Running, Uncategorized

Long Run Fridays (and a PSA about parchment paper)

This post could also be titled, “The Best Part About Not Working” or, “The Key to my Happiness.”

As I have mentioned before, part of my journey this past year was getting back on the running train and working my mileage up to longer distances. I started a marathon training program from Another Mother Runner during the summer. I fell off for a few weeks during summer travel and activities but got back on track as the kids headed back to school. For those of you who aren’t runners, pretty much every training plan includes one longer run per week, which most people do on the weekends, usually on Saturday as called for in the training plan.

This fall, #1 had school volleyball games on Saturdays. #2 had gymnastics meets on Saturdays or Sundays. #3 had Tae Kwon Do on Saturday mornings. As my runs got longer, I found myself starting earlier and earlier to get my miles in before their activities. Each Saturday, I would check the time and my pace nervously, worried that I would not get back in time for that morning’s activity. Then, one day it occurred to me – why don’t I do my long runs on Friday? I am the master of me and I can decide not to volunteer or do things for other people for that one day. Long Run Fridays were born and I am the happiest mother runner ever!

Today is the last day of school before winter break, so I agreed to make an exception to my usual no volunteering rule when my son’s very sweet teacher who never asks for anything asked if I could help the kids bake cookies. We are really lucky to be in a building that used to be a Junior High, so it has some cool features (despite the lead pipes and peeling paint) like an oven in one of the classrooms. When I arrived, the kids had already decorated their cookies and a lovely woman from the community who has been helping first graders bake holiday cookies at our school for years was in the process of putting cookies in the oven. I was a little surprised to see her placing the squares of parchment paper directly on the oven racks but I will admit I did not strongly object. As another mom whom I often volunteer with put it, “I don’t want to step on any toes,” as I may already be known to do. Well, ladies, I can now tell you that parchment paper will indeed catch on fire if not placed on a baking sheet.

Charred remains of cookies decorated by first graders.

Less than ten minutes later, there were actually flames shooting up in the oven. The fire extinguisher was deployed by the quick thinking teacher. The kids who witnessed the scene complained of the smokey smell and exclaimed about the FIRE they saw. As I ushered a group of kiddos into one of the other first grade classrooms, the teacher said, without missing a beat, “Well, this is an exciting day boys and girls.”

Never a dull moment. On the bright side, this left me a bit more time to get today’s run in. My 7 mile run put me over the 1,000 mile mark for the year! 1,000 miles was a goal I didn’t know I had until I saw how close I was a few weeks back. Very appropriate that it came on a Long Run Friday, the last Friday of the year with the kids at school. I decided to run one of my favorite routes – along the Willamette River in Lake Oswego.

Willamette River from George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego. But not taken today. Today is a dreary day. It is December in Oregon after all.

An exciting day indeed. And, for the love of God, please only use parchment paper on a baking sheet or in a pan.

Photographic evidence of Long Run Fridays @MommysGapYear on Instagram and miles logged @Annaliese Dolph on Strava.


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