I’ve always wanted to see a tree fall in the river…


Wednesday’s run was the closest I’ve ever come to seeing a “leaner” fall into the Wabash. I didn’t actually see this guy fall, but it clearly happened during my run, because when I came back by here after heading out to the gatehouse at Ouabache State Park, there it was.

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Crapload of cashews = 2.4 pound weight loss

I used to think cashews were off limits because they’re so high fat and I could never keep from eating several handfuls once I started in.

Now cashews are my go-to Monday treat food.  I literally ate half a pound of them for lunch this past Monday, followed up by 2 ounces of cheddar cheese. The next morning, I was down 2.4 pounds.

Now, keep in mind that most Mondays these days I’m still coming down from a 4-7 pound weight spike, depending on the outrageousness of my Saturday cheat day. It’s typical for me to drop a pound or two from Monday to Tuesday, so it’s not like that nutty lunch is some big breakthrough.

What DID strike me as significant, though, is that marking Monday as “nut day” – when I literally let myself eat as many cashews or almonds as I want for lunch, with another handful or two for dinner – is becoming a reliable way to both control my appetite/cravings AND make sure I stay on track with erasing a cheat-day gain.

The other reason this works for me: I hate serving sizes. They make good sense nutritionally, but they feel too restrictive in  my opinion. I’d much rather feast on 7-8 ounces of cashews in one day and none the rest of the week than nibble on one puny ounce every day.

It may sound nutty, but it works for me.

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The married couple who never lived alone

Part of my interest in old family stories is the reality check they provide. Here’s another short outtake from the Gerber family archives that offers a glimpse into life before anybody ever heard of the “me generation”:

Right now people are worried about Ebola but early last century typhoid fever was a very real danger, killing 1,217 people in Indiana in 1902, including four of my great grandfather’s siblings.

More than 700 of those who died were parents between the ages of 20 and 40, according to the secretary of the state board of health, leaving 4,398 children as orphans.  By the time he married in 1907, Jehu Gerber and his new bride Lydia were raising three of his dead sister’s children.

Over the next 44 years they raised 14 of their own children into adulthood as well as caring for their parents on the family farm. Finally, in 1951 they bought a small house in Bluffton, planning to move there in the spring. Though Jehu was then 78 and Lydia was 66, this would be the first time in their married lives they would live alone as a couple.

But it was not to be. Lydia died on Dec. 15, 1951, and instead of moving into the new house, Jehu moved in with his daughter Minnie and her husband, Homer.

The Gerber family, shown here in 1951. Jehu, who stood just 5 feet, 4 inches tall and always wore a bow tie in his later years, was 34 when he married Lydia, then 22, in 1907.

The Gerber family, shown here in 1951. Jehu, who stood just 5 feet, 4 inches tall and always wore a bow tie in his later years, was 34 when he married Lydia, then 22, in 1907.

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Ancient shoes survive muddy 14-miler (sort of)

crappytrailshoesThe nice thing about wearing super-crappy shoes on a trail run is you can entertain the idea of simply throwing them away if at any point they become too soaked and filthy to be worth cleaning.

My 2011 Saucony Kinvara 2s spent several days in purgatory after Wednesday’s 14-mile run on partially flooded trails at Ouabache State Park. “Just throw them  away,” my sister and running partner advised. “If you wash them, they’ll probably just fall apart anyway.”

It was tempting*. But ugly as they are, they’re so … comfy. Finally, inspired by a blogger who successfully cleaned his shoes after enduring the infamous flooded course at the 2011 HUFF  50K (see video below), I threw them in the washer yesterday, along with a capful of detergent, a couple of scoops of store-brand Oxyclean and a thorough spraying with stain remover.


Post-wash: Well, they smell better, anyway.

The result: They don’t look much better, but they’ll live to see another day, I think, though I’m going to let them dry thoroughly, stuffed with newspaper, before I give them another try.

As for the run: The first loop around trail 5 we tried to avoid puddles and mud whenever possible, seeking out solid ground along the edge if it was available. By loop 2, we just splashed right on through. Our shoes were soaked, so what difference did it make?

“This is good training for the Huff,” we told ourselves. Video of the 2011 race (see below) shows runners tromping through knee-high water in places when the course was hopelessly flooded.

We’d intended to do a third loop but ran out of time, so we just ran to the campground  restrooms and brought back the paved stretch of “Garter Snake Alley” to the lake parking lot to wind up with 14 miles in just under 3 hours. Not a great time, but this was definitely long slow distance, with periodic pre-planned walk breaks.

The nice thing was, we weren’t really very stiff and sore afterward, or the next day either. Was it the walk breaks or just simply running on a softer surface? I know Traci’s achy hip and knees are faring much better since we moved to running mostly on trails. She’d never want to go 10 miles on pavement, much less 14. (Or 30, come December.)



*(I DID toss my socks, which were sweat-shop cheapos with stretched out ankle openings that retained the stench and color of swamp water even after they dried. Because all four “girls” in our family wear close to the same size shoe, I tend to inherit unwanted ankle socks and wear them until holes appear in the toes. These weren’t quite to that point, but floppy ankle openings let in a lot of leaf bits and trail debris that proves quite annoying.)

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A kid’s point of view: Switching sports seasons

By Colleen, age 12

colleenxcselfieNow that cross country is over I have to come up with my own workouts. On Wednesday night, after cheering on our varsity runners at the conference meet, I went to the Y with my brother and practiced running at a 10-minute pace on the treadmill. This is about 3 minutes faster than I normally run so I did it for 2 minutes and 50 seconds at a time, with a little encouragement (meaning bossing around) from Ben.

Last night was the cross country banquet, which was fun (and tasty). Our team had a really good season and even won the state meet. We got certificates with our PR on them. Mine was 24:55. If I run next year I bet I’ll be a lot faster.

Right after the banquet was basketball practice. (Actually, I got to watch a few minutes of my cousin’s jv volleyball game first. It was the Bluffton-Norwell game and she plays for Bluffton.) Basketball is always fun but tonight it was extra cool.

At the end of practice, we were shooting free throws and I was the last one up. So far we were 1 for 7. Our coach said, “If she makes this, you don’t have to run.” No pressure or anything, right?

Well, the ball hit the back of the rim but it went in. Everybody was celebrating like we’d just won a game or something! It was a fun way to end practice.



Her school was playing our school.

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Low carb flax seed flatbread pizza


This flatbread made from ground flax seed has been making my life much easier during the week, when I’m avoiding most grains. It’s super simple. Basically I took the flax seed muffin I wrote about last week and took away three ingredients, leaving only:

1 egg

3 T. ground flax seed (this is the only ingredient with any carbs, and this is only about 6 grams’ worth)

1 t. baking powder

1/4 t. salt

1 t. coconut oil

That’s pretty much it. I bake this at 350 degrees until it looks like a pancake (or a large flat hamburger, which is what my husband thought it was the other day). The first time I made it I just coated it with a little bit of butter and ate it like toast, which was awesome to a bread-deprived soul. The second time I made this pizza you see above, with tomatoes, avocado and black olives. Also tasty.

Haven’t tried making this in the microwave. Not sure I will, either, since I like the way it turns out in the oven.

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Why cheat day is worth it – even after a 7-POUND one-day gain

I don’t always let myself go as much as I did this past Saturday, but I was in the mood for a no-holds-barred cheat day and I went for it – only to wake up 7 pounds heavier Sunday morning.

I’m not agonizing about it, because I now know what goes up will come back down as long as I stick to my usual weekday plan (mostly based on the Slow Carb Diet, customized a bit with a  nuts-and-cheese lunch here and a Greek yogurt/blueberries/raw oats breakfast there. As long as my day’s carb total is pretty low, I’m not too worried about it).

Now, there are good reasons to avoid gluttony on a weekly basis, but this has been an interesting and enlightening experience for a recovering food addict like myself. I know I’m going to binge on occasion – that’s been a constant both during and after my 2010 weight loss – so it seems like a major improvement to be able to predict when that’s going to happen and not feel all helpless and defeated when I’m blindsided by my inner pig.

Here are some other benefits of cheat day that I’ve experienced:

*After going six days at a stretch without any sugar – not even natural fruit sugars – I find myself getting sick from overdoing it on sweets. That NEVER used to happen. Before, I  was aware of a sugar rush, but it was more like “Weeeee!!!” Whereas now it’s more like, “Ugggghhh!”

*It’s the same with feeling too full. This never used to bother me too much, but increasingly I’ll reach a point where I simply can’t fathom eating another bite. This is unprecedented in my experience.

*Probably the best part, though, is how my desire to “earn” a cheat day simply shuts down that “sneak a little taste” impulse at other points in the week. I’m amazed that I can make cinnamon rolls or a birthday cake and not nibble as I work, knowing that A) I can have as much as I want if I’m willing to wait a day or two,  and B) If I have a little bit during during the week then I don’t get a cheat day, when I could have a lot.

My single biggest coup from the past week was baking a decadently rich apple cake for Colleen’s birthday and not gobbling up the crumb pieces from the part that inevitably falls apart and must be “glued” together with caramel icing. Instead, I just popped the fragments that normally would’ve tempted me into a bag and set it aside for Saturday, when I ate them on top of ice cream topped with some of that leftover caramel icing.

*Finally, it should be noted that while I haven’t lost any weight over the past 3 weeks or so, I’ve maintained my earlier 8-pound loss as I experiment with tweaking this diet to fit my own tastes and needs.

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