This day started off with my four legged running partner.  It's was actually her walk/run not really mine.  I'm making my best efforts to get her out every day for some quality time and she is loving it... of course!  I did want to mention one of my favorite things which is her leash.  We discovered it out of me forgetting her leash, a common theme in my life, and having to stop to buy one on our way to Coeur D'Alene.  

This leash comes from a company called Cycle Dog.  They are environmentally friendly, huge bonus, and have created my favorite dog leash ever.  It also helps that it's made of recycled tire tubes so it's a little stretchy and doesn't burn your hand if they pull.  They come in super cool designs and if you are so inclined, with a bottle opener.  I didn't utilize that on our 7am walk but I'm sure it could come in handy!  Check out the collars/leashes HERE on my new, Favorites Page: Four Legged Friends
My day got infinitly better when I joined Eric for his run on the trail.  This isn't actually where we ran but I had to post this picture because it's my favorite part of Centennial Trail.  Thank you to the people who grow these amazing Dhalias, they always make my day!
Things got even better when we decided it was lunch time!  Our plan was to try Cafe Soul, still craving Cuban food after seeing Chef.  They aren't open for lunch so we ventured on.  Eric offered a few suggestions but I gave him the "5 minute warning", which means I need to eat NOW! Fortunately, Brooklyn Bros has pizza by the slice and some really amazing salads.  Not gluten or dairy free...and that's ok!
I wanted to say thanks for a fun day so I decided to make Eric some lunch for work the next day.  Thankfully, he isn't picky!

Blue Fire Egg Salad (enough for 1 large sandwich)
2 eggs - mashed (I use the potato masher)
mayo
dill or sweet relish
mustard
salt and pepper
smoked paprika

Mix it all up and serve between a couple slices of bread or on a salad!
Who are your favorite running partners?

What's your thank you languange?
 
 
I've taken a little unplanned writing hiatus.  It started with a blog about Lake Stevens 70.3 which I still can't seem to wrap up.  It's almost done but rendered me silent.  The silence was perpetuated by a bunch of great books that I couldn't put down and then of course the final gasps of summer vacation to get in with the girls.

Now that school has started I thought I would have all this extra time on my hands.  New priorities have taken over such as; vacuming (every so often), trying to get dishes done as well as more passable amounts of laundry.  There is something awesome about not training for Ironmans I just might start to like.

We've had some very special moments in these past few weeks and eaten some wonderful food along the way.  In the break I've become excited about new food adventures, cooking and writing about it all again.

I'm also excited to expand my blog and now am a "Girls Gone Sporty" ambasador.  GGS is a network of healthy bloggers helping to make the world a healthier place!  I'm excited the Blue Fire Life will be a part of it!

Here's a few of our recent Blue Fire Life journeys:
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At the beach with Grandma Bonnie and Lars.  We are trying a new food journey each month, exploring different cuisine from around the world.  We picked Sweden for September which is pretty cool because we have family there.  Lars who is like family is from Sweden too.  We added some Swedish fish to our snack.  Salty licorice would have been a bit more authentic but Swedish fish are FUN!
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Eric and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniverary!  We went to the movie, Chef, which I LOVED.  FYI - If you are sensitive to swearing, the restaurant kitchen language is pretty authentic!  Also: If you are going, have a really great dinner spot picked ahead of time.  You will want Latin food!  We found some great Greek Food in Kirkland!
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Payton and I caught a little run together!  I love how running together provides the perfect time to talk.  She's turning 10 in December so there is a lot to talk about!
Marley's favorite spot is helping me out in the kitchen.  This morning we added the chocolate covered sunflower seeds from Trader Joe's to our pancakes.  GREAT IDEA!  Marley says she wants to be a chef someday.  The fact that she picked the celery flavor out of a dish I made recently with celery seeds shows me she just may have the sense of taste!
Horse camp was at my Aunt Cathy's house this summer.  As you can see Payton was in her happy place, and Marley is my girl pairing riding boots with running pants!  We enjoyed some fresh from the garden tomatoes that my Uncle Darrold is an expert at growing!
Time for back to school.  I tried making Swedish meatballs for the first time.  Don't worry, they weren't vegan.  I actually loved them and might even write down the recipe the next time I make them.  To celebrate going back to school, we pulled out the china dishes and made a night of it.  The girls loved it and we plan to have "fancy" nights more often.  
Finally we had a very special day with Auntie Fran.  She exudes love for the Lord and an abundance of peace, despite God's big changes in her life.  Thank you for the hike Auntie Fran.  We were honored!!
 
 
The theme for me this week has been time, and how much I'm grateful for it!  I just read two awesome books that really helped me simplify and become more thankful for the time I'm blessed with.

#85 - The Power of Pause, Becoming More by Doing Less - Terry Hershey
Thank you Terry for inspiring time in the garden, to just stand there for even five minutes and take in the gifts.  Even if it's just the eight plants and one strawberry this Mary's garden is now growing.  

#86 - 7 by Jen Hatmaker 
I'm kind of speechless after this book (in a good way) but thankful for the eye opening words.
#87 - This row of bikes that continues to grow.  It isn't about having a huge team, but with each new bike there is a gift of a kid finding something they didn't realize they could do, a wonderful smile and a really cool family to make up an amazing group of supportive parents!

#88 - Time at home - It's been an adjustement learning to balance the new gift of time after deciding to quit my part time job and drastically decrease triathlon training time.  At first, I wanted to fill every spare moment, now I'm realizing the beautiful gifts that come with leaving moments to spare.  Today it was a friend stopping by to give some over the top awesome news...and yay! I was actually home!!  
#89 - Monkey PJs and a strawberry in August!  No further words needed
 
 
#84 - A great run!  I was running with a one of my junior triathletes last night and made her stop so I could snap this shot (and catch my breath!).
 
 
I love how a special recipe, like an old song can trigger a flood of memories.  We see and smell foods, go through chopping, dicing and folding and remember the person who taught us, the kitchen we stood in and the special memories that only our senses seem to be able to conjure.
YEARS ago, I found myself cooking in a kitchen as a part of the Washington State University hospitality program, beginning a journey loving the sights, sounds and smells of the kitchen.  When my college buddy told me about a Summer internship we could apply for at Harvey's Casino in Lake Tahoe, I jumped at the opportunity.  It was the perfect college summer, living with seven people in a condo made for two, watching amazing sunsets and learning realities of life.  Actually, there weren't too many realities; my life was pretty easy and fun.  I woke up in the morning and drove from the Heavenly ski resort down to town where I ran on endless trails and lakeside paths.  Then it was home to wash up and head to work where I landed a job as a "pantry" cook at the Seafood Grotto.  
I LOVED this job so much.  It ranks among the top 5 of my favorite jobs...I've had a lot of jobs so this is saying something.  During my first day on the job, I learned sunburns, polyester chef coats and the hot line do not mix!  Aside from that, I learned cooking.  The chefs treated me great and took me under their wings, teaching me the trade.  This was good because, aside from about 20 hours in the WSU kitchen, I didn't have a clue.  When Chef "Jack" asked me to chop an onion, he realized that I might have been stretching the truth at my job interview when I told him I had "experience" in the kitchen.  He then taught me the proper way.  He also taught me about knives and ingraved the knives I still use in my own kitchen today.  (should probably sharpen those!) The Sous Chef for the entire hotel was, Joe Whales.  Chef Joe saw my love for cooking and was constantly teaching me something new.  

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The view from our condo...not bad!
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A special meal the Chef prepeared for my parents when they came to visit.
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Tahoe was also home to the Bonanza Ranch. Dad and Deb insisted we visit!
Tahoe was so lovely I decided to stay, much to the dispeasure of my hotel and restaurant program at WSU.  I stayed through the Fall and Chef Joe and Chef Jack encouraged me to pursue a career in Culinary Arts.  My passion was for healthy food so I eventually moved home to finish my degree in Nutrition at Bastyr University.  Maybe someday... culinary school:)
Last Monday, as I was preparing food for picnic dinner at Lake Tye to follow swim practice, fresh salsa came to mind.  Specifically peach salsa as we had just picked up a bunch of peaches on our trip home from the Ellensburg Triathlon weekend.  As I began to dice the green peppers, I heard Chef Joe saying, "You HAVE to chop peppers and fruit into uniform size."  I remembered him teaching me how to roast, sweat and peel bell peppers.  I smiled as those memories of him answering my constant questions about when thing were done, "When they’re done."  Continuing to chop peaches into sizes matching the green peppers, I could see the bowl we colorfully combined our salsa into at the Seafood Grotto and taste then hints of jalapeno and lime mixed with the sweet peaches.  My version today is a bit faster to prepare and isn’t quite as deep in flavor.   My memories of Summer in Tahoe remain as flavorful as ever!
Tahoe Peach Salsa

¼ “ diced peaches
¼ “ diced bell peppers

diced red onion
Chopped cilantro
Lemon juice
Lime juice
salt


For my friends who like measurements, I'm sorry!  Just make it look pretty and then season until it tastes the way you like!! But make sure to dice those peppers and peaches in uniform size:)
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Emerlad Cove - one of my favorite Tahoe spots.
 
 
I often get asked the same question when I talk to people about Ironman and camping...  
"What do you eat?"  Here you go...
A few years ago we had a large travel trailer but when making some decisions for me to stay home from work, we decided that was one expense that had to go.  So we purchasesd a big tent and a really cool camp kitchen set up from Cabellas.  To be honest, I really miss that trailer!  But this trip has proven, that tent camping is sure to bring one thing....memories.

To make the memories a little more fun, I decided on this trip to do some prep work.  One thing about camping is it's dirty and I don't really like prepping food with maximum dirt and misquitos flying around.  Plus it's just faster when it's done ahead of time, not to mention, less dishes and water are required.  This all equals out to more time for smores or checking on the weather ap if you are getting ready for and Ironman!
The girls were a huge help!  The day before we left was spent in the kitchen.  We cleaned and chopped our vegetables for the trip; lettuce, potatoes, greens, carrots, zucchini, tomatoes and celery.  Once they were ready to go, we put them in big ziploc bags and labeled for the cooler.  You could use glass or plastic containers too.  We just went with plastic bags so everything would easily fit in the cooler.  The fruit, we left whole because it has a tendancy to go bad after chopping.  Apples, peaches, nectarines and apricots we put in a big plastic container so they wouldn't get bruised.
Our departure was at 6am on Thursday which meant breakfast in the truck!  We saved money by packing our own rather than making a stop for coffee our on our way out of town.  It's pretty easy to find GF waffles which make into a nice little, no too messy, breakfast sandwitch.
If you missed the Ironman race report (here), we had some not-so-lovely thunderstorms on Thursday and Friday nights.  I was up at 2am Friday morning due to a leaky tent.  I was all too ready to make breakfast on Friday.  I've seen people making pancake mix ahead of time but didn't really believe it would work because of the baking soda/powder sitting so long.  I thought I would try it out and yes, it totally works.  I made up a bunch of pancake mix and put it in a big baggie.  We made pancakes all weekend without mixing!
When asked what we eat camping, my reply is usually, "camping food!"  We just have our own little twist.  Veggie Burgers are common.  We pull out a bunch of veggies and warm up the burgers which means very few dishes!!!  Before IM, I made a lot of potatoes too.  Since they were already chopped it was easy to cook them with a little oil, salt and pepper.  If you were really feeling "outdoorsey", you could cook them over the fire in some tin foil!
Race day was really long for the kids, and adults!  They are such troopers and honetly, I have little to do with what they eat when I'm out racing.  I know Eric makes sure they are healthy and happy.  Aparently the resort at Coeur d'Alene has a nice GF treat menu...bonus!  
The day after the race we headed up to Silverwood for some play time.  Althought the spiraled potato and giant ice cream were tempting, we decided to pack our own food and eat out in the parking lot.  When I pack lunches for the kids, especially on these fun days, I like to include special stuff like juice boxes (which I don't always pack for school lunches), dried fruit, favorite chips, and fresh fruit to help them stay hydrated.  This was certainly was a fun adventure of it's own!
We can't forget the smores!!  We use Kinnikinnick GF graham crackers which are SUPER sweet and delicious.  They make one rich smore too!  


What I learned for this WIAW report...plan ahead, make it ahead, make life easy and have fun!
 
 
I'm in a personal transition, aren't we all...pretty much all the time.  Life keeps transitioning.  Sometimes it's the biggies like kids growing up, changing jobs, losing loved ones or getting married.  Other times it's smaller things, maybe ones we don't even notice until we are in them, like that moment you realize you child has grown overnight (ok, that's kind of a biggie), making new friendships, creating new and good habits, getting rid of old and not so good habits or the subtleness of seasons gently changing.  Right now mine feels simple, at the same time I feel God pulling me into new and uncharted territory.  

Recently we took a trip to Silverwood theme park, the day after Ironman Coeur d'Alene.  We decided to take all of the rides as a family, ending up on the "Raging Rapids".  I wasn't so sure how the girls would do on a big water slide.  The wait was about an hour long and we pondered, would this really be worth it.  As all four of us climbed inside a giant inertube headed down a closed and mostly dark tunnel full of water, I wondered how we would all fare.  We did not panic but screamed with joy as our family's innertube slide from side to side down this dark tunnel.  Suddenly the tunnel wasn't under us as we dropped what felt like twenty feet, probaby one or two, only to continue to swirl, scream and laugh our way to the end.  At last, only about 120 seconds from where we began, we were thrust into the sunshine and pool that signaled the end of our ride.  We loved it!  What does this have to do with transition?  Sometimes, this is how they feel, especially the part where the tunnel drops out from us!  We can hold on for dear life and fight it but just like the water rushing down the slide, our life is going to continually transition.   Enjoy the ride!!!
Thankful Thursday 
#81 I'm thankful for a thank you card to Payton and Marley from the Lake City Church in Coeur d'alene. This was the food bank in CDA where they took the second half of their bars from, Keep Going Bars on a Mission. They were so excited they said they want to double their goal for next year!!#keepgoing

#82 Time to relax and rest!  It's a must and we loved having some family time at Silverwood.
#83 Giving away my medals - I LOVE giving away my medals.  For both Ironmans God has clearly told me who my medals would go to.  I wouldn't have it any other way and I will forever cherish the moment I put my Ironman CDA medal around Auntie Fran's neck!  She's an Ironman in my book.
Our race day story here
 
 
It's super hot and I'm not complaining one bit!!  My house gets hot and it's even hotter if I turn on the oven, so we opt for as much cold food as possible.  

Since Ironman my motivation has been a bit lacking on the WIAW department.  Sorry!!!  Today's WIAW is a couple of my favorites:  Blue Fire Oats for breakfast and Mexican Salad for dinner.  In between it's lots of fruits, some chips and hummus and a green smoothie!
I know I eat muesli just about every day.  The summer provides some fun and fresh fruit, even in Blue Fire colors!

Blue Fire Muesli
1 cup gluten free oats
1 Tbs chia/flax blend (blend chia and flax in a coffee grinder)
1/2 cup blueberries (or however many you want!)
1 large apricot chopped
coconut milk
blue agave - if you want sweetener


Boil water and steep oats for 5 mintues.  Top with everything else!  Super easy:)
Mexican Salad


Greens
Equal parts zucchini, carrots and mushrooms
Pinto beans
chopped olives
avacado
salsa


I like to saute the zucchini, carrots, mushrooms and zucchini when the weather is cooler then either warm it up or heat up before putting over greens.  
 
 
Ironman Coeur d' Alene is just days away.  It's an exciting time as we get packed and ready for a family camping trip as well.  As an athlete gets closer to a long event, most consider "tapering" toward their race, which means cutting back on training to allow the body to rest from the trauma of hard training.  You would think this decrease in training hours would also provide the athlete with clear mind, most find the exact opposite happens and a situation referred to as, "taper madness" ensues.

I thought I would dedicate this week's Thankful Thursday to Taper Madness and the fun of race week.  It's been awesome....

65.  Finding my clothes at the pool locker room.  After my swim last week, I realized I had zero idea as to where my clothes were in the locker room.  I did explain this to the other woman there so she didn't think I was ransacking the place!

66.  Finding the salad!  We had friends over for dinner and I went to look for the salad the next day.  After staring at the fridge for about 10 minutes I thought to look in the cupboard.  There was the container, right where I store it, along with the salad.  It was still delicious.

67.  It really doesn't matter what day of the week it is.  And this is good, because I seriously have no clue right now.  I woke up in a panic on Saturday morning, thinking it was Sunday and that I forgot to send off something important.  

68.  A saddle that fits.  Because we know when it doesn't!  I'm so thankful for Todd Aalbu at ProAction PT for a last minute adjustment to my bike fit.  

69.  My kids who remind me to keep it real.  I can't wait to hear what they tell me when I cross the finish line.  Usually it's something like, "I'm hungry".

70.  God who reminds me this big event isn't the biggest thing in my life. 

71.  Prayers for this race - Many people have told me they are praying for this race and I am so grateful! My prayer is to have peace with God's plan for the day and that Keep Going raises more awareness about PTSD and can help erase stigmas so First Responders who need help can get it.

It takes a team for any one person to reach the start line of any race.  I'm so grateful for all of the people who have made it possible for me to go have a big fun day!

72.  Everyone traveling over for the race to volunteer and cheer me on.  

73.  Snohomish Bicycles who has always made it possible for me to have fabulous bikes to ride, and for taking such great care of them for me.  "Martha" is shifting perfectly!

74.  LiAnne Shade, my amazing friend and massage therapist who is always giving more, supporting my adventures and helping my muscles bounce back.

75.  Todd Aalbu, my Physical Therapist who helps put me back together with great conversations about God!

76.  My husband, who works incredibly hard for our family and sees the importance of Keep Going and triathlon, beyond race day.

77.  Every person in my path over the last few years.  I am in awe that I am about to race this weekend.  A year ago, I wasn't sure I would even want to race again.  Here we are!  

78.  My coach, Beth Brewster, who didn't flinch when I told her my crazy dream.  Her coaching style has fit my personality and life perfectly.  

79.  Payton and Marley who endure a lot of my training and are even starting to join me for support on workouts.  Last night they rode their bikes while I ran, talking to me like I was a horse.

80.  This note I received from Marley to help remind me to Keep Going.  A couple of weeks ago, she didn't want to get in the pool for swimming (new teacher).  I tried to get her in, first being nice then, "you're just going to do this".  Finally, a staff member came up and told Marley she could get in with another teacher.  Marley promptly got in and smiled the rest of class.  It was the last day of the session and they got to play in the lazy river (her favorite).  We talked about it after class and I told her it was so great she went to class and then have a wonderful surprise at the end.  I told her about a quote that says, "don't give up because sometimes that's right when the miracle is going to happen."  She later gave me this note.  I will put it at transition on race day.  Thank you God!

 
 
 As race day approaches, I wouldn't say I'm "nerve free" but I am quite impressed I could calmly explained to my girls that running around the grocery story arm in arm really makes it difficult for other's to shop. (especially Trader Joe's)

There have also been signs in "stomach-land".  For one, I'm not as hungry, which does have a bit to do with a drop in training.  I'm making myself eat frequent smaller meals to stay nourished and avoid that zone of low blood sugar where I just might not explain things so well to my girls.  My days have been full of oats and berries, salads and green smooties with a Mary style taco (veggies in a tortilla) or two thrown in.

Last night's dinner: If you eat like the Flinstones, you might want to avert your eyes, ok well that is probably true for most of my pictures!  This one in particular.  I've been craving potatoes and beans, not the most beautiful thing to look at!  It was super tasty :)
Potatoes, Beans and Greens 

Ingredients (per person)
2-3 red potatoes diced and boiled or roasted
beans - any type you please (I like black or pinto), lentils would work too
1 medium zucchini
1 medium carrot
1 ear of cooked corn (removed from husk)
1 large handful of greens (chard or kale)
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste


Saute the harder veggies first.  Start with carrot, then add zucchini and potatoes.  Saute until the carrots and zucchini are slightly tender, then add greens and corn, just to warm.  If you have your potatoes and corn cooked ahead of time, this is a superfast meal!
 

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