Sunday, December 9, 2012

First Snow

Despite my wishing for a snow free winter I got outside this afternoon. Almost two hours on my old mountain bike churning through up to 4 inches of snow from home West to Blue Mounds State Park along the trail trail. A quick stop at the bike camp and I headed home, into the wind driven snow.

Once home and ready to warm up Zack wanted to build a snowman. We had to drag Kevin out to get the middle ball in place. Even with his help we ended up needing a ramp to slide it into place. Zack is happy with the result and I'll sleep like a rock later.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sunday Brunch

We headed out Sunday for a late breakfast, aka brunch. Chad suggested Marigold Kitchen in downtown Madison. We arrived at a great time, ordering and seated before a long line formed. The food was great.

After eating we hiked around downtown, touring the Capitol and heading down State Street. The Capitol Christmas tree is up, but undecorated. Guess we'll have to go back again to check out the finished product.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Kid's bike

I've stolen, temporarily at least, the 29er Kevin got this summer. He hasn't ridden since August and I was curious so on went my pedals. So far I've ridden it three times, all from home via the rail trail. I'm not sure I like it in the tight trails at Blue Mounds but it makes the ride there and back much faster.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Way Behind

We didn't disappear and will get some new posts up soon.

Just a few pics for now.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Cupcake Party

A cupcake party has been long in the works. I've had recipes to try and recipes to redo. Tonight we had the party with family and the cupcakes were a hit.  We had mini cupcakes for appetizers and big cupcakes for dessert. There was an actual meal in between too.

The cakes were made yesterday and frosted today. I'm no grand baker; the cupcakes are from a box cake mix which I split the batter in half and add mix ins to. That way I get a dozen of each flavor. One must for me is homemade frosting. You can really tell the difference.

In the line up tonight were:

Lemon Burst with Blueberry Buttercream- white cake flavored with lemon. These have lemon curd filling, and a buttercream frosting with pureed blueberries and lemon juice mixed in. The frosting turned out a little thin. I think last time I made it with cream cheese in the frosting.

Peanut Butter with Chocolate Frosting- Yellow cake with peanut butter in the mix. These always bake up nice and puffy. The frosting is chocolate with peanut butter mixed in. This time I used dark chocolate peanut butter that I had in the cabinet.

Coconut Lime- Everything in this cupcake had coconut, lime juice and lime zest in it. The frosting was a cream cheese frosting and there was coconut and lime zest sprinkled on top. I think these turned out pretty with the star frosting tip.

Gooey Pumpkin Caramel- Yellow cake with pumpkin and spice mixed in. The cake was filled with caramel then topped with a spiced cream cheese frosting. More caramel and chocolate on top. Next time I will heat the fudge topping so it looks more like a drizzle.

The cupcakes were much enjoyed but there are dangerous amounts leftover. I need to go for a run tomorrow to counteract the sugar rushing through my blood.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Father's Day bike ride

Just a few pictures from my ride with Zack last weekend. The tandem has been equipped with crank shorteners until a growth spurt hits at least. We swapped rear pedals to my oldest set of SPDs and now Zack can clip in without help most of the time. One slowly leaking flat tire due to a tiny piece of gravel is fixed now, first day on new cross tires I thought they would be tougher.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Madison Marathon 2012

Chad's goal this year was to complete another marathon, after the course in 2010 was closed down early.  His training started in the cold winter months.  Unfortunately this year the Madison Marathon course was closed again, this time on Friday before the race.  Anticipated weather forecasts were into the 90's for the day.

Marathon runners were asked to run the half marathon.  Chad was not exactly happy about it.  Before the expo, he suggested that we could run the 10k that is run at twilight on Saturday night before the half marathon since he was not running the full marathon.  Since I had a 6.5 mile training run scheduled, I figured the 10k would fit well enough.  I like races that look like they would be fun and the Twilight 10k was run starting at 8 pm from Capital Square and runners wore issued twinkling lights.  I guess shiny, flashing lights are all I need.  We both signed up, and Chad was able to save $20 on his entry after asking for a discount due to his marathon run being cancelled. 

We did my scheduled run/walk training plan for the race, and it worked well.  I was happy with how well I felt at the end of the race, and I didn't die on the hills.  Running towards the Capital at night was also very motivating for those last hills.  I finished in 1:04.  I even received a medal.  They had post race snacks perfect for night time including chocolate milk, Rocky Rococo pizza, and a beer.

Chad's half marathon started at 7:15 Sunday morning.  It was pretty cool out yet, but weather was still looking to be hot by late morning.  He had an app on his phone called Glympse, that let me track his up to date location.  I saw him out on the course a couple of times, and the rest of my time was spent waiting in line for a coffee and bagel.  I felt lazy; Chad ran 3 miles in the time it took me to wait in line for a mocha.  It wasn't too hot by the time he finished, but the heat was rising.  I think he was happy with his race, given the conditions. 
Chad in sleeveless blue shirt under Monona Terrace on John Nolen
Just before the turn to the finish on Capital Square

Training runs for me continue through the summer until my half marathon in August.  Chad will be running with me.  I guess I'll let him carry all my water and fuel.(just kidding)  Here's hoping for good weather for the Madison Mini-Marathon.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Monona 20k

Chad and I both ran on Saturday, Chad doing the Monona 20k and me running the 5k.  Luckily it did not rain, although it was cool, windy, and overcast.

The Monona 20k a nice sized run, which I gauge by how far away we need to park.  We were right on the edge of the park in a lot, and there were plenty of spots left when we got there.  We hung out around the shelter for a little bit, used the bathroom, then walked back to the car to deposit our jackets and grab the rest of our gear.

The 20k headed out first, with the 5k starting 15 minutes later.  The 20k course, from what I hear, if flat and scenic as it travels around Lake Monona, most of the time with a view of the lake.  The 5k course is around the neighborhood of the park, has some hills, and you don't see the lake.  The course is not closed, but there is very little traffic on the streets.  The 20k course uses some paved bike trails.

Last year was the first 5k, and the number of participants was really small.  So small in fact, that I placed in my age division.  Haha! There were more runners this year, ranging from marathoners on their off weeks to novice runners.  The 5k is also a walk, but I don't know how many walkers there were.  I had plenty of time after my race to grab some food and water, go to the car to get more clothes, and have a free massage.  Chad finished right around his prediction of 1:45.

The after run spread was really good: Capital Brewery beer, Quaker Steak wings, chips and queso from Qdoba, along with an assortment of snacks including pretzels, animal crackers, fruit, trail mix and much more.  By the time we made it over to the park shelter there was quite a long line, but the beer and chips and queso had separate lines which was nice.

Onward in training, Chad is finishing up his runs to get ready for the Madison Marathon and I am just revving up for a half marathon in August. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Unexpected Intervals

If you want a good interval workout in your trail running, just get a Zack. 
A Zack will keep you going at a nice, leisurely pace, then BAM time to sprint!  Just as you are getting your legs working hard, BAM, time to stop abruptly.  For Zack intervals, it doesn't matter if you are going uphill, downhill or flat, you need to go the same speed.  In fact to make things easy, a Zack only has three speeds STOP, SLOW, and GO.  A Zack keeps you interested in the run with the anticipation, since you never know how long before the next interval.  Interested in a Zack, you will have to find your own, ours is booked.

The whole family went out to Blue Mounds State Park for a trail hike/run.  The start of the hike was muddy, the ground was wet, and a vehicle had driven down the trail and torn up the grass, leaving muddy tracks.
Chad took us to a "new to us" area that he had been to before.  It sinks down into a valley, and there are chances for waterfalls depending on water run off. 

Zack wanted to run sporadically, and Kevin wanted to find his own way.  We took a bag of jelly beans for encouragement and energy.  
Everyone had fun, and it was a good hike/run.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Cupcakes on State Street and sweating them off

This weekend Kevin was participating in a regional competition for National History Day.  Judging was Saturday on UW-Madison campus, with awards in the afternoon.  The rest of us headed downtown to watch the awards and grab a bite to eat.

Always looking to try something new, we decided on AJ Bombers.  I looked up the menu on my phone, to make sure there were choices for Zack.  A sit down restaurant, we filled out our order on the paper menus and turned them in.  Chad and I ordered the Milwaukee Burger with cheese, bacon, and beer soaked onions.  Zack ordered some hot pretzels and was going to share the burger with Chad.  They had peanuts in the shell to eat at the table.  Delivery of the peanuts came from the bar via some overhead vessels on tracks.  The bartender pushes them across the restaurant where they hit a target springing open a door on the bottom that dumps the peanuts down a chute into a bowl.  Zack loved watching it happen throughout our meal.

He also couldn't remember having peanuts in the shell before, but he enjoyed learning how to open them.  I freaked out about throwing the shells on the floor, since I didn't see any other shells by other tables.  At the end of the meal, while I was picking my shells off the table to put in my empty meal basket, the waitress "yelled" at me and said they were meant to be thrown on the floor.  She said they sweep them up every night.  I told her I just couldn't bring myself to throw them on the floor and make a mess.  Chad and Zack laughed at me for being a neat freak, so I dropped two shells on the floor.  Not to be outdone, Zack swept a whole pile onto the floor and I cringed.   The food there was very good, and Zack wants to go back soon. 

After lunch, I wanted to try out a State Street bakery where I saw cupcakes in the window during the Shamrock Shuffle.  I didn't know the name, but knew it was right around where we started the race.  We spotted it as soon as we got into the area.  The name is Madison Sweets.  They had quite a selection in the case, so we decided to take a box of four with us.  They had some unusual flavors. 
One we tried had avocado in the cake with lime frosting.  I picked a dark chocolate with pomegranate frosting, Chad picked a salted caramel cupcake that Kevin ended up eating, and Zack chose a Fruity Pebbles cupcake.  The three I tried were all quite good.  I liked the cake, it was very moist and not oily.  The avocado cake was a little strange when eaten separate, but the cupcake as a whole was great.  Looking at their website, I see many more flavors I want to try.  One special flavor of the day looked intriguing, but none of us wanted to try it:  I saw Doritos on top, and a bright yellow green frosting.  When we asked, it was a Mountain Dew and Doritos cupcake.  Wow, but no thanks.  Kevin likes Mountain Dew, but doesn't like the Nacho Cheese Doritos, otherwise I would have gotten it for him.  Sounded like a good teenager or college student flavor.

That was yesterday.  Today was our day to do things outside.  It was warmer and sunny out today, compared to yesterday.  And we were busy eating our way down State Street yesterday.  We started with bike riding practice.  We went to the school lots where Zack was working on riding a bigger bike, and Chad was going to practice his unicycling.  Chad rode down the grassy hill a couple times.  Kevin and I tried the unicycle too.  We had no significant forward motion, since it was hard enough to just get up on the bike and balance.  We had a nice tree to hang on to while we worked our core balancing on the bike.

In the afternoon, Chad, Zack and I headed out to the state park for a trail run/walk.  We missed a turn on the way out of the parking lot so we went on some single track bike trails thinking it would be more fun to run.  It was pretty muddy, and we ended up walking most of that trail.  Zack took off a little more when we got back on the wider, gravel nature trail.  He had two speeds, walk and sprint.  While we were at the park we also climbed both observation towers.  Our hike totaled 2.2 miles and we all worked up a sweat.  Burning off those cupcakes from yesterday.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shamrock Shuffle 2012

This year the whole family participated in the Madison Shamrock Shuffle.  It landed right on St. Patrick's Day this year.

Zack just wasn't ready to committ to a 5k, but he has wanted a green shirt since Chad ran the 10k last year.  So he signed up for the 2 mile walk, and I signed up along with him.  Kevin signed up for the 5k once it looked like the weather was going to be warm.  He even went on some training runs before the date of the Shuffle.

The weather on Saturday was wonderful.  It was short sleeve and shorts weather, so the long sleeved green shirt that came with the entry was unseasonable.  The online instructions for the run said runners should be cautious and on the look out for ice on the course.  Not this year.  The high for Saturday was to be 80 degrees.  No ice in sight.

We parked close to the finish and headed up to the Overture Center to check out the crowd and look for bathrooms.  Finding huge lines, Chad suggested we go the last few blocks to the State Capitol to use the bathrooms.  It was a nice walk, and the Capitol was almost vacant, so no line at the bathroom.

The Shuffle was filled this year, and the announcements said over 4,000 runners and walkers were heading out Saturday morning.

By the time we headed back down State Street, Chad and Kevin lined up in the street for the start of their run.  Zack and I headed out 5 minutes later.

The course headed down State Street, and over past the Memorial Union.  Then up the Observatory Drive hill and past the Carillon Tower.  The 5k was an out and back that went to the Natatorium and back.  Zack and I turned at Babcock Drive and headed to the Lakeshore Path where we joined up with the 10k route.  Zack enjoyed walking along the Lake.  He did great, just needing a little encouragement in the last half mile.

Chad and Kevin finished in 36:09, a good job for Kevin's first run.  And the best part, Kevin wants to run more.  He will probably run the Monona 5k with me in a couple months.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Science Olymiad Regionals

On Saturday, Kevin competed in Science Olympiad regional competitions in Madison.  He competed in four events, two of which he took on in the last couple of weeks.  He had a geocaching event, a tower building event, a levitating magnetic vehicle event, and timed gravity vehicle event.

His team won a silver medal in Gravity Vehicle, where they needed to send a vehicle down a ramp, and try to stop it at a specified location.  He also won a bronze medal in Mag Lev, where the vehicle moves down a ramp on fans while it is levitating with magnets.  The vehicle also pulls a sled with weight on it.

Kevin and his high school team are now on to the state competition.  Way to go!

Merrell Kids Trail Glove Review

Zack has been waiting a long time for these shoes, the Merrell Trail Glove Kids.  He has been searching stores for several months, and he finally found them at REI last weekend. He chose the flashier blue color over the gray.  So excited about his purchase, he of course needed to wear them to school yesterday.
As soon as he got in the Jeep after school, he handed out his review.  "They are really light and the bottom is flat, so it makes you run fast.  The bottom is shaped like your feet, so it's like running with no shoes.  They are like wearing socks"  Sounded like he put them to the test at school.  He raced another kid across the playground to show how fast his shoes were.  Zack lost, but he said the other kid was breathing really hard when he crossed the line, which according to Zack was because the other kid's shoes were so heavy.

Summary:  Zack thinks the shoes are awesome.

Madison Winter Festival

Satuday the 18th was the day for running races at the Madison Winter Festival.  Zack and I were both signed up to run and my mom came along to supervise us and take pictures. Zack ran first and I went along with at his request. He ran a good race pushing hard until the end. If I'm lucky the new shoes he is reviewing, post coming soon, will have him interested in the 5k next month. I ran a good race even with a sore foot, 22:36 is the fastest I've run a 5k so far.

                                              Zack and I nearing the finish of the kids race.

                              That is Zack's award, a squishy penguin, not the medal he was expecting.

Zack and I before the 5k race.

Thanks mom for coming along and standing in the cold.

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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Snow Biking

Quick afternoon ride at Blue Mounds State Park, video is pretty shaky guess I need a helmet cam.