Another ten days without a post. I’m slacking.

Things that have happened lately:

We watched BYU lose to Missouri. That morning I ran six miles with a friend (was supposed to be a half, but I felt so miserable that I gave up partway through). Flu = so fun.

Our sweet niece turned one!

I hosted book club last week. (Note to self: hosting both book club and recipe group in one month is too much.) We read Then They Came For Me, the true story of a journalist who spent 118 days in an Iranian prison in 2009. Interesting stuff. I had all kinds of illusions about making Iranian food (dates! pistachios! all the things!) and then the week was busier than expected so we had chocolate chip cookies.

Friday night we had dinner with my visiting Uncle Derek at Lebanese Taverna. Then on Saturday the three of us went to Antietam, the site of not only the bloodiest battle of the Civil War, but also the bloodiest day in American history (23,000 casualties). We listened to a ranger speak, then drove through the battlefield. It reminded me of Gettysburg. I’m glad we went.IMG_2836

Afterward, Jason went to work and Derek and I went to Sweetgreen. Then I dropped him off at the airport and came home and took a nap. Jason and I watched the BYU game, after which I went babysitting.

other things

I wrote out our Sacramento blog post (which took kind of a long time) and then forgot to save it and couldn’t figure out how to recover it, so I’ve been having blog-writers block until I rewrote it.

Anyway, things here in DC continue as usual. We’ve had a busy few weeks, with something going on literally every night. Granted, most of these are very fun things. I’ve been baby-sitting a fair amount, Jason has bishopric meeting every week, and in between we’ve found time for lots of football, some basketball, and not enough tennis.

I hosted cooking group last week. The theme this month was Thanksgiving sides. We had two kinds of rolls (my orange rolls pictured below. I didn’t get pictures of the other dishes!), green beans, two recipes of sweet potatoes, pumpkin bread, pineapple upside-down cake, and pumpkin cake. Cooking group is a good excuse to just hang out and talk and eat food, but this time it served the secondary purpose of making me so excited for Thanksgiving I can hardly stand it.

Jason had Veteran’s Day off, so I took it off too. I went for a run in the morning (last run with Dani before her marathon this weekend!) and we had a big breakfast. Then we went to see the new James Bond movie, which was as expected. The scenes shot in Mexico City were pretty cool. We had leftovers for lunch, then got Jason his flu shot and came into the city for dinner with one of my coworkers. It was really nice to have a day off in the middle of the week!

This weekend we’re looking forward to another long run, a BYU football game, and hopefully a trip to the library. Only two more weeks until Thanksgiving!

in which we go to california

Jason and Kiel became fast friends more than a decade ago, brought together by their love of the Red Sox. As I understand it, they spent the October of their freshman year skipping afternoon classes to reserve a television in DT to watch the World Series. Good thing the Red Sox won that year!
(Yep, that’s my husband with the Martinelli’s sparkling cider and no beard.)

They went on their missions, arrived home, and took many a Spanish class together. Eventually, Kiel and Emily and Jason and I got married the same summer, and we went our separate ways. For the last five years, Jason and I have been meaning to visit the Yagers out in California.

Even the New York Times wanted us to visit, as evidenced by this article posted the day we left.

I spent the flight reading Mindy Kaling’s new book (loaned to me by my coworker Amanda. Not confusing at all.) and sleeping awkwardly as I do on planes.

Kiel and Emily picked us up from the airport and we headed to dinner at Dad’s Restaurant, featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and home to some pretty awesome chili-mac. This was the first of what would be many delicious meals during our trip.

The next morning we got up early (but probably not as early as we should have considering our three-hour time difference) and Kiel drove us to San Francisco!

He showed us the financial district, and then we headed up to Coit Tower. IMG_1897

Turns out you can take an elevator up to the top, from which you get a great 360 view of the city and the bay.IMG_1894

It also turns out that the glass 1. is very clean and 2. may look to the casual observer like it is flush with the back of the window. Not so. I leaned forward, hoping to get a closer look at the scenery and smacked my face on the glass, leaving behind a smudge of my chin, nose, and forehead. Jason couldn’t stop laughing, and I couldn’t really blame him.IMG_1895

San Francisco is really a beautiful city, though, and we picked a great day to visit!IMG_2799

We drove down Lombad Street (very cool. Seemed much steeper than when I visited as six-year-old.) then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf.IMG_1902

Naturally, we stood around watching the sea lions for a while. They are so weird, but also so engrossing.IMG_1898

We picked up a refrigerator magnet and perused the boardwalk for a bit. Then we walked over to Ghiradelli Square.IMG_2798

To be honest, I had been looking forward to this part of the trip since I discovered the factory existed. We had some of the best ice cream ever in chocolate dipped waffle cones and, in my case, dark chocolate hot fudge. Oh man. While we browsed the chocolate shop I kept regretting that we only brought carry-ons; I am pretty sure luscious hot fudge counts as a liquid, and three ounces just wouldn’t have been enough!

Did I mention that the weather was incredible?IMG_2810

Dessert taken care of, we took an uber over to the mission district. The area we were in felt a lot like Mexico City, right down to the Donald Trump piñatas.IMG_1910

At La Taqueria, we enjoyed our second amazing meal of the trip: burritos the 538 blog called The Best Burritos in America. The burritos, both carnitas and steak, did not disappoint.IMG_2802

Jason also got a lengua taco and I tried one bite. It was fine, but not my favorite.IMG_2801

We had discussed walking over the Golden Gate, but realized late in the day that traffic on the way back to Sacramento was already ridiculous, so we opted to drive over and get some pictures from the other side.IMG_1912

The view was pretty stunning.IMG_1913

Oh hey, there’s the city!IMG_2812

Kiel was a great tour guide. We had such a blast, and are so grateful he took the day off to chauffeur us around.IMG_1922

When we got back to Sacramento we played with Emily and Kiel’s adorable dogs, Simon and Garf. They almost convinced me we should someday get a dog. (Almost.) Then the Yagers took us to dinner in midtown (I think? Still learning my Sacramento geography) at Mulvaney’s B&L. Awesome meal #3. First of all, we had a fresh mozzarella and tomato appetizer that put all other caprese to shame. (The tomatoes were like candy!) I had fried quail with pomegranate sauce, a salad of delicious things that I couldn’t identify, and a waffle, while Jason had the most tender piece of pork ever. We finished our meal with a brioche bread pudding with caramelized ginger ice cream and (for me) a bite of Kiel and Emily’s valrhona chocolate ding dong. We finished off the evening with some baseball (go Royals) and went to bed.

The next morning we went to Apple Hill for hot apple cider and apple donuts. I’m beginning to think Sacramento is the perfect place to live: not too far from SF, the beach, Tahoe, and orchards. IMG_2823

We browsed the craft booths and picked up a caramel apple pie for later. Then on the way home we stopped by a second orchard to confirm that we’d made the right choice the first time. We had, but stopping gave us an opportunity to get the only group picture from the trip.

We also took a detour to the temple, which is beautiful.IMG_2817

Once we got back to Sacramento, we had lunch at a ramen place. Very good. So much better than Top Ramen.

After some much-needed naps, we headed out again to see Sacramento in daylight. We saw lots of gorgeous homes, some great parks (including the zoo from the car) and Kiel’s law school, which has one of the prettiest libraries I’ve seen on a college campus.IMG_2818

Then we stopped for ice cream at Gunther’s. Two thumbs way up.

We spent some time in Old Town, then went to dinner at Tres Hermanas (not to be confused with Provo’s Los Hermanos). Again, awesome food.IMG_2824

In the evening we went to a Halloween party with some of Kiel and Emily’s friends, bringing along the apple pie because we totally hadn’t had enough to eat yet. We introduced everyone to the Bowl Game, and then we played Heads Up.

The next morning we had a quick breakfast at Bacon & Butter, which is exactly as delicious as it sounds, and headed home. We had such a great time with Kiel and Emily (and Simon and Garf) and can’t wait to get out to California again!

oh october.

This has been the most exhausting month. I’m looking forward to November.

After we got home from Utah we both launched into a crazy time at work. Jason left, I worked many late nights, and eventually we were reunited after my full day away Saturday. (I spent Friday night in the city so I could be to work bright and early the next morning to lead a fun run and check out my crazy George Washington-themed hotel room).

The one other funny work reunion thing was that I inadvertently matched my dress to the table linens at the gala. Awesome.  We spent the next week swamped at work again, but made time for some tennis on Monday night. I also finally got back to the buns, hips and thighs class at my gym that I love so very much. We also had an evacuation drill at work so I finally got to put my bright green back-up building marshall vest to good use. On Saturday I churned out my longest run since Utah (13.5 miles!) with Dani whose marathon is just on the horizon. My favorite part of the run (besides catching up, of course) was seeing all the beautiful fall foliage. Seriously, Virginia’s trees are brilliant this year. Afterward Jason and I went to a baptism for a new member in our ward which was one of the better things we’ve done with a Saturday in a while. We got Cava for lunch, watched BYU pummel Wagner, and spent the evening baby-sitting.

Sunday started early for Jason and less early for me. It was a gray, dreary day. After church we took naps and cooked a lot in preparation for dinner with the missionaries in honor of Adam’s birthday. We made a new spaghetti recipe (which takes spaghetti sauce to a new level, even according to my favorite man of Italian descent), Grandma Frost’s meatballs, Lion House rolls, and an apple pie. It was a feast.

On Monday morning we got a video from my mom of her Maryland-dwelling friend delivering a cake to Adam. I loved it. It was so fun to see him sort of in person. His letter was also great, and he thanked us all for the birthday treats. Jason and I sent him a batch of snickerdoodles and a bacon-flavored candy bar. I figure nineteen year old boys are the only ones who can/would/should eat bacon and chocolate together.

Now it is Wednesday. I’ve got book club tonight (which I’ve missed for the last several months) and Jason and I both need to pack up for our next adventure: a visit with Kiel and Emily!

Oh, this is not a great picture, but it is a great recipe: sweet and spicy roast chicken with dates and pistachios. I’ve gotten really behind on tracking our new recipe each week, but this is a good one.

the rest of utah

On Monday we went to lunch with Elaina, one of my favorite running friends of all time. I can’t believe it’s been five years since we used to run together in Kentucky.

That evening Grandma and Grandpa Pullan and Dave came for dinner, and then the rest of the Pullans came for dessert. There’s never enough time to spend with the extended fan when we are in Utah, but that evening was sure fun.

Tuesday morning Jason, Mom and I went to the Payson temple. I got to go through the open house when I was in Utah in April, but Jason hadn’t seen the inside yet. It’s incredible.

We went to lunch with my parents and Jordan and Mio at Arctic Circle so Jason could have his most beloved halibut sandwich. I hear it is delicious. Then, my dad showed his love for his son-in-law by accompanying us to the BYU bookstore so Jason could pick up a pullover.

That afternoon we played tennis. Grant is so good. Since he’s left-handed, his serve is really disorienting. We played a couple games and then decided we were probably better off hitting around since I couldn’t actually score points. Meanwhile, Jason and Dave continued their Frost-Frost showdown. Mom and I also played as a doubles team against Grant for a bit. Being at the school tennis courts in the fall felt so very nostalgic, like Roni, Hannah, and Coach Ralph should be there with us (and that I should be worse at tennis, I guess. Sadly, I’m pretty sure the thirteen times I’ve played this summer have taken my game to a higher level than when I played in high school.)

Before dinner, Mariel, Jordan, Hannah and I went to Wal-Mart, and home by way of the temple. It is also beautiful at night.

We had a great evening together, which culminated in playing the Bowl Game! It is the best, especially when my mom is playing. We put Adam’s name in the bowl four times. I think we miss him. Other doubles: Huckleberry Finn, Rafael Nadal, and Rachel Carson. We said good-bye to the Deans and Hannah that night, which was so sad. I’m glad they could come down and hang out with us!

I got up really early the next morning so my mom and I could go on a walk on the canal road before leaving for the airport. I love the view of Utah valley from up there.

On the way to SLC, we stopped to see my Aunt Sharla and Grady, who we missed on Monday night. Grady showed us his alphabet book (adorable) and his two-years-ago Halloween costume: an orange ninja hippo. Kids are so funny. Then, my mom dropped us off at the airport, I did my obligatory leaving-Utah-crying routine, and we were on our way.

I hate leaving Utah and I hate leaving our family and sometimes I get worked up about the competitive craziness of the greater DC area, but by Thursday afternoon I remembered why we like living here after all. We had a wonderful time in Utah, though, and I can’t wait until we get out there again.

marathon weekend

We listened to the second session of conference at the hotel. Afterward, Jason and Dave played tennis and the rest of us went swimming. That pool felt pretty great on sore muscles. Later the gentlemen watched the priesthood session while the women talked in the hot tub. I love St. George.

That night we went to Apollo Burger, which (whether based on my hunger or otherwise) was probably my favorite meal of our Utah trip.

In the morning we drove the marathon route again while listening to the first Sunday session of conference. Jason got a pretty good picture of us at the start line.

We don’t even look that sore and exhausted! (Plus we are much less sunburned than last year.)

On the way home we stopped at Oscar’s for lunch. We missed Adam and his Whoo-o-Pass burger!

Then we drove home through Zion National Park. It was awesome

Mio, Hannah, and Jordan took the shuttle to the top, but the rest of us just went home. Grant was a really good sport about sitting in the very back seat.

I’m so glad we took the detour. There’s something about the scale of the west that I love so much.St. George Marathon-10

When we got home, Mom, Jason and I drove up the canyon, another one of my favorite places. The leaves weren’t as vibrant as last year, but we still got some good pictures.St. George Marathon-11

We didn’t make Grant take us camping this year, but I thought about it.IMG_2754-0

Later that evening Marty came to see us and we had a good time catching up (and eating. So much good food in Payson!) It was such a great weekend.

26.2 (again)

Grant and I woke up at 3:45 a.m. the morning of the marathon, and so, by default, did our parents. We got ready to go, then had some Cheerios and almond milk and purple Powerade.

For some reason I was convinced we would forget our bibs, even after I myself had pinned them to our shirts. We did not forget.Mom and Dad drove us to the bus-loading zone, where we got in a not-so-long line to board a school bus. We were glad we got there early so we avoided a hoard of people who arrived just after us. The bus departed and we were on our way!

The drive up to the start line takes a while, which we knew both from last year and from driving the route the day before, but it feels even longer in the dark. We talked a bit, but mostly looked out the window.

When we reached the start line, we immediately got in line for the first of several bathroom trips, then grabbed mylar blankets and sat on the road to wait. The weather at the start line was much more pleasant this year–probably sixty degrees instead of the frigid wind we encountered last time. At 6:35 a.m. we tossed our gear bag in the truck and headed over to the crowd to await the starting gun.

Finally, at 6:45 a.m., the race began! We were closer to the front of the pack this time, and crossed the start line at 6:51.

Miles 1-3
It felt good to be running after the long wait at the start line. Grant noted that his foot hurt a little bit, but that he presumed the pain would go away. We passed the 4:15 pace group and lots of people in matching running garb. (For some reason Grant didn’t want to match me this year?) Grant tied his shoe at one point.

Miles 4-6
First bit of downhill. It was nice. Suddenly, I developed a sharp pain in my left hip. I’ve never had pain like it, running or not, and I was a little worried. I tried to focus on breathing, which helped a little. We noted that the sky was darker this year than last, since the 2014 race started almost thirty minutes late. We did some 8-minute miles here to give us some wiggle room at the Veyo Hill, which loomed large ahead of us.

Mile 7
First we passed the Veyo Pie Shop, which has a terrifying anthropomorphized pie mascot. Grant suggested maybe we come back this afternoon and get a pie. That sounded like a good idea to me. Then we started up the Veyo Hill, a mile-long 6% grade. We slowed down a lot and just plodded our way up. It wasn’t nearly as bad as last year, probably because we were in the shade almost the entire way up. At the top, Grant made use of the bathroom.

Mile 8
Tried to enjoy this downhill portion before the next bit.

Miles 9-13
This is the part of the race where last year I began to feel absolutely terrible, so I was a little anxious. We didn’t worry too much about speed through here, and fueled up with some waffle (which Grant did not like as much as I did). Around mile 12 I told Grant I couldn’t talk anymore because I was beat, so he told me about the top ten men’s tennis players. We were so happy to reach the half mark at 1:58:27, on pace for our goal of less than four hours.

Miles 14-15
This is where the St. George marathon gets good. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the canyon is. At mile 16 we saw spectators and what appeared to be an alpine band (accordion, lederhosen, etc.)

Miles 16-18
We still felt pretty good. Grant wanted some more food, so we opened the sports beans. I ate one and spit it out immediately. While my stomach felt much better than last year, I definitely didn’t feel like eating. Not eating when or as much as we should have was the biggest mistake we made this year. The second biggest mistake was me thinking “Oh, we’ve just got 8.2 miles left” at mile 18.

Miles 19-20
We saw a woman who had fallen down and looked like I did when I encountered the shrub in September. Grant and I were still talking, and the scenery was incredible. We hit 20 miles at exactly three hours, which was good because prior to that mile marker I was incapable of doing math. 1 hour = 6.2 miles is an easier calculation, though, and I figured we would be just under our goal. At mile 20, Grant said “Hey, we just have a 10k left,” which felt pretty good.

Miles 21-24
Lots of downhill. Feet killing. During one of these miles I said to Grant, “My body is rebelling.” This is also where the aid stations don’t exactly mirror the mile markers, which was a little disorienting. We were in survival mode now.

Mile 25
The weirdest thing about a marathon is how something that should be easy (like running two miles, which I can do in my sleep) becomes insurmountable. I was not feeling great as we entered St. George proper. People lined the streets, handing out soda, candy, and popsicles, none of which sounded appealing. I grabbed an otter pop and held it against my forehead. By now the sun was out in full force and, while the weather felt better than last year, I was more than ready to be finished. More than once I told Grant I couldn’t do this, and that I had to stop running, and he just kept repeating, “Come on, Amanda. We’ve got this!” Mile 25 was by far the hardest mile I have ever run. This photo (from about a mile later) shows how we were feeling.

St. George Marathon-6

Mile 26+.2
We passed a water feature/splash pad and I legitimately thought about just walking over and laying down in the water. I didn’t care about anything at this point, even about making it under goal. I just wanted to stop running. My feet, core, shoulders, hips and IT band all hurt. Grant kept me going. A little ways ahead of the finish line, we saw Jason, camera at the ready!

We look so much happier here than we really were. The rest of the fam was also there cheering us on: Mio and Jordan, Hannah, Mom and Dad, and Dave. My watch showed that we hit marathon distance at 3:57:42 seconds, so that’s what I’m going with. (Official time was 3:58.) We not only finished under our goal, but we had run the whole way. We kept plugging away, and crossed the finish line together. I just threw my arm around Grant. I couldn’t even cry this time; all I wanted was a carton of chocolate milk and to sit down.

We wandered through the post-chute food area for a while before determining that the Great Harvest bread and Creamies did not sound good. We each grabbed a water and a chocolate milk, then headed out to find our family.

So glad to be finished!

I can’t overemphasize how happy we were to be not running anymore.St. George Marathon-4

So happy.

St. George Marathon-5

It was amazing to see our family at  the end. Jason’s been so supportive (as always) through the last five crazy months of training. Couldn’t have done this without him.

It was also bittersweet, since we had hoped my dad would be doing it with us. Next yearSt. George Marathon-8

We also couldn’t help but miss Adam, but he’s where he is supposed to be. (Judging from his most recent letter, I don’t think he was disappointed to miss out.)St. George Marathon-3

And Dave filled in. He was a good sport to come along on a madcap Pullan weekend and we’re so glad he did!IMG_2724

Grant and I changed into our sandals (thanks Mom!) and crashed. We probably should have walked around, but at this point we just wanted to rest. A few minutes later we went to get our gear bag, and then–on my dad’s instruction–went back to the Runners Only area for food. We each had a piece of bread (of which I handled one bite then gave it to Grant) and a Creamie. Are those a Utah thing? Anyway, they were delicious.St. George Marathon-3-2

Hannah and Dad walked back to the Hotel, but the rest of us drove. Grant and I showered, and then we went to Mongolian Barbecue for Mongolian barbecue. I think this is my new go-to post-race meal: carbs, salt, and a fortune cookie!St. George Marathon-1

I’m so grateful the race went well. I worried we would have a heartburn/leg cramp repeat of last year, or that the hills would get to me, or that Grant’s lack of running (in spite of his very active lifestyle) would be a problem. None of those things materialized, thank goodness, and Grant and I admitted to each other later that we pushed ourselves so we wouldn’t let each other down. He’s an awesome brother, a great running buddy, and the toughest sixteen-year-old I know.