Run, BrewsterMama, Run!

Last weekend, I finally accomplished something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: I ran my first half marathon! 🙂

I signed up for the Bull City Half in May (I think) and more or less followed the beginner training plan in The Marathon Method by Tom Holland. If you’re looking for a book on how to train for your first half or full marathon, I highly recommend this book. Not only does it give you detailed plans for beginner, intermediate, and advanced training for full and half marathons, but it also covers strength training, injuries, and a bunch of other topics.

My primary goal was to finish, obviously, but my secondary goal was to finish in under 2:30. (That’s a roughly 11:50 min/mile.) A few weeks into training, my friend Emily (the one who convinced me that I could do a half marathon) also convinced me of the sanity to be found in using the “Galloway method” of run/walk splits. I did the remainder of my training running for a little over 5 minutes and then briskly walking 45 seconds to make an even 6 minute cycle. (I like round numbers…) I still have a hard time not adding the caveat “But I didn’t run the whole time, so I’m not really a runner….” to any conversation I have about running. Using the run/walk method, I averaged between 9:45 and 10:15 min/mile throughout most of my training.

Unfortunately the last 2 weeks before the half were complete rest weeks for me, as DB was out of town and that means that I can’t get up and run before work like I usually do. I mean, the kids would probably be asleep the whole time I was gone but nowadays it’s pretty firmly frowned upon to leave 3 children under 6 alone in the house for extended periods of time, even if they’re sleeping. So when I went into the run last Sunday, I knew my pace wasn’t going to be quite up to speed (pun intended, ha!) but I also figured I was well rested and ready to go.

I managed to finish in 2:18, so roughly 10:35 min/mile. 🙂 Not quite as fast as I was running in training, but still a respectable pace. Even if I didn’t run the whole time…. *eye roll*

And I had a really good time. The whole day was a lot of fun, from start to finish, and a totally new experience for me. The vibe was very different than the typical 5K I run – it was a different kind of camaraderie than found at shorter races. I especially liked the fact that runners got 2 free beers from really decent breweries! And the food truck rodeo! Runner math: spend 2 1/2 hours burning 1800 calories, spend 30 minutes post-race consuming 2000 calories in beer and steamed bao.

Now the only question is, what half marathon do I sign up for next?

Pre-race with my friends Christy and Emily

Looking forward toward the start

Looking back at the “slower” runners, many of which would pass me later on

Giant sparkly finisher medal! Makes it all worth it

Well, and beer. Beer makes it worth it too. And no, it wasn’t Bud Light, it was craft beer in Bud Light cups. Thank God.

Hooray for running friends!

Proof that I have lost my mind

No, I’m not pregnant again! Though that would be absolutely nuts for us, as I have no idea where we would fit another person in our tiny (by modern standards) house.

No, I lost my mind when a friend/coworker of mine (Christy of the pre- Lunge Forward beer indulgence) asked if we wanted a puppy and I said yes.

Who could say no to that face?!? I love how Ethan is checking her out through the window

We had always known we would get a dog eventually but we hadn’t really come up with a plan or a timeline. DB and I had actually said that God would put the right dog in our path when it was time.

So when Christy asked if we were interested in a puppy and she was apparently very sweet and reasonably calm tempered and it coincided with DB having almost 5 days off to spend home getting the puppy acclimated to our household… well, we took it as a sign that we were meant to have her.

And honestly, Lula (as the girls named her) is the right dog for us. God knows what He’s doing.

I won’t lie – the addition of yet another member to our household has made an already crowded house and an already hectic life even more so.

Pure chaos

We weren’t really sure how old Lula was until the vet came and he said she’s about 4 months old at this point. So there have been puppy issues to deal with, jumping and mouthing and middle of the night potty breaks. And I can tell you – I think puppies are waaaay harder than newborns. Way harder.

Practicing walking on a leash. Who knew it was an acquired skill?

But it’s actually been pretty great so far. For one, the girls adore her. There was a pretty steep learning curve until BIT in particular learned that waving her arms around and shrieking was not the best way to keep Lula from jumping and nipping. But once we got that semi-sorted out (she’s a puppy, so jumping and nipping will probably be an issue for quite awhile, though she’s catching on fairly well that no one actually likes that), things have been much more fun.

For another, Lula seems to understand instinctively that Itty Bitty is totally off limits for nipping and will only lick her and give her kisses. And if any of the girls mess with her ears or tail or tummy, she’s totally cool with it. We’ve actually been trying to make sure she stays comfortable with being handled and do a lot of petting and playing and holding and touching. She’s a very sweet, very tolerant girl.

She thinks she’s a lap dog

One of the hardest things we’ve had to deal with is that Lula is a digger and can wreak havoc on a garden bed if left unsupervised too long. So fencing off a section of the yard for her to call her own during the day is on our To Do list for this weekend. I don’t mind that she steals produce off the vine – she has a thing for eggplants but will eat anything from carrots to peppers to tomatoes – but it burns my butt when she tears up a whole bed of freshly seeded peas.

I love the BeerCats dearly and Ethan is still my baby, that super special pet you have once in a lifetime. But Lula has come in and filled a spot in our family that I didn’t even know was empty. I’m excited to watch her and the girls grow up together.

Just too cute


LUNGe Forward 2017

Hey there! I am still alive, even if you have seen neither hide nor hair of me in many, many months. Turns out free time is a fond and distant memory and updating the blog is one of many things to fall by the wayside since Itty Bitty joined the family. I do have every intention of doing a giant update sometime soon, but we all know that “sometime soon” may actually translate out to “in a few weeks.” Better late than never though, right?

I did want to get a quick update out there about the 2017 LUNGe Forward that I did with LB and BIT this past weekend. 🙂 I totally dropped the ball this year and did absolutely nothing in terms of fundraising or team recruitment and I feel very guilty about it. Somehow, I ended up being the team captain for my company’s AHA HeartWalk team and that has taken up a lot of my spare time over the last two months and, unfortunately, my LUNGe Forward participation suffered. But next year, oh next year is going to be a big year, I promise! It’ll be the 5th anniversary of doing the run in honor of Mom and I have every intention of making it huge.

This was the second year since they moved the run to September from November and it was so hot!!! And the course was really hilly. And I had the two big girls in the double stroller. And they had a free beer tent. (Which wasn’t crowded at all! What is wrong with these people that they didn’t want free beer?!?!) All of which is to say that I was not nearly as fast as I would have liked, finishing the course in about 40 minutes. But I finished!

This is a link to my participant site: It’s not too late to make a donation if anyone is so inclined, though no worries if you can’t this year. I’ll be hitting all of you up next year for the big anniversary run.

Anyway, here are some pics from the day. The girls and I had a great time running for their Grammy in heaven. 🙂


Green Bean Bonanza 

My number one, least favorite thing to do in the garden is picking green beans. 

I loathe picking green beans. 

However, I love eating green beans. So every summer I dutifully haul out my big canvas harvesting bag and set to work picking, getting covered in a prickly rash and becoming very cross in the process. 

And every summer I mutter and curse under my breath the entire time that next year I am not letting the DreadBrewer plant a billion beans, even if we all adore green beans. 

Our go-to bean cultivar is Prevail, with our seeds usually purchased from Park Seed. These bush beans are crazy prolific, heat tolerant, pest resistant, upright… pretty much the whole package when it comes to beans. We’ve tried other cultivars in the past and always come back to Prevail. 

Even with staggered sowing dates, the two bean beds usually end up overlapping some and we end up drowning in beans. 

Some of our favorite ways to eat our beans are: 

-Steamed or boiled (this is the little girls’ favorite way to have them; they’re very boring. The girls, not the beans.) 

– Tossed with olive oil and garlic and roasted in the oven 

-Green Bean Pesto Pasta: combine 1 lb cooked short curly pasta (like gemelli), 1 lb beans (blanched but still crisp tender), and 8 oz pesto. It’s the most delicious combo ever 

Thrown into whatever stir fry we happen to be making, This is a version of one we’ve made a few times that is pretty tasty 

But no matter how many ways we cook them, we all eventually get sick of beans. And no matter how many pounds we give away, we somehow still have pounds of beans leftover. 

Thankfully DB got me the most phenomenal pressure cooker last year, making me much less anxious about canning our fresh veggies for storage. 

So in just a few short hours, I can turn this: 

Into this:

I figure we did about 8 or 9 pounds of beans today, which took me nearly a full hour to snap. Though having to do some of it with Itty Bitty on my hip definitely slowed things down some. By the time we filled the jars, got the canner loaded, and processed and cooled the jars, the whole thing took about 4 hours. But we got 14 jars today, plus the 12 we did a few weeks ago. I want to get 36 total done so we can have one a week when our bean beds finally fail. 

Looks like I better get my trusty canvas bag out and head back out for some more bean pickin’. 

I can’t wait. 

Time for a change

For a very long time I have had very long hair. For such a long time, actually, that I had gotten really, really attached to having long hair and even got kind of teary during my biannual trims. It was truly a lot easier to have such long hair than most people thought because all I had to do was throw it up in a pony or a bun and go.

But it started to bug me that I had this long, pretty (in my opinion) hair and I never wore it down. Because when I did wear it down, it got into EVERYTHING. Our food. Our clothes. Itty Bitty’s diapers. All over the bathroom floor. As much crazy long hair as I shed all over, I’m surprised I didn’t go totally bald. So last weekend I decided it was time for a change and that I was going to get my first significant haircut since 2011. (Sad but true.) I was a little nervous because long hair has been my “signature style” for forever, if you can call long hair constantly pulled back a style.

For comparison, here’s a photo from the back before I left for my appointment:

I actually hacked off about 6″ while I was home on maternity leave 5 or so months ago, so it used to be even longer.

And here’s a picture from the back after I got home:

Here’s the front view

I brought my cut ponytails home and am going to mail them in to the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program as soon as I get an envelope. (In 2011, when I cut my hair, it was to donate to this program. With my love of oncology nursing, I would rather donate to cancer patients than anything else. Also, I got a nice thank you note from them last time I donated, something I never got when I donated to Locks of Love. I’m just saying that a little thank you goes a long way.)

Now that it’s been about a week, I’m settling into my new ‘do. I can still pull it back into a tiny nub pony for running, which is great. But if I have it down, it doesn’t get in the way like mad like it used to. I don’t really know if I’m going to start growing it out again or keep it trimmed to this length for awhile. For the moment, I’m just enjoying the change from my usual routine.