This morning was the Jingle Bell Run 5K in downtown Seattle, and I was not there. I intended to go—even though I am always irritated by the crowds and slow runners/walkers that clog the route—and I even made a special trip to Lynnwood Friday evening to "pre-register" before 5 p.m. That was against the (wise) advice of my boyfriend, who suggested I wait to sign up till the morning of the race. I said "that's probably a good idea" and then spent almost an hour in the wind, rain, and rush hour trip slogging my way to the running store to sign up. My theory was that I'd be motivated to go if I was already signed up, plus I wouldn't have to waste time waiting in line on Sunday morning (except for the bathroom, of course). So now I own an unused bib number and an extra-large shirt (because that was all they had left).*
But let me be clear, it wasn't lack of motivation that kept me from the race. It was this. On Saturday afternoon it was very wet outside. Then it started snowing, wet snow. Then Saturday night the temperature dropped, and the snow continued, for a bit. By Sunday morning we had a thin layer of snow on top of very icy streets.
Anticipating this development, on Saturday night I let my mother off the hook and canceled our Jingle Bell Run plans. She lives nine icy miles northwest of me and even if the road to Seattle from my house wasn't too bad (which was not guaranteed), it was highly likely that the road between us would be much less driveable. Especially for my mother, who is an ice and snow wimp at the best of times (probably wisely so). The alternative of having her stay at my house overnight was not appealing, especially with the possibility that we still couldn't go and then would be stuck here together on Sunday in the snow and ice. (Just kidding, mother, there's nothing I would enjoy more than spending a day snowed in with you. Remember 1996?** Good times.)
So while there was no jingling this weekend, there was a Christmas tree to be decorated! On Saturday afternoon Rod came over and helped me put up the tree*** and string it with lights and all my other Christmas paraphernalia. Including masses of red plaid and gold ribbons that had to be individually tied onto the branches. It creates a lovely effect, and it's really not as tedious as it sounds! Well, it is tedious, but with two people it gets done that much faster. I have dozens of old glass ornaments that came from my family and various antiques malls, plus numerous assorted ornaments that I have collected and acquired over the years. I am not one for a "theme" Christmas tree... I like the eclectic look!
Yesterday I gloomily said that if I didn't do the 5K today, I would have to go out and do a 10-mile run. I've only run 14 miles this week, 5.75 on Wednesday and 8.25 on Friday. But this morning, with the ice and snow making driving treacherous, it hardly seemed worthwhile to try to run in it as well. So I went out to breakfast**** with Rod instead, and this afternoon (since the bad roads are keeping me home instead of out Christmas shopping, as I desperately need to be), I'll try to do some work around the house and maybe attempt some on-line shopping.
Even with my short miles this week, I am now only 15 miles from my year-end goal of 1500 miles. I should easily pass that this upcoming week. And then what? Stop running and just eat cookies the rest of the year? (And you think I'm joking....) But maybe not. After all, there's another 5K coming up on January 1!
*I also left the running store with a hamburger and french fries from California Burgers next door. I was in a weakened condition having not eaten lunch, and with work still to do at the office, I rationalized that I needed fuel so I wouldn't have a total meltdown before I got home. I ate all the fries in the car on the way back to the office. Yum. Then the burger at the office. I haven't had a hamburger since last June (a cheeseburger at Duke's after the Race for the Cure).
**On December 26, 1996, we were hit by a massive snowstorm that dumped as much as a foot of snow in and around our area. I worked for Superior Court at the time and there was enough snow that court was actually closed the next day, a Friday, giving us a long post-Christmas weekend. (People who had taken vacation time for Christmas were quite bitter, I heard.) Anyhow, my mother was over at my house when it started snowing and ended up staying for about three days before we dug her car out of the snow and pronounced the roads driveable.)
***Noble fir, acquired at the 16th Street Market just up the road from me. It was just about the perfect size and shape (I have nine-foot ceilings) but I pruned out some of the excess branches to allow the ornaments to hang more nicely.
****So I had the post-race breakfast, just without the race. I also had the pre-race pasta last night for dinner. That was what I had planned to make, there was no changing menus at this late date! I made a variation of the Pumpkin Pasta from Rachael Ray that Laura wrote about. I modified both their versions a bit. As Laura suggested, I substituted chicken sausage for the Italian sausage (it has about half the calories, and it was Italian flavored). I browned it in some olive oil spray with just a teaspoon of olive oil. I used the spray plus the tiniest drizzle of oil for sauteeing the onions and garlic too. Instead of canned pumpkin, I used mashed Delicata squash that I had cooked the night before (that was the most interesting kind of squash I could find this late in the fall—butternut or any of my other favorite sweet squashes would work well too, I think). I used turkey broth for thinning, instead of wine and broth, and I finished with a swirl of fat free half-and-half, for that creamy touch (it also mellows the appearance). I didn't really measure things, I just glopped in the broth and squash. I also made a spinach, apple and onion salad to go with it, as Rachael Ray's recipe suggests.