Saturday, August 31, 2013

Running with the Kids is Just Peachy! Race Recap and Recipe

Me and the kidlets after my race
This morning's race was a local 5K to benefit the American Heart Association.  As my husband wanted to go for a long bike ride, I got the kiddos.  Luckily for me, there were kids' races after the main race, as well as my best TriBuddy and her family coming along as well.  As my kids have been bugging me to find them another race, and TriBuddy's very brave husband spontaneously offered to watch all SIX kids (I have two, they have 4) while the mommies ran, it was a perfect setup.  

As I'm eight days from my key triathlon for the season, this morning would be a training run.  My seventh straight day of working out (not advisible.  I really must get a coach).  I realized this while wondering out loud to my husband last night why on earth I was so darn tired and sore.  Checked my workout log - that is why!  To think that I'm now scatterbrained in a direction where I exercise too much instead of too little.  A new kind of stupid for me.  Anyway, suffice it to say, I wasn't looking for any records here.  Which is good, because the course was an out-and-back starting with a steep downhill that (by definition) become a big *ss uphill coming back.  Oy vay.

As you can see by the graph, I started out fast and fizzled.  As in, walked the hill.  And forgot to turn off MapMyRide (my actual time was 31:44).  Post race stupidity is a strong suit of mine.  But as I was just doing a training run, and my PR for a 5K is only a couple of minutes faster, I'm good with that.

Speaking of post-race stupidity - these were at the finish line, and were very good.  It's a water bottle with some electrolyte powder in the cap.  

You push it to spill the powder into the drink, shake and drink.  Very good and not too sweet.  However, it took my about 5 minutes and a temper tantrum (and which point TriBuddy's husband took it from me and showed me how to operate) for this monkey to be able to figure out how to work it.  (Seriously - don't ever let me drive or make decisions after exercise.  It just isn't pretty.  Ask TriBuddy how I wrecked my bike after one of our training sessions.... just a hint... I wasn't riding it at the time.  Story for another day.....)

The best part of this race was the kid stuff.  The kids got their faces painted, built model wooden cars with volunteers from Home Depot, played with sidewalk chalk, and even ended up having cotton candy for breakfast (a parenting decision made post-race: see what I mean?).

Rockin the free sunglasses... in the rain.

Rainbow cheeked
But after they cheered Mommy down the chute, the real fun began - the KIDS RACE!!  There were three distances: 50 yards for the 3,4&5 year olds, 100 yards for the 7,8 & 9 year olds, and a 400 yard for the biggest kids.  My kids immediately scorned being put in the baby race, so my 4 year old son decided he'd race the 100, and my 5 year old daughter the 400.

Lining up for the 100 with the bigger kids

Running his heart out

Little guy's race was up first.  See him right in the middle in the blue shirt, with all the kids around him twice as tall?  Yeah - that become a problem.  His heart is as big as the sky, but his legs are little.  He tried super hard but dissolved into tears before the finish line because he was last.  We would have a long talk on the way home about age groups and the only competition that matters being against yourself, but he just wasn't having it.  DFL is terrible, even when (especially when) you are four.  Sorry buddy....

While consoling my littlest racer, my daughter queued up for hers.  She's in the black pants and pink shirt as the start was yelled?  She can regularly pace me (not that that's hard....) for at least a mile when we run together, so I had no concerns about her.  She ran and laughed the whole way around, and waved to her mom and little brother as she sped by. 

On your mark, get set, GO!

On the last leg - blowing by the other littles

In the awesome spirit of kid-friendly races, the organizers had a whole stack of prizes and medals for the kids.  I could have kissed the volunteers.  People that "get" kids are worth their eight in gold.  My little dude stopped crying as soon as he got a medal around his neck and got to pick out a beach ball and a wicked loud whistle (the whistle was also a poor post-race parenting decision).  My daughter also became the proud owner of a whistle and bubbles.  Remember when all it took to be deliriously happy was bubbles?  

All the racing kids with their medals 
There's really not much better in life than racing with a great friend and my two best little guys.  Even if there is a great big hill at the end.
Me and TriBuddy before we got all sweaty

Recipe: Spiced Peach Jam

Home from the race by lunchtime.  My husband, not to be outdone, had just gotten in from a 30 mile mountain bike ride (go babe!) and still had the lawn to mow, so I fed the kids leftover (homemade) pizza and did what any reasonable sweaty, tired, sore mom would do.  I plopped them in front a movie.  

Then I had another project.  The kids took me peach picking last week, which is great fun.  You can fill your bag within 10 minutes, and then they sit in your kitchen, challenging you to do something with them before they all ripen at the same time and become a box of mush.

I love peaches: fresh, peach jam, peach salsa - you name it.  The trouble is that, unlike berries that can be cooked whole, or apples where you can use a food mill to take off the skin, stone fruit takes a ton of work to process.  The fastest way to get the skin off peaches is to prepare boiling water and a ice bath.  Make an "X" on the bottom of each fruit, and working in small batches, dunk them first in boiling water for about 1-2 minutes, then into the ice bath for the same amount of time.

If done properly, the skin comes right off, and you can then slice them up for whatever you are making. In reality, it took me all of The Lorax plus another half an hour to get through our box.  Making jam isn't usually considered an endurance sport, but it should be.

So many peaches!  Keep squirting with lemon juice to keep from browning
To make Spiced Peach Jam, I prefer to use powdered low-sugar pectin.  It is the easiest of the pectins to use in my opinion, and I like to make my own jam because I can control the amount of sugar that goes in (not much). 
  • 7 cups of chopped, peeled, pitted peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 7 tbsp of low sugar pectin
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 2 cups of sugar
Combine the first four ingredients in a large saucepan.  Cook on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick and the fruit has started to break down (a potato masher helps a lot here).  Add the sugar and stir well.  The jam is ready to can when it coats a spoon, and when it sets up when you dribble a small amount on a frozen plate (or ice pack, bag of frozen peas - use what you've got).  Fill 8 oz. jars with 1/4 inch headspace, and process for 10 minutes in a water bath canner, then let sit for 5 minutes before removing and letting cool.  You should hear the lids "pop" as they cool, indicating they are sealed.  Amounts here make about ten 8 oz jars but this recipe can be scaled down.  Do not make batches larger than 10 jars - the jam won't set.

In addition to being our Christmas presents and year supply, homemade fruit jams and preserves also make a really lovely old-fashioned filling for cakes and cupcakes.  I would recommend filling brown sugar cupcakes with this jam, and topping with cinnamon frosting and a fresh peach slice.  If you bake some rum into the batter or mix some rum into the frosting, I won't be the first to judge you either.  

Finished jars of Spiced Peach Jam

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