Monday, March 28, 2022

Weekly Round Up: Upgrade Edition


A weekly round up: eats, workouts, watches, and reads.  This week I upgraded my breakfast burritos, learned that ground turkey tastes just like chicken, I got more racing bling, and someone in my house got an offer that he couldn't refuse.


I've been using the same breakfast burrito recipe forever (circa 2013 - thank you blog archives!).  Black beans, eggs, cheese, and salsa and it's a very fine thing to be able to pull out of your freezer and heat up in a few minutes.  It ain't broke and I would never have fixed it except that when I went to Chicago last week I had a vacation fling with Trader Joe's Chicken Sausage Burritos.  I was surprised at how much I liked them, given they are not spicy in the least and I'm a salsa freak.  I found a lot of novelty in the simple ingredient list of eggs, potatoes, onion, chicken sausage, and cheese. This weekend I got down to it and took my first shot at a homemade version.

For my starter homemade version I assembled:

  • Downshiftology's skillet breakfast potatoes (I used butter instead of oil  because I felt like I could taste a bit of butter in the Trader Joe's version and omitted the paprika in favor of seasoned salt)
  • 8 scrambled eggs
  • 8 Costco breakfast chicken sausage links

I took my best guess at potato to egg to sausage ratio and added a sprinkling of cheese and wrapped everything up in tortillas and toasted them up in a skillet.

The verdict is that I think I need to increase the amount of potatoes and possibly the cheese but what I came out with was very yummy and a nice change up.  I only ended up using half the batch of potatoes so I'll either eat those just with eggs or make them up into more burritos in the next few days.

On Tuesday Damn Delicious's Creamy Beef and Shells popped up as a suggested read and I realized that it would be very easy to make for dinner that night.  I had all of the ingredients except for onions, so I subbed onion powder and hoped for the best.  Obviously it would have been better with the onions but what we got was still pretty darn good.

On Thursday I did a repeat of the beef stir fry that we tried (and loved) a few weeks ago, but I substituted Costco frozen stir fry veggies for the snow peas.

On Saturday the hubs and I decided that chicken burgers were in order, so I headed out for my first grocery trip of the week and found that whomp whomp the store had no ground chicken.  Logically I knew that ground turkey would be perfectly fine though I shuddered since turkey is one of my least favorite foods on the planet.


Verdict: it could be my imagination, but the consistency of the burgers felt a bit drier when I was mixing them up.  Once they came off the grill though, they were just they tasted just like chicken.


Saturday was a day of firsts for me.  I needed to run 10 miles for my half marathon training plan, and there was a new-to-me race that I wanted to check out.  The event was a 2 mile race at 8:30, a 5 mile race at 9:15, and an option to do both races for not very much more than the cost of the 5 mile race.  I'd heard of combo races before, but I'd never run one.  The other thing that I had never done before was to include a race as part of my long run, but I've been itching to do it since Catrina wrote about it (as I have mentioned before, I don't just read running blogs, I take notes).

I wasn't sure how to pace the races or when I was going to get the 3 non-race miles.  I thought that it might be possible to run a mile before the race, I wasn't sure if there would be time/space to run between the races, and then I was going to run whatever distance was left after the final race. 

How it played out was:

  • Dark and early I loaded myself, a cup of coffee, two huge water bottles, a Clif bar, two Trader Joe's fig bars, and a Clif protein bar into the car and headed out to the race.  On the way I drank about half the coffee and the Clif bar.
  • After I picked up my packet the sun had just come up.  There weren't very many people around so I felt good about using the race course to start my run.  I had about an hour before the first race, so there was plenty of time to do the entire 3 miles then and there.  I went 1.5 miles out and came 1.5 miles back at a very easy effort so that I would still have energy for the races.  Everything was good, mid 30's for temps and a few snow flakes here and there but no big.
  • Once I got back, I had the rest of my (still warm - thank you travel mug!) coffee and ate a fig bar.
  • The 2 mile race started and I decided that I wasn't just going to phone it in, I was going to go for it.  I ran pretty aggressively at an uncomfortable but not all out effort.  The course was out and back, the same road that I ran my 3 miles on so it was familiar territory.  Race 1 of 2 complete and medal 1 of 2 received.
  • You don't need to know this but for some reason I feel the need to document that this was my 2nd time seeing another runner puke at a race!  OK, I didn't see it either time, I just heard it.  Time #1 was the NYE 5k.
  • There was just enough time between races for me to chug down more water and eat the 2nd fig bar.
  • The 5 mile race started  and I felt like I'd used up all of my "fast" for the day so I took it at an easy effort.  I kind of wish now that I had at least tried to put some spirit into it, but that's how I felt in the moment. 
  • About halfway through the weather turned from a few snowflakes here and there to a full on snow storm.  It feels too dramatic to call it a blizzard since the snow wasn't sticking but it was a white out.  The wind was coming in wicked and the snowflakes were stinging my eyes.  I compromised by sometimes pulling my hat half way down my face and sometimes just holding my hand in front of my eyes to shield them.  I knew from the way that my Garmin was lining up with the mile markers that the race course was short, and I have never been more OK with that.  Race 2 of 2 complete, medal 2 of 2 received, and first double digit run of the year done and dusted.
  • Please note the grass in the background of my 2 mile picture and the snow in the background of my 5 mile picture showing the weather progression.
  • After race #2 I got back in my car and headed home, not in the least bit hungry.  5 minutes later I was starving so thank you past me for bringing the protein bar to tide me over.
I try not to get obsessed with numbers more than I already am, but what are the odds of a 2 mile race being 2.06 miles and a 5 mile race being 4.94 miles for a total of 7 miles even?

As far as combo races go, yes I would try one again, but I'm at a loss as to how to balance my energy between the two races.  Next time I'll have to try running the first race slow and the 2nd race fast.  Using a race for part of a long run seems like a winner, and spoiler it just so happens that in two weeks there is a 10 mile race the same weekend that I have an 11 mile long run.  I'm going to wait until closer to the race to register so that I can get a better idea of the weather.


Sigh, I finished season 4 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and I found out that the next season will be the last.  I mean fine, the show can't go on forever but I will miss it.  My next treadmill show will either be season 2 of Fauda or season 6 of Outlander.  It's not an either-or, it's a "which one's first" decision.

For movies, the hubs and I saw two classics over the weekend.  First up: the fine cinematic experience that is Police Academy, and when I say fine cinematic experience I mean that we laughed like idiots so yes check it out.  I'd seen it back in the day, but the only thing that I remembered was the podium scene.

Second up was Sunrise, which is one of my all time favorite movies that I've seen a billion times (previously here).  This rewatch was motivated by the Unspooled Podcast.  I haven't finished listening to the episode yet, but so far they've echoed exactly what I said here, which is that they're torn between being happy that the movie is even on the AFI Top 100 list to start with and being irritated that it's only #82.

What hubs and I have in common is that we both like good movies, but my definition of what's good leans more toward the classic/silent era than his does.  We were both doing our own thing on Saturday night when I put the movie on and he happened along during the opening credits and it was a happy surprise that he was down to join me.

The movie deals with a married man who is having an affair, which prompted hubs to ask "how are people having affairs these days now that everyone's at home?"  We thought about it a minute and then he said "oh that's all of those people who are dying to get back to the office".  Ah ha mystery solved!  (In the case of the movie the husband is a farmer who is meeting up with the other woman out in the fields at night, so yes, at the office).


I stayed up late last Monday to finish 56 Days because I'd gotten to the point where I just couldn't put it down. YES YES YES YES this is a good one.

Normally I don't read the same author back to back but in this case I've got an itch and I'm scratching it.  I started The Liar's Girl, which was the book before The Nothing Man.


Somebody in my house got a job offer this week!  Yes I have my work drama and the hubs has had his share right along with me.  He started a new job a few months ago that pretty quickly became a mess of alternating periods of boredom and stress.  Like me, he channeled his frustrations into looking for a new gig, and like me, he found plenty of frogs looking for a kiss.  We have a running joke because I'm an accountant working in startup/tech industries and he's a software developer working in old school/super boring industries.  He wasn't having problems getting interviews, but each one seemed more dull and boring than the next.  Last week a company contacted him on LinkedIn that seemed to be a bit less of the same old cookie cutter.  Not only did he enjoy the interview but so did they because the next day they made him an offer that he could not refuse (or as I would say, an offer that he deserved).  He's now counting down the days at his loser job and getting ready to hang with the cool kids.  It seems like I will lose my status of having the coolest employer in the house temporarily.  He got quite the upgrade!

In my own realm of frog kissing:

  • Player Two finished "reviewing their budget and remote work policy" and no surprise they have decided to pursue local (read: cheaper) candidates.  I told them that it had been great talking to them but honestly I was relieved because I wasn't quite ready to leave my job of just six months yet.
  • I have two new fish (frogs?) in my net.  It had been over a week since I'd seen anything that I wanted to apply to, so I dropped my standards and applied to two jobs just because they were there.  One company has mediocre Glassdoor reviews and the other is a crypto company.  I don't think that anything will come of these, but I'll talk to both of them this week.  I'm not sure if my aversion to crypto is reasonable.
  • After my job applying binge a few more promising things opened up later in the week so fingers crossed that some of those pan out.
  • I had an OK week at work this week and I feel better about staying on until the right job comes along.


  1. Well done, Birchie! I like that you got the 3 non-race miles in before everything started. That way you could go home immediately after the second race. Doing extra miles in the blizzard would have not been fun!

    And you have another long run training race coming up! Fabulous.
    Btw, did you bring a banana home?

    Congrats to your husband on the new job!
    And good luck with your two interviews this week. A crypto company sounds very cutting-edge. Exciting!

  2. I have never thought of running a combo race! Good for you! Although the snow doesn't sound so great.
    Congrats to your husband on the new job!

    1. I'm just amazed at how well the weather has turned out for all of the Nov-March races that I've run. It's always a gamble this time of year.

  3. We learned a trick with ground turkey from Rachael Ray. We'd dice up about a quarter cup of golden raisins for every pound of ground turkey to make it moister. I don't know if that will help with your aversion to turkey, but it might help with the dry issue. You honestly don't even notice the raisins - they don't change the texture or anything.

  4. Ok, I need to try my hand at those burritos. I don't usually eat breakfast until mid-morning (at work), so I could easily cart these along and zap them in the microwave. Well done on your races! I've done the Midnight Madness a few times (there's a 5K at 7:30, followed by a 10K an hour later). This is mid-July in the evening, so there's that, LOL The fueling is tricky and the temps are hot and humid...but it's a fun event! I have never run any extra miles (before or after, though). Good luck with your continued job searching.

    1. Yep! The whole reason that I started making breakfast burritos back in the day is that they were easy to keep in the freezer at work. Then I started a "stuffy" job where they frowned on eating at my desk so that's when I started eating earlier in the day.

  5. I also hate turkey. Once a year at Thanksgiving, I can eat a slice or two. And that is plenty.

    Love the green grass to snowy grass!

    Congrats to your husband on the new job! And I'm really glad that you have found a good place with the current job while you look for something new.

    1. You and I are Turkey Soul Mates! I've occasionally even enjoyed my one-two slices per year, and that's as far as I'm going to be able to progress with my turkey enjoyment.

  6. And here I didn't even know you were here last week--I'll have to circle back and read last week's post. You ran the Shuffle, I assume? I didn't run it this year because I'm training for some April foolishness. Nice work on incorporating a race into a training run. Congrats to the hubs on his new job! We gave up on Mrs Maisel--did it get better?

    1. I don't know how to answer if Mrs. Maisel got better because for me it was always strong. I loved my trip to CHI!

  7. We have a few jobs open at my company that you might be interested. 100% remote. Most of the team is in Virginia, but they don't go into the office. I will send you a message on IG. Nice job with the racing. Sounds so fun!

    1. You and I talked about the job behind the scenes, and if it had worked out for sure the criteria of having awesome coworkers would have been off the charts!

      The racing is so fun! I'm hoping that I'll be able to put more spunk into it soon and be more competitive. At a minimum I have a 10 miler and a half in April and then more to come after that.

  8. Ah, your combo race/long run sounds like such a fun adventure! Much more fun than going out on a 10 mile run on your own.
    Weirdly, my library doesn't have The Nothing Man, but they do have 56 Weeks. So I guess I should read that one, right?

    1. The Nothing Man was good and 56 Days was WAY BETTER so yes go for that one!

  9. I've heard good things about 56 days... will keep my eyes peeled for a deal on it (as I am a library delinquent and often just buy books I want to read... e-books, but still...).
    I experienced that same kind of snow yesterday. Horizontal... how DO you keep that from going right in your face? (And, in my case, seriously messing with my glasses?)

    1. The library is always my first move but if it's going to be too long then I'm completely willing to just buy the book and move on with life. I read practically everything on my kindle.

      There was no escape from that snow! I don't know how I would have done it with glasses.

  10. I am not a breakfast burrito person but yours looks delicious, as do your dinners (esp. the stir fry!).

    Sounds like you had a good experience with the combo race. I've never done one but am intrigued to give it a try sometime. I can only imagine how difficult it is to manage your energy levels for back-to-back races.

    You have quite a bit going on on the job front. Congrats to your hubby for the great offer... and I am curious to hear how your applications pan out!

    1. The stir fry is a winner. The job search situation currently not so much so thank goodness I have a job to tide me over until the right one comes along.