Sunday, 19 April 2015

Race Community

I enjoy every race that I do. They have all been good and I have been glad to have done them. Something stuck out to me this past race. I have noticed it before, but I thought about it more this time. That thing is the community in a race together. It is such a neat experience that you do not know these people, yet there is a sense that you are all in it together. 

Before the race, people are stretching, walking, jogging, snacking, etc. As that happens, there are small conversations. "This is my first race." "Wow, great, hope it goes well." There is talk about the course. There is also a focus, concentration and seriousness in the air. There is a nervous energy, plus excitement all mixed together. There is more prepping; GPS watches coming to life, earbuds being put in, more stretching, walking, shaking out muscles to get ready.

The music gets louder. The announcer builds up to the start gun, and bang! We're off!

Runners take off. Usually, it there is a little wait to get past the start line, people walk up towards it and start the run. The crowd is thick. Runners weaving around each other. Then the line of runners starts to thin. I notice the people around me. Sometimes there are people to pass. Sometimes others pass you. The race continues. Up hills, down hills, past water stops. People are on the side of the course cheering. Police officers are directing the traffic to keep runners safe. The running continues. I check my GPS watch often, how is the pace? Several miles in, it's time for a snack. I had a Chocolate Honey Stinger pack, yum! More energy added, more miles to go. And then the finish line is in sight. In this race, I knew I was close to my record. When I saw the finish line, I ran as fast as I possibly could past it. I did it! PR by 15 seconds. 

As I walked around, I was greeted by some of the runners that I had been running near. What a neat feeling! "Great race!" said one lady. She finished a little before me. We agreed that after about 10 miles, we were ready for the race to be over. The course was a hilly one. There was a guy who said that he had been pacing off of me for the first 10 miles. Wow, I thought. I don't know what happened after that, either he slowed down or I did. We stood around drinking water, eating oranges and waiting for results. There were several conversations about the course, the hills, the timing. What fun!  There were physical therapists to stretch us out. Oh how I love those people at the end of a race!

Races are tiring. There are points when I wonder "what am I doing?" and "can I make it?" and "just keep going!". And yet when it is over, I don't really remember those parts. I remember the good parts. I remember that I finished. That the day was a good one. That the race was pretty, the volunteers were helpful, the course had people cheering. And I think about what race I can do next. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Making Almond Milk

I enjoy making things. That could mean crafts or food. There is something great about the temporary state and the experience when making food. It is making art that you get to experience. It also is good for the time and then gone. There is something special about the temporary nature of it, it's an experience, not a monument and it is enjoyable. 

I also like knowing what is in my food. Plus there is a sense of satisfaction, "I did that." Recently, I have started making almond milk. It turns out, it is pretty easy. (and tasty) 

I have gotten really excited about how easy almond milk is to make and have told many people about it. Since so many people have asked for the steps, I thought I would share them here. Ready?

1. Soak 1 cup almonds in water for at least 7 hours. 
2. Rinse them and drain the water.  

 3. Add 25 ounces of water, filtered perhaps, to the blender, then add your almonds. Blend for a little bit.

4. Pour the mixture through cheese cloth, a milk bag, or I use a thin white kitchen towel. Squeeze the almond pulp to get all of the milk.

5. That's it! I add some vanilla and put it in a jar in the fridge. It separates more than the store bought, so you may need to shake it. It lasts about 5 days or so. Sometimes, I make less by just adjusting the almonds/water amount but keeping the ratio.

I also have found use for the almond meal too. I use it on waffles, pancakes or salads. Also, I have made various muffins, cookies and bars that call for almond meal or almond flour. It seems to keep in the fridge for about a week also if you do not have time right away to use it. 

Almond Chocolate Pear muffins from Five and Spice were tasty. Almond Joy Protein Bar from My Whole Food Life was good too. In the almond joy bars, I used the almond meal instead of the cup of almonds. I did not use the hemp hearts. Enjoy!

I figured out the cost to making the almond milk versus buying it, it is not a cost savings, but it is fun, delicious, and is only almonds, water, and vanilla if you add it.