Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars

We love chocolate and we love peanuts/PB, so when Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars came up on Sally’s Facebook page, it definitely went on the “recipes to try” list. I had bought almond meal for a previous recipe that I never actually made, and I had bought dates for another round of Date Cake, so we actually had all of the ingredients necessary (although regular sized chocolate chips vs minis).

I was tempted to just eat the honey/PB/almond meal/vanilla mixture with the mixing spoon.

honey pb

I refrained. (Note: we made these a second time yesterday and added a little bit of molasses, which is also yummy)

I did try to chop up the chocolate chips a little, but FYI, the food processor really just makes chocolate dust, not smaller chips. It takes some patience and a little muscle to mix this stuff up well and then press it into the pan. Pretty sure mine were way thicker than Sally’s.

choc pb bars in pan

I’ve made some different granola/energy type bars before, this is the first one that included baking time. And after the baking time is a lot of cooling time, both on the rack and in the fridge. I opted not to add the extra chocolate on top, even though it looks pretty in the pictures.

baked choc pb bars

choc pb bar

Do they look yummy or what?!? As a matter of fact, they are incredibly yummy. I am planning to try and use them instead of snickers for my upcoming long run. The biggest problem I foresee with this plan is that they might get too sticky, but I’m willing to risk it.


Hey, Has Anyone Seen My Running Mojo?

Two weeks ago I ran a hilly 6 miler, and it felt pretty good. I even had some fun the last .5 after a neighbor offered me a cabbage which prompted some funny looks from passers by. It’s not every day you spot someone running with a water bottle in one hand and a cabbage in the other. I joked that some people get medals for running a 10k, but I got a cabbage.

run cabbage

I wore my new Hoka Clifton 3s and my new Sparkle Skirt, both of which felt good. Love the leg pockets on the skirt!

Two weeks ago was the last time I saw my mojo. I’ve gotten the majority of my miles in since then, not all, but I have had the internal battle each time. “I don’t want to run/don’t feel like running/feel old/feel creaky/have too much to do/it’s too hot/tired of the treadmill/etc/etc/etc vs I have to run/it’s good for me/I know I’ll be happy when I’m done/feel better when I’m done/be proud of myself/I signed up for this race so I have to train/I signed up for more than just a race WHAT WAS I THINKING/running is fun…

The constant internal battle is exhausting, so if you see my mojo, please tell it to come back because I miss it. Thanks!

New Sneaks New Training Cycle

It’s that time once again, since back in April I (insanely) decided to register for another race. Actually, 3 races…two shorter events on Saturday and a Half on Sunday. I have so many incredibly amazing running friends who eat endurance events for breakfasts, and I wanted to be like them (and the medals from last year were WAY cool).

Most of my amazing friends could go out and do the three events I registered for without breaking a sweat. But for me, every mile is an effort, and it takes me a long time to build up enough umph to make it through a Half, let alone adding a good chunk of miles the day before. Unlike the Half in April, my goals for race weekend have nothing to do with speed, and everything to do with getting to each finish line. It will be a bonus if I can get to the finish line of the Half and feel human!

Whether it was a good idea or not, I registered, so here I go with the 14 week training plan again. I am going to stick with the same plan I used for the April event, but I’m bumping the Fri/Sun miles to Sat/Sun to get used to running longer back-to-back miles. We’ll see how that goes and whether I’ll need to do that on alternating weeks in order to save my legs…and sanity.

Just in time for the new training cycle came new sneakers. You all may remember my Sneaker Rant a few months back. I was very unhappy, and I wasn’t the only one, about the changes that Hoka One One made to the Cliftons when designing the 2’s. Well, the 3’s came out on July 1, I bought a pair that day, and they arrived a week later.

clifton 3s

Thank goodness Hoka went back to a lot of the things I loved about the original Clifton. The sneaks immediately felt good when I put them on. I’m pretty sure my feet were actually telling me they were happy! I’ve since run in them twice. The first time was a 5 miler on the treadmill. Outside of a little heat on the balls of my feet towards the end, they were great. The second was a outdoor 3.6 miler and again, overall great, just a few little things that I think will work themselves out.

Speaking of that 3.6 miler, it was yesterday morning. I woke up a little late and started talking myself into just heading to the dreadmill in the basement. This, of course, was after I had to talk myself out of ditching the run completely. In the end, I got my rear in gear and drove to my usual running spot.

It was an incredibly beautiful morning and I was so very glad I pushed myself out the door.

mm morning run

It was a morning for running outside. It was a morning made for reflection on the seemingly insane world we live in. It was a morning for me to try and appreciate running alone, which is not one of my strengths.  It was even a morning for a few hill repeats.

A Beautiful Friday Morning Run

I have one of my running partners back as of a few weeks ago. It’s been great to have her company again. I have spent way less time on the treadmill in the last few weeks and therefore, more time appreciating being outside as the sun comes up.

This morning was perfect in every way.

sunrise run

sunrise run 2

We even had a greeter at the memorial park where we run.

mm doe

mm deer

I was happy the greeter kept her distance while we logged 3.5 lovely miles.

Hoka One One released the Clifton 3s today and I ordered a pair. I have been impatiently waiting. They are supposed to much more like the original Cliftons. I have beat my Cliftons into the ground, so I am REALLY hoping the 3s work.

Half Marathon Race Report

It was an amazingly beautiful day. It was a day filled with in-person and virtual support beyond what i anticipated. Although hubby is on the injured list for running, he brought his bike so he could find me several times on the course.

spectator hubby

I have an amazing group of online running friends, one of whom lives close enough to where the event was located that she came to cheer. Not only did she arrive to cheer, but she brought a sign, with messages from the other amazing ladies in our group. BEST. SIGN. EVER!!!


Another bonus was spending time with a high school friend, both at the expo on Saturday, and before/after the race on Sunday. I’ll get back to her later in this post.

It started out on the chilly side, temp around 40, but was supposed to be crystal clear with bright sun and warm up into the 60s. A little hard to figure out what to wear. In order to try and avoid being too hot later, I dressed for the warmth, but boy, was I freezing at the start. So cold, that my leg muscles were feeling pretty tight. Luckily I’m such a slow runner that I felt I would be okay in terms of my muscles warming up once the starting gun went off.

It is an overall great course, with great volunteers and spectators. The worst part of the course (in my opinion) is an early out-n-back on roads with very cambered (slanted) surfaces. It’s not a flat course, lots of hills, most shorter and steeper, and I knew where they all were from previous times I participated. I felt like I was keeping a reasonable pace, pretty much on target for my PR, even with the hills, up until mile 10ish. There were quite a few hills in the beautiful parkway area of the course, and though I didn’t realize it, I must have lost some time in there.

Hubby was amazing and found me multiple times along the way, which really helped and made me happy. He was also my own personal course photographer. Here are two of my favorites, where you can see the beauty of the middle course miles .

beautiful course

course creek

In the past, I have had IT Band issues on this course, due to the cambered surfaces and the steeper downhills. I was able to make it to mile 12 before it happened this time. I was close enough to the finish that I pushed through and kept running. It’s a long last half mile-ish at the end, where you can hear the announcer and see the stadium, but it doesn’t seem to get closer as fast as you think it should be getting closer.

I had spent time during my miles thinking about my family and friends and using them as inspiration. I made sure to thank first responders, race volunteers and even some spectators. I knew I wanted to finish strong with or without a PR (I had figured out around mile 11 that the PR was not happening). Just about when I was ready to fade, my high school friend showed up. She had finished (a lot) earlier, ran her own PR, and stayed to wait for me. Not only that, but she ran back along the course to find me and run me in. Her timing couldn’t have been more perfect.

last hill

That’s her on the right in the blue, and my running friend clapping on the left. They both ran with me up the final hill into the stadium while hubby took the pics and cheered. I felt so many warm fuzzies! I did finish strong and I felt the best ever after a finish. I missed a PR by 1:04, but ran my best time in 7 years by almost 3 minutes.


The quads and IT Band are sore, I’m feeling the ouch today, but I am using that as a reminder of a great day. I feel so lucky that I was able to spend the weekend with my parents, get cheering and props from my girls, have the support of my hubby and my amazing friends, and have my hard work this training cycle pay off.

I also may have registered for another Half at the expo…as well as a 5k and a 10k the day before…uh oh!

Thank you to EVERYONE who was part of my support crew, near and far!!



Am I Ready?

It’s the big question when an event is a week away. It’s the question people ask me and it’s the question I ask myself. I only missed one run in 14 weeks, and over the last few weeks I’ve maybe missed 2 miles overall. It’s the closest I have EVER stuck to a training plan. I haven’t had as many strong long runs as I would have liked, but most of my weekday miles have felt good.

I was reading Mark Remy’s article in Runners World last night in which he reflects on what he’s learned about running over the past 20 years. The two things that stand out are that there is no way to predict what will happen on race day, and if you wait until you need a trip to the port o potty, it’s too late.

The first is something I’ve said over and over to myself and to others. There are so many variables in the form of things we can’t control. It can be way hotter, or colder, or wetter, or windier than any weather we have trained in. We can start out too fast, or too slow, or tweak something, the dreaded IT Band can crash the party, we can randomly get blisters, or have GI issues, etc. We can also have all of the stars align and have an amazing run.

The potty reference made me laugh, especially with the additional note on the very bottom of the page that if you learn only one thing from the column, learn this. It’s good to laugh.

I’m already stalking the weather. I’m already starting to lay out stuff to pack…clothing, nutrition, both pairs of sneakers, body glide, water bottle, etc. I will have way more stuff shoved in my bag than necessary, but I want to have race day options depending on what the weather actually is that morning.


I am definitely looking forward to a taper week of fewer miles in order to rest up. I guess the answer to the big question is, yes.

Sneaker and Training Update

It is Week 12 of Half Marathon Training. I think that I am ready for the Half now, that a 12 week plan might be better. I did miss one run this cycle, and I’ve adjusted 2 or 3 to be slightly shorter or longer. I also switched last Sunday’s 10 miler with this Sunday’s 6 miler. I felt that a 3 week taper for a half was too long, so I actually did 6.7 last Sunday.

The weather has not been especially cooperative with wind and near record cold temps. Saturday night’s low will be close to 20 with the high on Sunday barely reaching 40. Yesterday morning our outdoor thermometer showed 17.9. I think Mother Nature is taking the April Fool’s prankster stuff too the extreme at this point.

Both of my running partners are now out with injuries. I will be on my own for the race. Certainly, it will not be the first time I’ve run solo on race day, as I’ve done two full marathons on my own and numerous half events.

Remember this picture?

Lonely at the back

I am sad though that they are both hurting and I miss them on the training runs.

Way back, I wrote a post about the Hoka One One Clifton 2s and the Odysseys. I sent them both back. I will try the Clifton 3s when they come out in the fall as a Hoka rep emailed with information that the 3s will be going back much closer to the original Clifton design. But since sending the Oddyseys back, I tried the Altra Paradigm, which I liked for the running, but not the walking part of my intervals. The Altra Paradigm is a zero drop shoe and unfortunately, it made me feel almost like I was falling on my heel during my walks.

So, I have since gone back to the Saucony Triumph, which is what I wore before the Hokas. The Hoka Cliftons are a 5mm drop from heel to toe, the Saucony Triumph ISO 2s have an 8mm drop. I really love the feel of the sneaker, the padding/padded tongue is pretty awesome. The fit is great, though I did decide to go with and extra half size larger than I had previously worn.

h and s sneaks

The Triumph definitely has less padding under the ball of the foot, but so far it seems to be working out. You wouldn’t think that the extra 3mm would make a difference in gait, but I do have to watch that I’m not catching my heels each step.

sneaks side view

I divided a few runs, so as to wear each pair for some of the miles. I have run a 5 miler and a 6 miler in just the Triumphs. I think I might wear the Triumphs for the 10 miler this weekend. Then I will need to decide which pair to run in for the Half. You can see how battered the Cliftons are, truly my most favorite pair of sneakers EVER. Might need them as a security blanket on race day. I’ll keep you posted on the decision.

Quick fun fact, from January-March I logged 178.3 miles. Pretty sure that is a record setting first quarter for me.


A Stunning Saturday

It was 22.8 degrees when I woke up yesterday and it felt COLD. We spent the early half of the morning cleaning, working on the bathroom, doing the glamorous things that dog owners do (cleaning the yard). We then drove almost an hour to visit a small running store I read about online because, although I’ve tried not to whine about it, I’m still looking for new sneakers that will work for me. It turns out the shop had closed, but luckily a new one opened in the same location. The owners were very nice and took time to chat and tried hard to help. I will be doing a mile or two on the treadmill tomorrow to try out the new pick and I will report back. Today I’ll be in the beat up Cliftons for a 9 miler.

By the time we got home, the sky was a beautiful blue, it was super sunny but the air was cool. It was an absolutely stunning Saturday afternoon, just my favorite weather. The sky made a beautiful backdrop for the blossoms on our apricot trees. Hopefully, the beautiful blossoms will lead to many apricots.

apricot blossoms

Fargo loves loves loves to hang outside with us. I caught him in a rare, quiet moment.

fargo tree

I started the fun job of pulling staples out of the old sections of fence so that we can reuse the coated wire for the new fence. You can see that the wood had really disintegrated in places. This is partly because I insisted on using untreated wood near the place where we grow food. It did last way longer than we anticipated, so that was nice.

broken fence

And, to top the day off, I tried a new recipe. I had almost all of the ingredients (we are sorely in need of a trip to the grocery store) for 5 Ingredient Granola Bars. I did have to substitute cashews in for almonds. The recipe says you can add other ingredients, so I also included dried cranberries and some mini dark chocolate chips.

The dates I had this time were much more moist than the last batch, which was exactly how they needed to be for this.


I opted to toast the oats, though I’m not sure if it made a huge difference in texture or taste. Here they are, with the rest, ready for the pb and honey.

dry granola

I did my best to press it all down as tightly packed as possible. It mostly held together when I took it out of the glass dish.

granola bar slab

I think I will try it without the cranberries next time. For some reason, even though I didn’t really put that many in, the cranberries seemed to overwhelm the flavor of everything else for me. Hubby had no complaints 🙂

granola bars


Week 10

Week 10 is over, only 4 more weeks to go. Apparently Week 10 is when I get weary. I did a long run two weeks ago on Sunday and then last week’s long run on Saturday. That meant a 30 mile week, which was a lot. Maybe that day made a difference, or maybe Week 10 is just when I get tired if I really stick to a training plan. Which I did. Until today.

I have had a twinge in my left achilles for a few days. It’s nothing major or painful, just a twinge now and again, but it’s making me a bit nervous. The twinge, in addition to the weariness led me to shorten this morning’s run. I only cut off 1.4 miles of a 5 mile run, but in doing so, I broke the training plan streak.

Rationally, I know it means nothing overall in terms of race day. And really, with what is going on in the world and in the lives of some of my friends, it means even less than nothing. I knew before I got on the treadmill this morning that I was going to shorten the run and I knew it would bother me, and it’s still bothering me. I always tell people to “listen to your body,” and that’s what I did. Apparently listening to your body is easier said than done.

Week 10 also brought some nice weather. I had a decent 4 miler outside on Wednesday and then Fargo and I took advantage of the sun and warmth to hang outside and play (and do some weeding).

fargo running

Then the boys did some playing.

t fargo playing

t fargo bumper

Hoping for a nice long run on Sunday and that next week, the miles (and the body) feel better.


Celebrating Spring With Seed Starting

Yesterday I got the garden seeds started. There are only 2 trays this year as we are determined to have fewer plants to tend in order to focus on projects on the to-do list. Fewer tomatoes this year, no brussels sprouts or cabbage or beans or peas, etc. We are planning a smaller herb/lettuce garden and then tomatoes, peppers (lots of those for canning), cucumbers, sweet potatoes and winter squash.


I started four types of peppers, two types of tomatoes, and a random assortment of broccoli seeds from a “broccoli blend” packet.

seed starts

Hubby got the shelves and the lights set up. This will be their home for the next 2+ months.

I logged the first double digit mile run yesterday since MCM training last Fall. We ran a day early because the weather predictions for today were pretty dicey. The weather today, as it turns out, is fine…cold, but dry. But it was a reasonably good 10 miler, with great company, quite a few hills (walked the largest one), a few longer waits at traffic lights, lost gloves (but found them later) and a little sun here and there. Nine weeks of training completed!