First Attempt

I took myself on a date last weekend. I really enjoy dating myself and doing things that most people do with others, all alone. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy spending time with people (sometimes) but lately I prefer to be alone. Just because I’m solo doesn’t mean I can’t explore!

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My date started with my first attempt at solo hiking. I have been wanting to build my confidence and become more comfortable hiking alone, so I went to a popular trail…on a Sunday.20140720-202716-73636118.jpg

Needless to say my first attempt at hiking “alone” didn’t go as I had planned. I wasn’t really alone because there were SO many people on this mountain, and at times I had to weasel my way around them. Sure I came alone, but I didn’t feel alone.

I did feel safe though, perhaps this is a start?

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In order to ditch the crowds I continued climbing past the main vantage point. I brought some homework with me and was pleased to see that the spot I wanted was completely empty. Just me & nature.

…and biology.

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I could get used to doing homework above the trees.

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Post hike I took myself to PCC for a vegan brownie, and then made my way to Whole Foods to balance my brownie out with greens.

I have no words...I need ten more.
I have no words…I need ten more.

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Despite the crowds, I found being alone on this hike to be serene. It’s funny to look back and remember a time when I was so dependent on other people for a lot of things in my life. These days I couldn’t be more independent, it’s such a beneficial quality for me to have.20140720-194346-71026049.jpg

I’ll attempt another solo hike this weekend (I hope.) With my knife, my mace, lots of food, a lighter, and a trail I am familiar with! Any tips?

Q: Do you depend on other people a lot, or do you take your adventures into your own hands at times?

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Mount Washington

Of all the mountains I’ve hiked lately, I feel as though this one is a necessary climb for anyone living in Washington. For obvious reason.

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After a weekend full of activity I found this climb to be somewhat difficult. My legs were heavy, and it took every ounce of energy I had to push me up the steep gradients. Thank goodness for cookies.

Tunnel into the trees.
Tunnel into the trees.

I focused on taking a few more photos along the way opposed to just the photos at the summit. The journey to the top is just as exciting.

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This was the first hike of the year that I had moments where I wasn’t enjoying myself. I know it was because I was tired, but it just goes to show not every climb is full of mountain glitter and confetti.

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Alas, once I made it to the top it was all worth it. As always.

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If you recall from a hike I went on a little over a month ago (under life lesson number five), I almost had to fight a bird for my sandwich. This time, I decided to try and feed the bird myself, because only when I OFFER you my food is it OK to take it. Never without approval.

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They circled, but didn’t take it. How rude.

So I set it down, and then they took it.

Kind of hard to see, but there he is with the cherry in his mouth.
Kind of hard to see, but there he is with the cherry in his mouth.

Despite my moments of weakness this hike was the perfect cap to my fantastic adventurous weekend. I destroyed an entire Chipotle burrito afterwards, and enjoyed a sunset ferry ride home.

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I’ve decided to try educating myself on the local wildflowers and plants on my hikes. I now know the names of the two flowers in this post, and will for sure bust out this knowledge on my next hike!

Q: Do you ever look up wildflowers/bird types/tree types etc..? Having this information makes me feel all “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” 

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See Jane Run

A few weeks ago I won a giveaway for a free race entry from P’s blog. Hands down the best giveaway I’ve ever won. I thought I “should” run the half marathon because it’s the distance I’ve raced for the last two years, but I decided to run the 5K. Best decision of the week.

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I hadn’t run a 5K “race” since April 2012, and to be honest 5K races really aren’t my thing these days. I don’t usually have a desire to spend $$ on a 3 mile race, but this run was a nice change of pace.

Everything about this race was on point. Everything.

It could have been because of my delicious breakfast brought to you by the lady Siren of Starbucks (Komodo Dragon drip coffee-black as night), and a vegan/gluten free pumpkin ginger muffin from The Flying Apron (a local/new to me company I am obsessed with!)

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THOSE GINGER PIECES!
THOSE GINGER PIECES!

It could have been because this was the first race I didn’t stress about arrival/time(MY GARMIN DIED ON ME so I didn’t even use it for the run)/weather/fuel-the joy of a short run means minimal everything.

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It could have been the amazing location, with some of the best views I’ve seen on a run. We ran by the water for 80% of the 3.1 miles.

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See that concrete?? That is the running path. HELLO WATER VIEW!
See that concrete?? That is the running path. HELLO WATER VIEW!

It could have been the atmosphere that was overwhelmingly positive, supportive, and full of fun activities. Such as a chalk board to write why you run, a post race photo booth, and posters for spectators.

My addition to the "I run because" board. I run for food, and for a healthy life...full of food.
My addition to the “I run because” board. I run for food, and for a healthy life…full of food.
NOT MY addition, but valid reasoning.
Bottom right…someone had a different idea. Valid reason…

It could have been the girl I focused on staying with, whom I thanked after for helping me run my new race PR. If I wasn’t running the half I told myself I had to push it for the 5K. Come to find out, having me on her tail pushed her as much as me chasing her pushed me. Win.

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It was so hot out, I was a legit hot mess…this photo booth was very forgiving of my sweaty face.

It could have been the immense sense of independence and power I felt in running another race among 100′s of other women. I totally choked up while reading the “motto” of this race.

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OR it could have been the swag bag full of food I got after the race, along with a glass of champagne and a chocolate coconut bar. I’m not a fan of champagne, or any booze really so I only drank a few sips.  My post race treat was to come later, another C word…take a guess.

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I got a medal…for a 5K! This NEVER happens..too legit.

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I’m normally a chocolate cupcake connoisseur, but this carrot vanilla cake from the heavens was so.damn.good. After the race/stuffing my face with this cupcake beauty I wandered the area and then ended up heading to Green Lake for a few more miles.

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I will definitely do this race again, but next year I would like to run the half. If you have a SJR event in your area (two in CA, one in WA, and one in KS) I HIGHLY suggest you run it. There were even a few men!

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OH-and for all you number lovers, my official time was 28:25 (9:09 pace), which is 1:33 faster than my previous race PR. I say “race PR” because I’ve run 3.1 milers on my own time that were quicker. My best EVER in general was at a 9:01 pace. SO CLOSE to sub 9min/mi.

Also, I’ve not run under 9:30 miles in months, this was indeed a push.

Q: What was one of your proudest accomplishments from last week?

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Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars

I didn’t plan on posting today, or even posting this recipe at all. I had a couple people ask for it though, and I decided that I wanted to link up with the Virtual Vegan LINKY Potluck, the only link up I ever participate in! Any excuse for baked goods is a good excuse!

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With an abundance of raspberries in my house these days, it’s no surprise we’ve been creating all kinds of raspberry based recipes.

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This recipe cred actually goes to my mom, the angel that had these delicious bars baked and ready for consumption the moment I arrived home after a morning run in the hot hot sun.

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We made these gluten free, but you can easily sub whole wheat flour if you prefer. Either way, prepare for a raspberry flavor bomb.

Raspberry Oat Crumble Bars (V/GF)

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Ingredients

For the cake: 

  • 1 1/2 cups GF flour (I suggest Namaste Perfect Flour Blend)
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil cut in pieces
  • 1  chia egg  (1 tbsp ground chia and 3 tblsp of water)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

For the crumble topping:

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tblsp of gluten free flour
  • pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 tblsp coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

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Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and oil an 8in square baking pan.
  2. For the crumble topping stir together the brown sugar, flour, and nutmeg in a small bowl. Cut in your coconut oil* with a knife and mix-stir until it resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in pecans and oats.  Set aside.
  3. For the cake stir together the flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Cut in your coconut oil* until mixture is crumbled. Add chia egg, almond milk, and vanilla. Stir until combined.
  4. Pour batter into your pan and scatter your raspberries evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the set aside crumble topping evenly over  the berries. Bake until cake is well risen and golden- about 50 minutes.
  5. Remove, let cool, serve, and ENJOY!

Notes: *You don’t want to use melted coconut oil for this recipe, but solid oil can be difficult to cut. Allow your oil to be somewhat softened as if you were using room temperature butter.

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I suggest serving these with a side of more berries, some banana, alongside your morning coffee, or underneath a blob of vanilla coconut ice cream. These were gone in a couple days, and now I need to decide what to make next! Suggestions welcomed! :)

Q: How are you taking advantage of summer berries? We’re on our second batch of fresh picked, local raspberries. We’ve gone through almost fifteen containers.

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Fancy That

I find it quite comical how my mind/mood works.  It’s not uncommon for me to feel a certain way inside, and the moment I express those feelings to the outside world they change. Indecisive much!?

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Case in point – anytime I feel like I’m in a running funk and I express it on the blog, I get the urge to run. So I’ve been running lately, not far, but I’ve been running. Partially to balance out the treats I’m enjoying.

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An abundance of raspberries means a crumble cake is in order.

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I find that when I remove the stress, or feelings of pressure from something, everything else just falls into place. Once I switched from the half marathon to the 5K for a race I ran yesterday, I was no longer dreading the idea of running and it became rejuvenating again.

Fancy that.

Pre race snacks, because even a 5K warrants a trip to Whole Foods.
Even a 5K warrants a trip to Whole Foods.

I’ll have a post dedicated to the race,  because it was too good of a run not to talk about. My entire weekend was good actually. The day before the race I went to spend time with a friend and explore.

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It was a fantastic day. Today I’m back to exploring the mountains, it’s been 11 days since my last climb!! Thank you 4 day weekend! :)

Q: Do you ever feel emotionally indecisive when you make a choice one way or another? I’m even worse when it comes to purchasing things. 

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A Place of Zen

The older I get the more I realize how fluid life is, constantly changing and flowing in different directions. If you’re not prepared to bend and mold with the moving currents, reality tends to slap you in the face.

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As I stated a few posts ago, blogging has taken a bit of a back seat to other things in my life. Once upon a time I blogged every other day, but now I’m lucky to get 1-2 posts a week in. C’est la vie.

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Between work, school, and spending all my free time in the mountains I have changed my priorities around. Blogging has taken its place in hot seat number four. I stressed about this for all of 2 minutes before I reminded myself why I blog. I blog because I enjoy it, not because I have to.  Blogging is a hobby, to be done when I decide.

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My latest mountain extravaganza was one that I have wanted to check off my list for a few years now. I attempted to find this trail head in May 2012 (thank you blog archives) but was unsuccessful.

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I couldn’t be happier I tried again because this takes the cake for my favorite hike thus far. The Olympic Mountains have some of the most gorgeous valleys, and talk about breath taking views of the Cascades.

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Food tastes better up here.
Food tastes better up here.

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I literally sat in the same spot staring at these mountains for 20 minutes. I was waiting for Julie Andrews to run out from behind one of these hills singing about how they are alive, but she didn’t show.

If I could build a tiny cabin anywhere in the world this is where it would be. I am either extremely under traveled, or I just adore the area I live in. I’ll say a little bit of both.

20140704-140033-50433574.jpg20140704-140034-50434566.jpgI know I talk about it a lot, but hiking has really captured my soul lately. So much that I rarely think about running, and instead my thoughts are filled with high trees and snow capped mountains.

It’s bizarre at times to think about how much my life has changed when it comes to running. I still love it (most of the time), but it’s not like it was when I first started. I feel like I’ve found something in hiking that I can completely call my own. Running has always had a slight connection to a part of my life that changed a long time ago.

This is what I look like at 6280 ft, about the clouds, and with the sun in my face.
This is what I look like at 6280 ft, above the clouds, and with the sun in my face. OH and with a mountain sprouting from my head, look closely! Mt. Baker hat. 
I went to the bathroom near a bush with this as my view. I could get used to that.
I went to the bathroom near a bush with this as my view. I could get used to that.

I’ve learned to change accordingly with my life as it continues to move forward. I have my moments of reminiscence, but I embrace each day for its own fresh start. Life is good, and I’m in a place of zen.

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Really what it all boils down to is perspective. Change your mind, change your life. The mountains look better when you’re at the top.

 Q: How do you handle the unavoidable changes life throws your way?

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Does It Make Me…

Does it make me un-American if I say I didn’t watch fireworks on the fourth of July? I did eat some Mac and Cheese though, which I think balances out the former sentence. Vegan of course, and Brittany-fied.

Tomatoes, jalapenos, broccoli, and avocado added to the mix.
Tomatoes, jalapenos, broccoli, and avocado added to the mix.

Does it make me innovative for chopping up some chocolate salted almonds for my banana/oat cookies because they’re all I had? I totally turned on the oven despite the 80 degree temps. Priorities.

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I just really wanted to use my fancy knives.

Does it make me a lazy runner for switching from a half marathon to a 5K this weekend? I can’t pretend to be Zues anymore, running 13 miles with zero training just isn’t going to work. So I’ll run 3 miles and then eat donuts as if I ran 13. This sounds much better to me.

This has nothing to do with running a race, but they portray why I am not in running shape. Hiking shoes = hiking instead of running.
This has nothing to do with running a race, but they portray why I am not in running shape. Hiking shoes = hiking instead of running.

Does it make me inappropriate for saying that due to the aforementioned comment about the warmer temps, I’ve been sleeping with minimal zero clothing? I want to die every night. 1340852415288_4554643 Does is make me obsessed if I can’t stop eating/thinking about the flat of raspberries in my kitchen? Local, organic, and only $10! 10487574_292625327576383_7410243701857733465_n Does it make me a genius for unintentionally figuring out how to soften dates? I left them in my car and the hot temps made them so perfect. Soft mushy sugary heaven for my crunchy salty rice cake. 008 Does it make me easy to please if my morning cup of coffee at home right now is already the highlight of my day? I’ve been opening at work every day the last week, and coffee on the go is nothing like coffee at home with nothing but empty, quiet space around you. 20140501-072329 Does this make me an acrophile? 1487741_291318497707066_8680488190572085406_o Q: Finish the sentence, “Does it make me…?” atterned-n

Balance is bliss

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