because I’m a big believer in the banana – I generally have one every single day. And I always like to have one before a race (with a little peanut butter).

My favorite shopping moment for this party was buying up all the Dole bananas at Fred Meyer. The banana section was actually a little bare and I was slightly freaked out that I would not have a enough bananas (I needed 14 for recipes, and then I wanted to send everyone home with their own bunch.) But, as I was piling them in my cart, a produce guy appeared with a cart full of bananas!

“Oh good!” I said. “More bananas!”

He looked at me like I was weird. Probably because I already 4 or 5 bunches of them in my cart.

Bananas! Bennie is circling the table -- it's his favorite fruit!

The Dole Bananas Party

I went with the yellow theme, and put yellow balloons tied to yellow pinwheels out in front of my house. Actually, Chelsea and Mel arrived early and helped me with this. Thanks girls!

Mel looking sunny.
Chelsea looking summery!

Inside, I had these fun shiny palm trees (yes, Mr. T, I know bananas don’t grow on palm trees, but they complimented the monkeys, okay), more yellow balloons (expertly tied by Mel and Chelsea), and a monkey balloon that T Junior couldn’t be more excited about. Dole sent some sweet swag (more on that later) that I tied together with a golden-yellow tulle ribbon, and lined up on my mantel.

I even painted my nails yellow – a color I never would’ve chosen, but that I am sort of loving now.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Quick Canary.

I made a banana centerpiece on the table and surrounded it with yummy food. The Dole recipes I made were: Classic Banana Bread, Protein Pick-Me-Up Cakes, Banana Oat Bars, Banana Tea Sandwiches, and Banana Curried Chicken.

Banana Raspberry Smoothie time!

I also blended their Banana Raspberry Smoothie. Of course, I had to put out some peanut butter and banana sandwiches, too, because they’re one of my favorites. (Look for all the recipes next week!)

Yummy food and the Yonanas machine, along with some conversation starters (which we didn't need, of course).

For dessert, we had banana-chocolate “sorbet” using the Yonanas machine Dole sent for us to try out.

Using the Yonanas machine was simple once I got the hang of it!

It was easy once I got it going: insert frozen bananas and dark chocolate chips. Yummy!

Banana "sorbet" made with the Yonanas machine. Just put in the frozen banana and some chocolate pieces, and voila! Healthy "ice cream"!

The Banana Curried Chicken was a huge hit with my guests, and I was surprised that the Banana Tea Sandwiches were so good. I thought they’d be spicy with watercress (which I’d never used before) and horseradish, but the cucumber and the banana balanced it out, and the sandwiches had a tongue-pleasing tangy flavor instead. My favorite, though, was probably the Protein Pick-Me-Up Cakes. Don’t forget to check back next week for all the recipes!

Lauren and Nicole cheesin' it up at the banana party!

After eating our weight in banana food, we headed out in the heat of the day to the trail I run regularly across the street from my house. Yes, the downhill/uphill gravel trail (actually the Green to Cedar Rivers Trail). The plan had been to run before we ate, but it was in the 80s and we were all melting. I am not complaining, but none of us are used to that warm of weather, so we ditched the running idea, and walked instead for more than a mile (I’m guessing 1.5).

Bloggers in their natural state (except for Mel who caught me taking a picture). L-R: Zoe, Chelsea, Lauren and Mel.

Luckily for everyone, my house has air conditioning. Before everyone left, they checked out their swag: a great Dole water bottle, recipes, banana coupons, a bread pan, and at last, a banana-keeper, over which there was much laughing and many, many TWSS jokes.

I guess we aren’t as mature as I thought.

For more information on Dole and the banana party, click the links below:
Marathon Lar’s Recap
Dole Yonanas Machine
Dole (@Dole and @DoleNutrition)

My Banana-Themed Playlist

  • Yes, We Have No Bananas – Louis Prima
  • The Monkey’s Uncle – Annette Funicello
  • Vendedor de Bananas/Cosa Nostra/Bich Do Mato – Jorge Ben
  • Funky Monkey – Siedah Garrett (from the RIO soundtrack)
  • I’m Going Bananas – Madonna
  • Cuban Pete (In the Style of “Jim Carrey”) – Done Again (not really a banana song, but fit the sound)
  • Day-o (Banana Boat Song) – Harry Belafonte
  • Brass Monkey – Beastie Boys
  • Peanut Butter Jelly Time – Chip-Man & The Buckwheat Boyz (okay, the song doesn’t have bananas, but it’s sung by a dancing banana on the video!)
  • Hollaback Girl – Gwen Stefani
  • Go Bananas – The Banana Splits
  • Fried Bananas – Dexter Gordon (instrumental – jazz)
  • Monkey Man – Kylie Minogue
  • Bananaphone – Raffi (gotta have this one)
  • Tra La La – The Banana Splits
  • Bananas – The Fresh Beat Band
  • Monkey Eats Bananas – Princess Chelsea
  • Grow Bananas – Greensky Bluegrass
  • 30,000 Lbs. of Bananas – Harry Chapin
  • Banana Pancakes – The Hit Co.

Win Your Own Banana Party Pack!

Banana party packs from Dole!

The party pack includes 1 24-oz. Dole water bottle (that is perfect for smoothies!), a banana keeper, a banana bread pan, and Dole banana coupons. I have 3 to give away and there are five ways to enter (do all five to increase your chances)! Please leave a separate comment on this blog post for each entry:

  1. Like Mom vs. Marathon Facebook
  2. Like Dole Bananas on Facebook
  3. Follow Mom vs. Marathon on Twitter
  4. Follow Dole Nutrition on Twitter
  5. Share this giveaway via your blog, Twitter, Facebook, email, billboard, etc.

(Contest open to US residents only until 11:59 p.m. PST on 7/20/2012. Winners will be announced on 7/21/2012. Winners please respond by 7/26/2012 or a new name will be chosen.)

Rock N Roll Seattle Half Marathon Activities Report

Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon Expo, Run Like a Mother House Party and the OnlineShoes.com and Brooks Running Girls’ Night Out

Click the link for my 2012 Seattle Rock N Roll Half Marathon Race Report.

Run Like a Mother, Train Like a Mother House Party

I read Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell’s Run Like a Mother book, their first book, on the recumbent bike and the elliptical while recovering from a stress fracture over the summer of 2010. I was pretty sad about not being able to run, but reading about running helped (and reading about how Dimity trained for a marathon on the bike helped, too).

So, naturally, I read their second book Train Like a Mother. And then when I heard they were throwing a house party to promote it Thursday night before Seattle Rock and Roll, I wanted to go. Except then I heard it was in Seattle. Oh, Seattle. So close, yet so far away with traffic.

I live in the suburbs. It takes 25 minutes to get to the 405 freeway from my house. Then I have to get on another freeway – I5 – to get to the city. When the traffic is light, it only takes about 40 minutes to get to downtown Seattle. But during rush hours or lunch hours, you can double that.

So I wasn’t sure if I would be able to go to the party – especially after a full day of work. Not that my line of work (writing), is strenuous, but I have to be there early so I’m up at 5:30 at the latest on work days. I assumed I probably wouldn’t get home from Seattle until 10:30 or 11 p.m. That’s a long day.

Anyway, luckily I have awesome friends who said I could meet them and carpool at a meeting spot only about 15-20 minutes from my house. And Jill said she’d drive. I was in!

We overestimated how long it would take to get there (which you have to do with Seattle traffic), and we arrived early. Sarah and Dimity put us to work right away! I helped set up the Run Like a Mother t-shirts (I really want the one that says “I Run Things” – so awesome), and Run Like a Mother and Train Like a Mother books that would be for sale, putting out nametags, etc. Then people started arriving – people I hadn’t seen in a while, so I was chatting and chatting and being loud and laughing, etc. I didn’t know there were giveaways I needed to enter.

Being silly!

The rest of the evening the authors read some excerpts from Train Like a Mother and did giveaways. Yeah. Sad face for me when I realized I was supposed to have put my name in for stuff. Sometimes I should use the advice I give to my son: close your mouth and open your ears. He is obviously my child.

But the night was a ton of fun – I was completely exhausted from laughing so much!

Click the following links for more info:

Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon Expo

Last year, I took T Junior to the Rock and Roll expo with me prior to my first full marathon (click the link to read my race report for the 2011 Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon). BIG mistake. He whined and pulled on my leg the whole time. This year, no.

Will Run for Food‘s Chelsea invited a few of us to stay the night at her house near Seattle on Friday, and then offered to drive us to the start. So, I had to pack everything for that before leaving for the expo since there’s no way I was driving to Seattle, driving home and then driving back to Seattle for the OnlineShoes.com and Brooks Girls’ Night Out event, and then driving to Chelsea’s again (northwest of Seattle).

So I dropped T Junior off at day care on my way to the expo (Mr. T would pick him up). I cried after dropping him off. One night I would be away. And I cried. Such a mom thing to do.

Seattle traffic was, thankfully, light in the middle of the day and I got to Century Link Events Center with no issues, so I was feeling good…until I pulled into the parking garage and saw they wanted $15*. Seriously? What a rip.

Me (middle) and Jill (right) with Jill's friend showing a little Nuun love!

The expo itself was good. Rock and Roll has a good marathon expo, in my opinion. Lots of vendors, lots of different things to see. I wandered over to the Nuun Hydration booth to say “Hi” to Zoe (Run, Zoe, Run), and then got to see lots of the very nice Nuun employees I met during Hood to Coast Relay in 2011. Every time I see them, they always make me feel like part of the family. Nice people!

Tall Mom on the Run (Mel) sharing the stage with the running penguin, John Bingham at the Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon Expo 2012.

Pretty soon it was time to wander over to the stage for the blogger meet up hosted by Tall Mom on the Run Mel and John Bingham, the “running penguin” known for his Runner’s World magazine column, The Penguin Chronicles, and author of The Courage to Start book, as well as one of the greatest running quotes of all time:

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

He had a lot of writer-type jokes, which I related to so I laughed a lot, which I caught crap for later.

Lesley (Racing It Off) and Tricia (Tricia Minnick) at the blogger meet up during the expo at Seattle Rock N Roll.
Oh hey! Bloggers and Mt. Si Relay teammates Nicole (Ricole Runs) and Lindsay (Lindsay On the Go) at the Seattle Rock and Roll blogger meet up.

Aaaanyway. After that we mingled for a while and I got to chat with some cool running bloggers from in and out of Washington state. Seriously one of the biggest benefits of having this running blog has been making friends. So thankful for that. It makes running races so much fun!

Blogger Meet Up
Look at all those blogger-runners!

Then it was time to wander through the expo booths a little more. We stopped off at SofSole running socks and the Run Like a Mother booth to chat with Dimity and SBS, and I learned that I didn’t get a package of SofSole socks in my gift bag that I received at the Run Like a Mother House Party on Thursday. The SofSole people are incredibly awesome and let me just take a package of their running socks. So nice! (And I’ve been living in them ever since.) Of course, we also stopped by the Brooks and Moving Comfort areas and shopped a little.

There they are - the authors of Train Like a Mother at the Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon Expo. Top, L-R: Jamie, Me, Mel, Sarah, Dimity; Bottom, L-R: Julie, Zoe, Jill

I didn’t actually purchase anything at the expo this year, though. I did, however, buy the entry to the 2013 Rock N Roll Seattle Marathon — the half marathon, people. You think I’m crazy? Not going to make the mistake again of not registering at the expo. The Rock and Roll series gives a pretty significant expo discount. Still. With tax and the expo discount, the 2013 half marathon was STILL $71. (And then add expo parking — $15. Not that I’m bitter.) Crazy. I realize they put on a well-run event, and the medals are heavy and quite nice, but dang. At least I’ll have chip timing next year.

At about 5 p.m., those of us headed to Girls’ Night Out decided we better head on over to OnlineShoes.com in order to get into their parking garage before 6 p.m. Their office is several blocks away from where we were, and traffic, you know. Zoe needed to stop by the Nuun office to pick up her knee brace first, so I offered to drive her over. It’s only a couple blocks away. Yeah, would’ve been faster for her to walk probably. Yikes.

Once there, she realized she’d given her key card to another employee who was still at the expo back at the Century Link Events Center. Oops. We were standing there in the rain, trying to figure out what to do when a man, who we’d just seen come out of the building, drove up to us in his Volvo. “Do you need to get in?” he asked.

“YES!” It was obvious Zoe worked for Nuun since she’d worked at the expo and was wearing Nuun-logo stuff. This guy didn’t work for them, but another company in the building. He held out his wallet. “Here, just take this and hold it in front of the card-reader.”

Um. What? You’re giving us your wallet? The door was around the corner from where we were. Zoe took the wallet, we jogged around the building, and she held it in front of the card reader, then passed the wallet to me and I ran it back to the man. Meanwhile, another man (who appeared to be homeless) stood under the awning next to the building’s front door watching the goings-on while smoking pot. Awesome.

Zoe was quick getting her stuff and then we were back in our separate cars trying to figure out the least painful way to drive to OnlineShoes.com. We only had 30 minutes. Zoe is more familiar with the city, so I followed her. It was rush hour, so Seattle traffic was a mess. It took us 15 minutes to move one city block at one point. I did not think we were going to make it. But we pulled into their parking garage at 5:59. Whew!

We were the lucky ones. Lots of people got stuck in traffic.

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Girls’ Night Out with Brooks Running and OnlineShoes.com

Brooks and OnlineShoes.com treated us like rock stars. Feels good to be spoiled every now and then.

What a fun night! Both companies — Brooks Running and OnlineShoes.com — made us feel like rock stars. When we walked into the conference room (that had a view through the misty, rainy sky of the Space Needle), we saw that each place setting had a name card, a schedule and a gift bag from Brooks filled with goodies including a coveted VIP potty pass for race day, and a Brooks t-shirt that said Keep Calm and Rock On, and a collapsible cooler (that my husband is probably going to steal) from OnlineShoes.com.

It was also great to meet Lindsey from OnlineShoes.com in person since I’ve worked with her a few times for shoe giveaways and reviews, etc. She’s the most organized person I’ve ever worked with when it comes to blog giveaways, and always pleasant. Love her!

Chelsea, Zoe and Me Buca di Beppo-ing it up at the Brooks and OnlineShoes.com Girls Night Out!

They fed us delicious food from Buca di Beppo restaurant and then we got to hear some behind-the-scenes information from Dyana about the Brooks philosophy: Run Happy. I knew, but hadn’t really thought about, the fact that Brooks is ALL about shoes for runners. They don’t make shoes for other sports. They are 100% completely devoted to runners and running shoes, and that is way cool. When you are dedicated to one particular sport like that, you can become an expert in that area. In my opinion, some companies spread their knowledge too thin focusing on too many different areas, and trying to meet the needs of too many groups of people.

The knowledgeable Kira telling us all about Brooks shoes.

Afterward, Kira from Brooks talked about the new fall lineup of shoes in both the more minimalist line, Brooks PureProject (What is PureProject?) and their traditional running shoes line. I was extremely impressed with her knowledge and passion about shoes. Extremely! Shoes are the #1 most important piece of equipment for runners – duh – so we were all mesmerized during this part, I think. We also got a sneak peek at the not-yet-released PureDrift. Alma from the Average Woman’s Running Blog did an excellent post about them.

A sneak peek at Brooks Running's newest running shoes, the Pure Drift (can go from a 4mm heel drop to a 0mm heel drop) - not available till January 2013!

Then they announced we’d get to take home a pair of Brooks shoes – actually, as I found out a little later, TWO pair: one from PureProject and one from the traditional line!

I have been running in my Saucony Hurricanes since 2010. When I went that year to RoadRunner Sports to get a “real” pair of running shoes (my first pair in 2009, I just picked out randomly at DSW), I tried a lot of different shoes. I went home with the Saucony Omni 8’s. They weren’t for me and I took them back. Then I brought home a pair of New Balances. Not a fan. I remember trying on a pair of Brooks, but I don’t remember what turned me off of them or why I didn’t take them home to try out. Probably, I was already embarrassed for bringing back two pairs of shoes.

At last, I went with Saucony again, but this time the Hurricane 11, and bigger, I think. Once I got home, though, I felt like my left foot was slapping, but I didn’t want to go back to RoadRunner, and figured it was probably just the way I ran (which I know why now). I then fractured my shin, my left tibia to be exact (that’d be on the slapping-foot side), which led to custom orthotics, which helped with the fit of my Hurricanes. And ever since then, I’ve been afraid to switch running shoes. But I’ve wanted to try Brooks for some time because 1) they are a local company, which I want to support, and 2) all my friends have them! (I am weak.)

Pretty Brooks Adrenalines!

So this Girls Night Out event and getting to try two pair of Brooks shoes was huge for me. A chance to try something new risk-free basically. Brooks Guru Tiffany talked to me extensively about the different types of shoes and what would be good for me. I left with a pair of Adrenaline 12 in purple and white, and the Pure Cadence shoes in fluorescent pink, which you know I love. The PureCadence are a minimalist-type shoe, but with a little more support than something like the Pure Flow. The Adrenaline will offer me some support, but not too much since I have completely different feet (my left foot is flat and my right foot has high arch).

Brooks guru
Brooks Running Guru Tiffany spent a ton of time answering my questions and helping me decide on the right shoes. She is awesome!

(I have yet to try the Adrenaline because I’ve been living in the Brooks PureCadence shoes. I cannot get over how much I love this shoe. I wear them to work, and I’ve worn them to run, although I’m easing into the running since I’ve been in custom orthotics so long. The first time I changed out of my PureCadence into my custom-orthotic’ed Hurricanes, it hurt. I seriously felt like the Hurricanes were binding my feet. My feet and toes feel like they have so much more freedom in the Brooks PureCadence.)

Me and Zoe with all of our loot from Brooks Running and OnlineShoes.com. Yes, I'm wearing my new PureCadence shoes home!

The night of the Girls’ Night Out even, I wore my shoes home like I was 4. Actually, I wore them to Chelsea’s (also I hadn’t had a sleepover in forever – so fun!).

A big thank you to OnlineShoes.com (and to Mel for getting the ball rolling, I think) and Brooks Running, and of course, Chelsea, who drove me, Running to Sanity‘s Jill, and Mel and Zoe to the start line Saturday morning for the start of Seattle Rock and Roll, and then cheered for us and brought us snacks and mimosas, and then fed us post-race.

Let’s just say, I felt spoiled!

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*And, like I mentioned in my Rock N Roll Seattle 2012 race report, Century Link’s parking garage changed the sign back to $6 on Saturday, and the course ran right by it. It’s like they were taunting us….