The Lost Dutchman Races 2013 Race Report

Well, apologies for taking a few days off from blogging. It’s been a busy week. As it happens, in addition to planning my Spring Break volunteer trip to Honduras and attempting to finish my dissertation, I also have three job interviews in the span of three weeks. I’m fully aware that having a lot of people interested in me is nothing to complain about, but it’s sure creating havoc with my schedule.

I’ve been signed up for the Lost Dutchman 10K since December. Last year I went to the event with my friend, who was running the half marathon, and we made an overnight trip of it and had a great time. (Report.) This year, though, I decided to make it a day trip. I’m already spending too much time away from home in the coming month. In fact I spent this past Thursday and Friday in Florida, came home and slept most of Saturday, then set my alarm for 4:45AM to wake up this morning and drive. Um, fun.

Whimsical western taxidermy fun

Whimsical western taxidermy fun

I have to say this for the Lost Dutchman, though: For being a locally organized, relatively large event (5 races, with hundreds of competitors in each) the organization is better than many other races I’ve run. I got to the race parking area 35 minutes before start time, and I was able to catch the shuttle, use the bathroom, pick up my packet, check my gear bag, take some pictures, and get to the starting line with time to spare! The only glitch was that they didn’t have a tech tee in my size, but I was able to give them my address and they promised to send me one in the mail. Class act. The race area also featured some silly photo ops and kid friendly activities, including Mary the burro.


But you all probably want to know about the race, huh? Well, last week you may recall that I set a 10K PR on a training run and was doubting my ability to do it again today. But guess what? My week-old PR fell in a spectacular way this morning.

Mile 1–9:22

Mile 2–9:20

Mile 3–9:02

Mile 4–9:06

Mile 5–8:55

Mile 6–8:50

Mile 6.2–8:40*


2013 10K Medal

In all, I finished just under 56:30, earning me a new PR and a 10th place finish in my age group. I’m really pleased and amazed at this performance, especially on a somewhat hilly course. I’m sure it helps that I’ve been doing so many longer runs these past few months, but today I also didn’t try to police my pace. In a half marathon if I saw a time under 9 minutes/mile I’d probably freak out and force myself to go slower, but I had enough confidence in my ability to finish a 10K that I just kept pushing. Maybe I should think more about adopting this mentality in all my races.

After the race I got some tasty food and was able to watch some really fast marathon finishers. If you’re a runner (or walker) and you ever happen to be in Apache Junction in February, definitely do the Lost Dutchman. The event supports local causes, has a great community feel, and builds awesome memories. I hope this Lost Dutchman won’t be the last for me.


The Second PR of 2013

Lost Dutchman 10K Medal 2012

Lost Dutchman 10K Medal 2012

Yeah, that happened in a totally unexpected way. I set a 10K PR on my long run yesterday. I started off feeling good and thinking about the Lost Dutchman 10K, which I’m running this upcoming weekend. I’ve been hoping to finish this race in under 1 hour, which I’ve managed to do on training runs several times before. However, the Lost Dutchman is pretty hilly (despite their claims that it is flat, it’s rolling all the way) and I’ve been kind of lazy about training in the past month. Anyway, I ran my first mile yesterday in 9:42 and just decided to keep pushing. I ended up hitting the 10K mark at 58:38, a new PR by just over 30 seconds. Then I immediately had to stop and remember how to breathe, then I ran about three more miles. Win.

Just a little sore today. Let’s hope I manage something similar next Sunday.

(By the way, I totally love the Lost Dutchman and I might shake someone down to get a full marathon medal… or at least to get a picture of one.)

The Year of the Snake

Happy Lunar New Year, everyone! This is the year of the snake, and according to Chinese astrology snake years can be volatile–full of unexpected events and opportunities. I’ve never considered myself a superstitious person, but the year of the dragon brought me great things after I followed some good luck tips, so why not try again?

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One of the things you can do to ensure good luck in the new year is to prepare a meal that will please the new year’s governing animal. Last year, my friends and I had sushi because the water dragon likes seafood. This year, I was told that the snake likes eggs. This seemed like a perfect opportunity to make tea eggs. My Chinese aunt told me about them when I was in California and I was intrigued. Here’s how mine turned out, I love the patterns on the egg and shell after they have soaked overnight:

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This recipe also made my house smell delicious, like licorice and cinnamon. As to the flavor of the eggs themselves, I thought they were pretty subtle. I actually went lighter on some of the ingredients than I should have because I wasn’t sure how strong they would taste. If I make it again, though, I’ll follow the directions more closely. With this batch I got a hint of sweetness and spice especially in the yolks, but otherwise it tasted like a normal hard boiled egg. They did make a good breakfast with toast and honey, though.

Doc Martin

Screen shot 2013-02-08 at 8.15.42 AMDoes anyone else watch this Doc Martin show? It’s a British TV series that’s being broadcast stateside on PBS. To be honest, I’m not very fond of it but I watch it because my parents love it and whenever it’s on it makes me think of them.

Martin Ellingham (Martin Clunes) is the central character, a London surgeon who gets sent down to backwater resort town Portwenn as a general practitioner. There he is surrounded by a zany cast of characters who are constantly bringing him new and ridiculous cases. It’s a little like a British version of House, but I’m not sure why I can’t get into it. Mostly, I think it’s that Dr. Ellingham is just such an unpleasant and, in later seasons, barely functional human being that it’s hard to believe anyone–especially his long-suffering love Louisa–would put up with him. Also, though, the antics of the quirky townspeople just get repetitive after a while. I suppose in the UK where you get short seasons and then a long hiatus you may not notice these things. But I get back-to-back episodes on KUAT every Thursday. Then again, just tonight they started rebroadcasting the series from the beginning and I have to say I like the early episodes a little more. They make many of the characters seem more human and less incompetent.

Going to the Dogs

Amazingly, one of the things I don’t post much about on this blog is dogs. I have a little dog named Rico who is nearly 4 years old, and I have had dogs almost all my life. My home growing up was a dogs-are-people-too kind of place. The four cocker spaniels we had over the course of about 20 years were like my little brothers and sisters as much as pets. After the last of our dogs passed away and my aging parents decided they wouldn’t get a new one, I knew it was time to start thinking of becoming a pet parent myself.

While my parents chose to get pure-bred dogs from reputable breeders (usually the dogs who were considered “not fit for show”), I felt strongly about getting a rescue dog. I’ve always been partial to small breeds, and I knew that here in Arizona chihuahuas often come up for adoption. I also researched the breed and felt that one would fit my lifestyle, not to mention that as a renter small dogs are less limiting to one’s housing options. This all sounds like a lot of head-work, but in truth when I saw chihuahua mix Rico at the Humane Society of Southern Arizona on September 11, 2010 it was my heart that did the talking. He was dragging around a toy bird as large as him, our eyes met… It’s a classic love story.

Short, dark, and handsome is totally my type.

Short, dark, and handsome is totally my type.

Rico and I have rarely been apart since. He’s come with me on vacations, stayed in a hotel, and even flies on planes! I never could have anticipated how much it has changed my outlook and helped me with depression to know that every night there’s a little one waiting at home to greet me, and every morning there’s someone waiting to hop in my bed and cuddle.

More than that, though, Rico has introduced me to the world of shelter dogs. I’ve become a whole-hearted advocate of dog adoptions and since December I’ve also been volunteering at the Pima Animal Care Center once a week. It’s hard to overstate the difference love can make in a shelter dog’s life, but here are some things I’ve picked up over time:

  • Breed is not destiny: The majority of dogs at PACC are pits and pit mixes. These breeds often get into the news for causing trouble, and they can seem intimidating. But through interacting with many pits, I have a much deeper sympathy for these dogs. People often get them for protection, they may do little or no training with these dogs or leave them outside all the time, and I’ve even seen dogs that were involved in fighting. An adult dog has the mental capacity of a toddler. Like a child, if you don’t socialize them properly they will become unruly. But many of these “problem” dogs are great at heart and can be trained to be good pets.
  • There is no such thing as an outside dog, period: Being from upstate New York, this seems a no-brainer to me. A dog that is kept outside all the time could not survive in a cold climate, but here it’s quite common that dogs are left outside. This is a terrible idea because it deters proper socialization and training, and because it makes dogs susceptible to illnesses like valley fever and to theft, assault, etc. If you’ve ever seen a dog with a serious case of valley fever, which I have, you will think twice about ever leaving your dog outside over long periods of time.
  • A dog’s backstory is only part of the story: Ask anyone who’s adopted a dog and you’ll find out that the “problem” dogs in the shelter often end up making the best pets. Rico was considered a rescue for behavioral problems. He came from a home with four other, larger dogs and supposedly had aggression toward other dogs and humans. In the first few months I had him it was clear that he wasn’t properly housebroken and had anxiety issues, but today those issues are just not there. It’s not magic; it’s just patience, love, and attention. Maybe his former owners could not give him that, but they had the foresight to recognize it before he crossed the point of no return. Many others have similar stories, for example a close friend adopted a lab mix who allegedly jumped fences. Once she got into the right home, though, she’s never tried to escape again.
  • Love can conquer all: I think making Rico feel loved and secure was key to addressing his behavioral issues. Many shelter dogs have never really known that feeling. It breaks my heart to see dogs who appear to have never been walked on a leash, or who don’t seem to know what a treat is. It’s unimaginable to me that someone would not recognize the spirit in a dog or cat and respect that they are intelligent animals capable of feeling. But animals who find something to live for can do amazing things. One of my favorite little shelter friends, the one who made me determined to keep coming back, was a Boxer who was confiscated from the home where he was abused. I met him on my second visit to the shelter and he was in the worst shape that I have ever personally witnessed a dog in. But I spent time with him. I gave him food. I told him he was handsome and that someone was going to love him. Then I went home and I have thought about that dog every day since. Today he is out of the shelter after nearly two months. He lives in a foster home and is supported by a rescue agency. They post pictures of him online. He still has a long road ahead, but he’s put on weight and is getting loved and he doesn’t even look like the same dog anymore. That’s what loving a dog can do. It can save a life.

Ultimately, my message to anyone who is considering rescuing a dog or volunteering at the animal shelter is this–Don’t let fear or sadness stop you from doing it. Even if you just come to walk a dog or cuddle a dog, it means a lot. I get sad about the dogs, I’ve cried about the dogs. Sometimes it just doesn’t work out for them. But it will work out for more of them if they have positive attention in their lives. The benefits of volunteering, for me, far outweigh the cost and the concern. Every time one of these little ones goes home, the world gets a little brighter. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?

How Many Girl Scout Cookies Did I Eat Today?

Cribbed from someone else’s blog. Oops.

Hmm. Let’s see. I have a box of Thin Mints that I bought last week. I ate one for breakfast because they were sitting on the counter staring at me. Then I go to campus and sitting there in the office are a box of Trefoils and an open box of Samoas with only two left in the tray. So I ate one of each. Then I went to a meeting. I came back afterward and the last Samoa was gone, so I had another Trefoil. There was also a whole box of Savannah Smiles but I didn’t eat one of those because, you know, I evidently only like cookies where there is chocolate or about a pound of butter involved. Now I’m going to eat another Thin Mint before bed. Because I’m an adult and I can. And I haven’t even gotten into the Peanut Butter Patties yet…

Potstickers and a Busy Life

Well, if I haven’t been posting it’s because I’ve been insanely busy this week… but not necessarily in a bad way. Things on a number of fronts are starting to come together, but more on that later.

In busy times, it’s hard to keep up with cooking and exercise. I’ve had my share of “comfort food” meals recently (I think I had cheese pizza for lunch or dinner no less than four times this week), and since my knee is still bruised I’ve been taking it easier on running, too. One thing I recently discovered, though, is that potstickers or gyoza make a quick and easy meal. If you haven’t made them before, it’s totally easy. I got a package of wonton skins at the local Chinese grocery for under $2 and took my cues from this basic recipe. At the behest of reviewers, though, I chose not to pre-cook my mushroom filling and they turned out fine. Another recommendation is to cook them with vegetable stock instead of water for a richer flavor.

Filled potstickers, waiting to be cooked.

Filled potstickers, waiting to be cooked.

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Post-cooking, drizzled with a rice wine vinegar/soy sauce combo

This recipe has given me a few good, quick meals in the past couple of weeks. Also, be on the look out for these almond cookies if you have a Chinese store near you. My Chinese aunt bought them for me in California and they are quite good! Chinese new year is just around the corner… Perhaps I’ll make some more new recipes soon to celebrate.

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