Aug 122014
 

I wanted to take full advantage of the lovely summer weather instead of being cooped up in the gym. When I got home from work I went for a run at the track nearby. It was sunny, not a cloud in the sky, and around 87 degrees. A little on the hot side for running outdoors, but I was committed. I filled my running water bottle with half Gatorade and half water (that seems to work well for me in hot weather).

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I love the track in the summer time. It’s not very crowded, it’s easy on the knees, and it’s close to home. The five minute walk from the house was my warm-up and then I got right into it. I am always a little slower than normal (and I’m already slow) when it’s hot out but that’s ok. Not trying to set any records here! I turned on Pandora and one of my favorite new songs popped up.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that music makes a HUGE difference with my running. If the right song comes on with the right beat/pace, I notice that I am a little faster, my form is a little better, I have more endurance and I’m lighter on my feet. I wonder why the perfect song can make such a difference? I guess maybe your feet just start to run to the beat.

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The far side curve of the track was completely shaded from the trees so I used this section of the track for walking. I cooled down a little bit, my heart rate reduced and then when I was back in the sun I was ready to run again. I ran for a little over 35 minutes and then decided to head back to the house. I walked to cool down and when I got back in our yard I played ball with Bella for a few minutes while my heart rate got back to normal.

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She was SO happy to play ball! Her favorite thing ever. It took a little bit for my heart rate to lower. I guess it was the heat? Anyways. She continued to show off and be totally adorable:

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2.86 miles and 413 calories burned. Here are my stats, complete with a Bella photobomb:

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Read this hilarious article: 22 Words That Have A Totally Different Meaning When You Are A Runner. I had to laugh at some of those–especially the tan one. I’ve got super awesome (ugly) tan lines that I have to get rid of before the wedding!

After that I met up with my friend Sam for an early-ish dinner/snack at The Brooklyn House in SE Portland. I had never heard of it but when I searched for  restaurant that was kind of a middle point between us this popped up with great reviews. It was a cute a little house next to that German grocery store that everyone raves about (and I still haven’t been there) off SE Powell. They had an adorable outside patio that was partially shaded and that was perfect for us. It was quiet and comfortable and we had the patio to ourselves.

I got an iced tea that was lovely and the waitress, also named Lisa, who was very friendly and prompt, brought out a little simple syrup instead of traditional sugars for the tea for easier mixing. It just needed a teeny bit of the syrup. The tea was wonderful. Sam and I ended up ordering three appetizers and sharing those. The first was their “nibble plate.” It was a basket of large, warm, fresh out of the oven, buttery crostini with four “dips.”

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There was an olive tapenade that was to die for, tzatziki sauce, a white bean puree and a little bowl of Mama Lil’s Peppers (my favorite!). The crostini was perfect. Sometimes you get crostini in restaurants and it’s so hard you feel like you are going to break your teeth trying to eat it. This was not that!

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We also shared the grilled cabbage. They must have blanched the cabbage before grilling it because all the bitterness of the cabbage was gone and instead it had a smokey flavor. The texture was perfect. It came with a lemon aioli sauce on it and my one complaint of the dishes was that the lemon aioli didn’t have much flavor. Despite that everything tasted great and the presentation was gorgeous!

The last dish was the roasted carrots in brown butter sauce. I did not get a photo of that, sadly, because I was too busy eating! The carrots were probably my second favorite dish next to the dips. The carrots were perfectly prepared–a slight crunch was still soft, the butter flavor was rich and there was a hint of salt every once in a while. The carrots were amazing. Loved them! Overall it was a great meal and I’d like to go back and see what else they have. Their entree menu was very limited but the appetizers were vast and they all sounded so good. I will definitely go back here!

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Jul 302014
 

Another activity crossed off the summer bucket list!

My day started with a run. It was going to be a nice day, and a hot one, but I was out early enough that it wasn’t terrible. I laced up my shoes, slathered on the sunscreen, and walked to the neighborhood school track. There were three other runners out there with me that morning. It was quiet and peaceful and I have to admit–it was kind of nice to just run and not have a goal. Training for my 5k was fun and I was so happy I was able to do it, but every run that I did the closer I got to the date, added pressure to myself. I just couldn’t enjoy it like I used to because all I could think about was how I hadn’t trained ENOUGH, or I wasn’t fast enough, or there’s NO WAY I could run the 5k without having to walk…

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In the end, I really hadn’t trained enough, I was slow –who cares?– and I did have to take walk breaks. But I still finished my 5k and RECOVERED from it, too. So I’m happy about that. And now when I run, there’s no pressure and no expectations. I just ran until I felt like I needed a walk break, then I ran some more. It was a really nice run!

After that I got cleaned up and Michael and I packed up some provisions before heading out for our day. The plan: meeting friends at Kelley Point Park!

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We got sandwiches from New Seasons on the way to the park and met our friends at a picnic table to eat. I was famished after my run. I devoured that sandwich! They make amazing sandwiches there. So freakin’ good.

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After we were done eating we headed down to the beach area. It was supposed to get to 90 degrees that day. Last time we were there with my friends Erika and Charles, I regretted not bringing enough water. This time I packed tons. I filled our insulated growler with ice water, plus two water bottles, one bottle of Powerade (just in case) and a soda for Michael and I. I brought Bella’s water dish and made her drink throughout the afternoon, which she sometimes stubbornly refuses to do. I put on more sunscreen (another goal for this summer–be better about sunscreen). We spread out blankets in the sand and just chilled.

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I had been apprehensive about taking Bella there. Part of me was excited to show her something new and exciting that I knew she’d LOVE. But part of me was nervous about a lot of things. First, there were going to be a lot of people there (she gets nervous around strangers) and second I knew there would be tons of off-leash dogs. I also worried about Bella running away if we let her off the leash. But in the end, she’s usually pretty good with her recall and I just wanted her to have fun so I let her off the leash.

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The second she was off the leash she was in the water! I’ve never seen her more excited!!! She had the biggest, goofiest look on her face! She splashed around in the waves a bit and then started jumping over the waves and jumping into the water. I took a very hilarious and adorable video and posted it on my Instagram, if you want to check it out.

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At one point we threw the ball in the water and she jumped in to go get it but I think she realized she was out a little too far and couldn’t get the ball so she just turned around and paddled back to shore. Charles waded into the water and grabbed her ball. LOL Look at her tongue!

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She also made a friend! There was a little dog with some people next to us who was chasing a tennis ball and retrieving it from the river. Bella ran next to her up and down the beach. It was so cute to watch! They’d throw the ball for their dog and both dogs would run after it but Bella is never interested in any ball but HER OWN and so she never tried to take the other dog’s ball. She just wanted a partner to run with on the beach!!

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I have to tell you, there is no other feeling better than the pure joy of watching a dog have fun! It’s such an amazing feeling seeing her experience things for the first time and just experience JOY. How often as adults to we take pleasure in new things and feel JOY? Rarely. Not often enough, for sure. Bell was having a BLAST. She was racing up and down the beach, flopping and rolling around in the sand, and swimming in the river.

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I wish we had had more time to spend out there. Alas, after about 2.5 hours we had to pack up and head out. I had plans to meet my friend Star for a very needed pedicure and desperately needed to shower off the sand beforehand. And you better believe Little Miss had a bath that night! She was covered in sand. ;)

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I think I spent too much time in the sun over the weekend. I had a dull headache for both Saturday and Sunday evenings, despite trying to drink a ton of water and using sunscreen. My shoulders, neck, biceps and deltoids were positively WRECKED from kayaking–I was SO sore (and really, running was the only thing I could physical do that next day–no way was I weight lifting or swimming). Despite that, the weekend was superb and I am happy with the memories AND crossing things off my summer list!

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