Monday, November 15, 2021

Weekly Roundup Part 1 of 2: Costco Food Reviews and a Race

A weekly roundup: eats, workouts, watches, and reads.  In this week's edition we tried a few new-to-us Costco products, I had a good race experience, and a food crisis came to an end.


I feel like we've been trying a lot of new-to-us things at Costco lately, and exhibit #1 is the vegetable yakisoba which I've worked into my lunch menu.  One of my friends told me that it's the closest match that she can get to the yakisoba that she had in Japan.  I don't have a way to verify that but it's good and it's a fast lunch.

On the dinner front:

Monday: leftover night with Pinch of Yum's tortellini soup.

Tuesday: a klassy chicken nugget dinner.  Costco's panko chicken bites.

Wednesday: I don't have a picture, but we had gyros with Costco's gyro meat

Thursday: unpictured takeout from the Lebanese place.  I had the day off work and was feeling lazy and the kids didn't have school the next day so I figured that we were all due for a treat.

Friday: date night at the drive in hamburger place

Saturday: date night in.  We had chicken bacon ranch burgers for the first time in forever.

Sunday: an original idea that turned out to be a hit with the whole family!  I came across Pinch of Yum's Simple Mushroom Penne with Walnut Pesto and was crushing on it but I knew that my family was not going to cotton to it.  Mushrooms are big in our house but walnut pesto would not be welcome and some kind of meat was called for.  I ended up making the chicken meatballs from this recipe, which was a previous dinner that the adults loved but the kids hated.  And it worked and will be a repeat dinner.

Our favorite dessert lately is also from Costco.  The first time that I got these I was gambling that the kids would like them since I wanted one but not all ten of them.  Sure enough they are a hit.  We haven't talked my husband into trying them yet.


The End of a Food Crisis

The drought is finally over...I failed to document the beginning of the Great Fritos Drought of 2021, but it's been going on for a while.  We keep hearing about supply chain issues, but this is one thing that we never expected to have a problem finding.  From time to time I'd see a few bags of chili chese flavored Fritos on the shelves, but nothing else.  Now they're back baby.


Things are moving along.  I got in two treadmill runs early in the week, and it's becoming more natural to do 4 miles instead of 3 and I can conceive that there may come a day when I'll want to run 5 miles on the treaddy.

I had Veteran's Day off from work (the first company I've ever worked for that had that as a holiday) so I went for a pretty fast run outside on Thursday followed by a slow plod on Friday.  Then rest on Saturday in preparation for Sunday's race.

Since I ran last week's race at a just finish effort I was ready to put some spunk into this one.  My C goal was finishing under an hour, my B goal was 11:30 pace, and my A goal was to see how close I could come to my 5 mile PR of an 11:04 pace.  I knew the PR was completely pie in the sky, but I still wanted to see if I could get anywhere near it.

When the race started I settled in and went with the herd.  After about a half mile something seemed oddly out of place.  I was going at a decent clip, confirmed by how I was feeling and a few peaks at my Garmin.  The odd part was the man in front of me.  He was going just a bit faster AND WALKING.  At a sub 11 pace before and he made it look effortless.  I had never seen anything like it before.  There were times when I could have passed him, but I knew that I wouldn't be able to go much faster on my own and I wanted to see if he could hold the same pace for the entire race.

Letting the power walker pace me worked for the first two miles and then it was hill time.  I ran for as long as I could and the power walker kept doing what he was doing and got hopelessly ahead of me and I never saw him again.  Mile 3 was a very harsh uphill with 150 feet of up and there just wasn't much I could do with that except really gun it on the flat and downhill parts to get my pace under 13:00.  Mile 4 had a mere 80 feet of up.  By mile 5 I was pretty whipped but fought when I could.

All things considered I'm happy with this race.  For sure I will be able to beat this time on my town's Christmas Eve 5 miler, which has "normal" uphill.

Note to self: this race was about 15 minutes away and mostly away from the main roads.  I can come back here to train on the two beast of a hill miles;-)

Note to you: I haven't just been blowing hot air about wanting to conquer the hills.  Lately I've been making it a point to finish my outdoor runs on an uphill (just 40 feet of up, I don't have any 150 foot hills in my hood) and my job for next week's recap is to tell you that I did a treadmill hill workout.


Would you believe me if I told you that we watched a movie that's not on the AFI Top 100 list?  We saw a movie that should be on the AFI Top 100.  Stepson #2 had been talking about The Princess Bride and so we watched it on Thursday night.  It's a family favorite but it had been a few years since we'd last seen it.  Normally you couldn't pay the boys to watch a show with us these days but they were both glued to the screen right along with the adults.



I finished The Last Mrs. Parrish and I'm giving it a huge thumbs up.  The way the book was described to me is that a woman befriends a wealthy society wife with eyes on the husband but the wife's friends are suspicious and raise questions about her past.  Yes, that's a fair description of the first lick of the book and wow from there it totally caught me off guard and had me turning the pages.  I have to give a warning for content, so I skimmed a few sections but the payoff was totally worth it.

I kept thinking about A Clockwork Orange after seeing the movie so I tried the book.  It's written in a funky dialect that was tough to understand.  I gave it the ol' google and everyone said that the key to understanding it was just sticking with it.  But I found that I couldn't motivate myself to go back to it...there are just too many books out there written with words that I can understand so the Clockwork Orange saga is over for now.

That's it for now, see you in a few with this week's AFI Top 100 watches


  1. Congrats on your hilly 5 miler, Birchie! You got your C-goal!
    Were your A and B goals based on flat miles? If so, I'm sure you would have got them, too.
    Some of those walkers are incredibly strong. I see that on the trail races as well. I sometimes get overtaken by people who are hiking up.
    I fully agree that hills are a great way of training. I'm glad you're embracing them.
    I started "The Last Flight"! It's great! I'm about 1/3 through, I'm excited to see what's going to happen with Eva and Claire.

    1. Yes, I was not expecting the hills so that slowed me down. I'm OK with the course slowing me down vs something that I did slowing me down. I'm really determined to run this race next year and get my "hill issues" behind me. I followed through with a hill workout this morning, now I just have to stick with it.

      Yay for Last Flight!

  2. I am impressed by your race AND I was riveted by the story of the power walker. I'm so envious of his abilities!

    1. I know! Before I started running I used to power walk on the treadmill at just a little bit slower than I can run now. I had no idea that it was possible to walk any faster than I was doing back then. He made it look so easy!

  3. Alright, crazy story about the walker who beat you. That is some FAST walking. A few weeks ago when I was doing some "power" walks (because my foot hurt too much to run) I felt like I was going as fast as I could, and it was around 14:30 pace. But guess what- I googled the race-walkers paces for the Olympics, and for the 20k race, the first female WALKED it in a 7:11 mile pace. The first male won with a 6:31 mile pace. WHAT. How is that even possible??????
    Anyway, congratulations on a strong race. You should be in great shape for the Christmas Eve 5 miler! Hope you're getting in that treadmill workout this week :)

    1. Ooh thanks! I was curious to know how fast it was possible to walk but hadn't gotten around to googling it yet. I used to power walk on the treadmill at just a little bit slower than a 12 minute pace. I thought that was crazy fast so I was amazed at the sub 11 minute pace on the guy at the race.

  4. Great job on your race! That’s a smart strategy to return to those hills for training... they will get easier :-) That mushroom penne dish sounds yummy!

    1. I followed through on treadmill hills yesterday and there was something about that last hill that's making me want more...

  5. I have read the Last Mrs. Parrish and I tore through it so quickly. An intriguing read with many twists! And it's so great you re-watched the Princess Bride. A true classic for people of all ages and genders!

  6. OMG - that dessert!!!

    Congrats on your 5 miler. Hills are always tough.

    But I avoid them except for races so I am no one to blame but my self.

    Good luck on your Christmas race. I have a fun 5k - most just walk so no expectations for time.