Snowshoe running, cookie baking, 2010 race thoughts and a few discounts. It's time for a smattering of winter-time ramblings!
But before all that, I want to remind you about the Garmin giveaway from Wilderness Running Company. If you subscribe to their blog, they’ll put your name into a drawing for a Garmin 405. I’m here to tell you that I have been checking their blog, and I only see a few of your names in the comments. Why haven’t you signed up yet?? Get on it, people! Also, they’re still offering 20% off all Nathan products, and will do so until at least a week after they restock on Intensities. Just use the coupon code nathan20 if you’re shopping. (Don't worry, I'll let you know when this sale is over.)
Now, on to the mash-up!
Lake Tahoe Marathon and other 2010 races
In case it escaped your notice, 2010 is right around the corner. Chatter in the blogosphere shows most of you happily putting together your upcoming race schedules, or grumpily complaining about getting shut out of your preferred race lotteries. (Okay, you’ve actually been pretty good-natured about it, but whatever.)
Anyhow, in order to assist your race budget for the upcoming year, the Lake Tahoe Marathon is offering an exclusive discount to Daily Adventures readers. Just enter BrugmanBlog in the promo box during sign-up, and you’ll get a 10% discount on your entry fee. This discount is good all the way up until Sept 22, so I’ll certainly be reminding you again, come spring and summer racing seasons. (But for now, you may want to drop a hint to your significant other that an LTM entry would be a great holiday present.)
The Tahoe Marathon RD also hosts a marathon in Maui on January 24th, called the Maui Oceanfront Marathon. After reading Scott’s report of the XTerra Worlds on Oahu, I’m pretty sure a race in the islands should be on everyone’s list at some point.
As for me, I too, am trying to put together a race schedule for next year. I’d like to make another foray into the world of the 100-miler, but choosing the right one is proving to be a challenge. The 100-miler is, of course, the central sphere around which the rest of my races will spin, so it’s the only real question on my mind at the moment.
One of the reasons I chose not to enter the lottery for Western States this year, is that I don’t think I’ll be ready for a hundred miles that early in the season. I’m looking for an affordable race on challenging, beautiful, mountain trails, not terribly far away, that falls in late July or August.
I've narrowed it down to Wasatch, Cascade Crest or Tahoe Rim Trail. Unfortunately, I’ve pretty much ruled out Wasatch, since, falling in the first week of September, it’s too much in conflict with the beginning of the school year. Maybe a few years down the road, when I have more senior status at my school, it will be okay to take off for 3 days during the first week of school, but probably not right now. Maybe that’s a good thing, since I could probably use more experience before tackling this race. But I’ve seen the pictures and heard the stories, and this race is definitely in my future!
CCC seems to fall at the perfect time of year (the end of August), and for that reason, it has risen to the top of the list. I can’t really come up with a good reason not to do this race. It looks awesome. The only problem is that they are going the way of the lottery this year, so entry isn’t guaranteed.
And then of course, there’s my old friend, TRT. I’ll certainly be returning to the 100-miler on this course eventually, probably more than once. Whether that will happen this year remains to be seen. If I run CCC, then I’ll run the 50M at TRT. If I don't get into CCC, the I'll probably do the 100 at TRT. Decisions, decisions!
Last weekend, Jamie invited me to take part in the Northstar Snowshoe race series. Despite living in the snowy Sierra, I have never been a snowshoe runner. A new adventure? Count me in!
Left to right: Tina, Jamie, me and Jennifer. Ready for snowshoe running!
I arrived at Northstar's mid-mountain in plenty of time to hang out with Jamie, Jennifer and a number of other runners. I was glad Jamie only wanted to do the 5K, even though there was a 10K option. I may not have experience at this snowshoeing thing, but I knew that tromping through the snow would be exhausting. I do find it amusing that a couple of ultra-runners found 10K to be too intimidating of a distance to tackle, but hey, it’s the off-season!
I got my rental snowshoes strapped on and ran around for a little course preview. Apparently it was not all on groomed trail like I’d imagined. Uh oh.
The race proved to be exhausting and totally awesome. We all took off from the start with snow flying everywhere, and after about 10 seconds I was breathing heavily. I figured I was going about 15-minute pace, so I was pleasantly surprised with my finish time of 38 minutes. I was also surprised to find out that I had won. Um, excuse me? Yes, all those fast, studly women ahead of me were running the 10K. Suckers!
Afterwards, we all stood around collecting a bounty of prizes. Jamie and I both won snowshoes for taking first and second in the 5K, plus we all collected a few raffle prizes from an impressive pile of booty. I love small races with big prizes! Mostly, though, I loved hanging out with the girls, laughing in the sunshine on a warm, Tahoe day. I love runners.
I’ve also used my new snowshoes 3 out of the last 4 days since winning them. Twice I just went hiking, but today I ran 3 miles. Wow. It is a killer workout. My favorite thing I discovered on today’s run though, is that when the snowpack is firm like it is right now, you can run anywhere. I mean, you don’t need a trail. You can just take off through the woods, because all the hazards are covered by a thick blanket of snow. Today I ran with my dog through an endless expanse of white, sparkling in the brilliant sunshine, blissfully generating my own heat through the 20-degree air, lungs heaving, legs burning, and blue sky as far as we could see. Freedom to go anywhere. Ahh.
Of course we’ve saved the most important item for last: food. For any gift, I’m a big fan of things that don’t take up space. As far as I can tell, the last thing most of us need is more stuff. And, if your house is anything like mine, cookies don’t take up space for long! Thus, cookies=great gift.
Another gift I like is also of the homemade-and-doesn’t-hang-around-too-long variety. Homemade granola! So here are a few thoughts, photos and recipes from this year’s holiday baking escapades.
Strawberry-Banana Granola with fresh blueberries.
The granola recipe stems originally from this recipe from my “High Trail Cookery” cookbook full of backpacker-friendly foods. [Items in brackets are my own additions.]
1. Preheat oven to 300F. Brown in a cast-iron Dutch oven, stirring frequently, until golden:
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup soy flour
½ cup sesame seeds
½ cup wheat germ
½ cup oat or wheat bran
[¼ cup ground flax seed meal]
[¼ cup buckwheat flour]
2. Heat gently in small saucepan:
½ cup honey
½ cup corn or soy oil
3. Add honey mixture to flour mixture, along with:
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup [or more] chopped nuts of your choice
¾ cup shredded coconut
6 cups rolled oats
[¼ cup chia seeds]
4. Mix granola thoroughly and spread in 9x13 glass pan. Pour evenly over the top ½ to 1 cup cranberry (or other flavor) juice.
5. Bake at 300, for 30-35 minutes, stirring a few times during baking. [I cook mine for 60 minutes because I like a crunchier texture. Also, about halfw
ay through baking, stir in 1 cup dried fruit, such as strawberries, bananas, cherries, cranberries, raisins, etc.]
For gift-making purposes, I usually double the recipe, and make several different flavors by choosing different nuts, fruits and juice for the varieties. This year, flavors were “strawberry-banana with pecans” and “cherry with almonds and macadamia nuts.”
Dehydrating strawberries and bananas for the granola
Cookie-baking was an adventure, as I went with all new recipes this year. I was inspired. But, alas, I forgot to make modifications for high-altitude on the first batch, so I was also a little frustrated. Don’t ask me how I forget these things, since I never bake anywhere but at high-altitude. Anyway, subsequent batches were much prettier, even if they all tasted yummy.
I had apricot-pecan crumb bars, strawberry window shortbreads, peanut butter chocolate cookies, and chocolate peppermint patty cookies. Yum!
And with that, I'll wish you all a happy holiday season and blessings in the new year!