Collage of Events

I have never really been very good about taking pictures of all the memories I make.  I feel as though I will come across as one of those obnoxious people who are always pointing their camera at you, making you stop everything you are doing, to strike a pose.  This being the case whenever I download pictures from the camera, it is always a strange assortment, just a shot or two from different things going on, or just something rather boring that I mean to send to a specific person.  This evening when I got home from work I thought that I needed to take a picture of the garden to send to my mom, she likes to hear about its progress.  So this post is a collage from my most recent download, and narratives to go along.

Ahh, this is a good one to start with.  Not only am I trying to show off my legs, but I am also showing off my pain tolerance with those 2-inch needles inserted in my IT band.  Actually it didn't really hurt at all.  Clay's brother-in-law has recently become certified to perform Trigger Point Dry Needling (TDN) which essentially uses acupuncture needles to create small tears in your muscle, to encourage healing and repair.  With my constant battle with ITBS, I begged him to bring some needles out when they were here in June.  Can't say it worked a miracle, but I am looking forward to regular treatments this fall when they relocate to the East Coast.  He says it usually takes a minimum of 4 sessions.

Clay and I celebrated 2 years of marriage!  And he made me a wonderful meal which consisted of lamb (purchased at Kroger on Manager's Special!), swiss chard and snap peas from the garden, and potatoes from the garden, it was wonderful!

You may not get this from this picture....but we finally got a new couch.  The one in the picture came from a neighbor who was going to get rid of it.  That was about a year ago.  Clay and I went down to Charlotte a few weeks back and got a new leather couch (yippee)....so that means I have been more lax about letting our snuggly dog Macey on the old couch to snuggle (since we plan to get rid of it soon anyways).

When your power goes out for 2 days because of a crazy summer wind storm (they called it a derecho), you make rolls in a dutch oven!  Who says you can't bake without electricity?!

Garden update for mom, snap peas on their way out, cucumbers and squash going strong, first tomato is turning red...and we have volunteers in the middle of the garden (some kind of melon, and some kind of winter squash)

I have started making pickles by means of fermentation, using herbs from the herb garden to flavor, cucumbers from the garden, and grape leaves (they supposedly help them stay crunchy) from our grape vine.  (I guess the salt to make the brine came from Kroger!)


Strawberry Fields Forever

So by the amount of strawberries I have picked over the last week, you would think we have fields and fields of plants.  Ok, maybe not that many, but more than this:
It's really not that big of a space, but as you can see the plants are packed in! We definitely planted them closer than the packaging on the plants instructed us, but they were so tiny I had no idea they would grow so much in just a year.  On the far side of the strawberries, we have several blueberry plants, but you can't hardly see them.

One thing that Clay and I have learned about ourselves is that we really enjoy blessing other people by sharing what we grow and/or raise.  We recently got chickens, (that is for another blog post) and I love so much being able to share fresh eggs with my co-workers, my neighbors, people at church, and our favorite masseuse Tom.  I think it is a way that we are able to minister to other people, and help build the type of community that Jesus taught of.  Two years ago we had a very successful garden and Christmas presents to our family members that year included jam, salsa, dilly beans, curried pickled squash, pickled beets, etc. 

So with all these strawberries, I decided I had better get preserving.  I canned 8, 8 oz. jars of jam. And froze several pints.  And fed lots of buggy berries to the chickens....I wonder if our eggs will be sweeter...or have a shade of red to them???

And I gave away two jars at work this morning!


Boston by Caitlin

So Clay's accidental post several weeks ago pretty much summed up our trip to Boston.  It was hot.  Other than the heat it really was a nice excuse to go on a little vacation, especially on a vacation to a city since all of our vacations so far have either been out west to visit my family who live in a town with less than 1,000 people, or camping somewhere.  I have been to Boston several times as a kid, but was never really in the middle of the city walking around by myself.  We had the pleasure of staying with a high school friend of mine, Kristi, who just recently moved to the city herself to live in the same city as her boyfriend.  It worked out perfectly as Clay and myself would have gone crazy sharing a hotel room with both his parents, and his brother.  Kristi is living at her boyfriend's apartment in Cambridge, just a couple blocks off Harvard Square.  We really enjoyed walking around Cambridge and eating some great food while we were there.  We even got a Trader Joes trip in!  We took in the craziness of the expo, went to some coffee shop that the folks on NPR rave about located just off Boston Commons, I walked the Freedom Trail with Clay's mom, walked down by the Harbor, and even got Clay a sweet bow tie at a shop in Cambridge. 

                                          Kristi and I down by the Harbor

On race day Sharon and I decided to do some sightseeing while the guys were running since she hadn't had the chance earlier on since Bill wasn't wanting to do the walking around thing.  We decided to try to see the front runners come across the finish line.  I had thought about taking the subway out to heart break hill and watching there, but we just decided to stick around the finish.  Because we didn't show up at the finish hours and hours early, and also because we did not have the special vip passes to really even get on the same street as the finish line, we really weren't able to see much.  Kristi came down and met us on her lunch break and we found a spot by a big screen where they projected a video of the runners, and we could just see the heads of some of the finishers go by.  Jonathan and Bill both had rough races dealing with the extreme heat, blisters, cramping, and other ailments.  They both ran in the 3:30 range which is pretty slow for both of them.  Clay ran a bit slower, around a 3:45, but looked the best out of the 3 at the finish line.  Really, when he saw the weather report, he already made his mind up that he was just going to take it easy and not push it.  He was way more amped up for some upcoming trail races, and wasn't really too excited about running Boston, more just doing it to check if off the list, and plus it was neat to run it with his dad and brother.  He said that one thing he loves about trail running is the solitude of it, and there were so many people at Boston, he got tired of being surrounded.  He actually said he started to dread aid stations because of how many people you had to dodge.  One thing that he really enjoyed about the race though was seeing the whole community come out and support the runners.  Besides the aid stations provided by the actual race directors, kids were out on their front lawns spraying runners with hoses, handing out orange slices, and ice pops.  That I think is one of the aspects that draws us to the trail running community, is the camaraderie found there.

So now Clay is off to bigger and better races I guess in his eyes.  He is very excited to head up to the Massanuttan 100 this weekend to pace Adam Casseday and get a taste of that distance.  We will also be heading up to Highlands Sky 40 miler again this June for which his whole family will be at.  All of the Warner men including his brother-in-law Jimmy will be running that one.  As for me, I just finished some PT for my IT band and have started running again.  My long run is up to about 5 miles :)  But I am thankful that I can run and my goal of doing a 50k before kids is definitely still out there.
                                           The Warner men after the finish


Christmas in California

I have been living and working in West Virginia for just over two years now.  You would think that in that amount of time, and the amount of questions that my co-workers have asked me about home, they would have a clear idea of the place I call home.  No, it's not beaches and margaritas.  Neither is it movie stars and glitzy night clubs.  Rather it's a small rural valley 30 minutes from the Oregon border, with a population less than 5,000.  The valley floor sits just below 3,000 ft.  Most of my classmates grew up on ranches and our high school had a rodeo team.  Yet after two more than two years of spending 40 hours a week with my co workers, as I prepared to travel to California for Christmas, I got countless comments about the warm weather, big city Christmas I was going to have.

Clay and I had a really good trip.  We hadn't seen my sister or my brother and his wife since we got married a year and a half ago.  We went out for just over a week and it was really a breath of fresh air.  Since my family lives in a such a tiny little town, you don't really spend much time running around.  We got to visit with some old friends (Clay's buddy from high school who is married to my old youth pastor and their four children), I got to go for a run with a high school classmate, sat around and worked jigsaw puzzles, took some sewing lessons from my mom, went on numerous runs with Clay and my sister-in-law Lindsay, and ate some really great food.

Returning home to West Virginia felt good after being away, especially away from our two doggies!  Though almost a week later and we are still having a hard time switching back to East Coast time.  I am not one for New Years Resolutions, I guess I know I am bound to fail at them.  But I am always trying to better myself.  There are a couple things that I want to work on this winter however....

1.  Running - I would like to run a 50k in 2012.  Earlier I had been hoping that this would be at Promised Land 50k in the end of April.  However my IT band has flared up again and I have not been able to run more than 6 miles without pain.  So I know I need to hold off on really gearing up for any longer mileage runs until I get it under control.  I bought one of those Pro-Tec support band things, but haven't noticed much of a difference. 

2.  Non-running activities - since I will not be running as much, that means more time for swimming (which I have barely done since this summer) and biking on the trainer.  Also I am planning on doing more yoga.  When I was going to Yoga consistently, I noticed such a difference in my flexibility.  I got a Yoga DVD off of amazon so that I have no excuses when I can't make the Wednesday night class.

3.  House - The attic in our house is finished (basically a large room with some closets and a bathroom).  However we don't really use it, mainly because it is on a separate heating system.  I really want to make it into a functional room to keep clutter out of our downstairs living room and spare bedroom.  We recently had our cable turned off and our TV (which was actually Clay's dads) taken back.  So I have been re-arranging our living room and painting, and want to make the upstairs a sewing/office/workout room.  Putting it into words it sounds simple, but figuring it all out and getting it all organized without spending a lot of money is gonna take some thought.  And I am sure that as I start to spend more time upstairs, which has that awful vinyl wood paneling, I will want to hide those walls somehow...and yet another project.

Clay got his Dutch Bros Coffee! (Only available in Oregon, and Redding, CA)

Me running


Clay and I have spent quite a few weekends traveling lately, and I am getting really excited about the few weekends ahead where we get to stay close to home.  This last weekend we headed down to Asheville, NC where his sister and her husband were in town visiting and had rented a house.  Clay's parents also came down.  It was a short trip but I was very glad to see Asheville, what a cool town!  We went to a farmers market Saturday morning (it was spitting snow!) and got some unpasteurized apple cider.  Yum! So excited to drink it.  Clay also got some lamb sausage which he is quite excited about.  We also visited a bike shop, the outdoor store, and went for a run on the Mountains to Sea Trail.  Here is a picture I took from my run.
I had a nice run by myself.  Clay ran with Jimmy and Kara ran with their parents.  It was a great to visit with them though it was a short trip. 

Last weekend we went down to the Amish close to where Clay's grandma lives, and bought a bushel of apples.  I love homemade applesauce so I figured I would make some.  I also like to use applesauce in my baking.  I needed to get a new foodmill since the one I have seems to drip a black liquid in the sauce..ewww.  We ordered one on amazon and it just came today, so I will make lots of applesauce this weekend.  I may also try making some apple pie filing and freezing it.  Clay and I are always the ones in charge of making desserts for the holidays with his family.

My running is coming along nicely, today I ran the fastest I ever have a a short 4+ mile trail near the house that we run most weekdays.  Clay was pretty excited for me :).  I am thinking about Promised Land 50k this spring, which is a tough one, but I think I will be up for the challenge.  I definitely don't want my first 50k to be easy and flat!  Just hope that my feel and IT band stay healthy!

Happy Fall Everyone!


Here We Go

So... No race report from the Boulder Marathon except ran well for not having a long run at all leading up to the race. Also fought some tightness and work issues which took a big bite out of training time/schedule. God is good though, He blessed me and the family time and I managed to run a 3:08 and a few seconds which somehow got me into Boston this year!

Now all my running is centered on long runs and getting ready for Lookout Mtn 50 mile. Ran 3.5 hrs on the 8th and this past Saturday had the opportunity to travel up to Beverly, WV and go for a solid 5hr run at Spruce Knob with Adam Casseday. This weekend looks like a long run on the AT and then a 4 mile night trail race in Roanoke, VA with Caitlin on Saturday, followed up with another long run on Sunday.
Happy Trails!

The falls on Seneca Creek.