September 22, 2015

Scavenger hunt, tire change, and pecan pie

We had another good cross country practice yesterday! Sorry I've been writing so much about cross country lately--it's been consuming a ton of my time, and I really enjoy it, so I've been thinking about it a lot.

Yesterday, I went to Dollar General to buy some hula hoops before heading to practice (I thought it would be a fun game to put four kids in each hula hoop and have them race the other teams while the hula hoop held them together), but they had gotten rid of the summer stuff. I had to head to the school, so I came up with a different game on the fly. I bought 10 small buckets and a package of plastic toy food items (50 food items in the package).

For the game, I wrote down the names of the food items on index cards (one item per card). Then I put a few of those items in each bucket (there were 26 kids there yesterday, so we used 26 items--about three items in each bucket). We put the buckets in the field where we practice, spread out from each other. Then we divided the kids into four teams, and handed each kid an index card with a food item written on it.

The object of the game was to find their toy food item as quickly as possible, relay-style. The first runner on each team ran off to look in the buckets (running from bucket to bucket) to find the item written on their cards. Some of them may have gotten lucky and found their item in the first bucket they looked in; and some of them had to look at several buckets until they found it. Once they found their item, they ran back to their team, and the second runner got to go search.

The kids were allowed to tell their teammates what they saw, so if they knew their teammate was going to be looking for a potato chip, for example, maybe they saw a potato chip in the red bucket while they were looking for their green apple. They could tell their teammate where it was. The first team to get all of their items was declared the winner.

It worked out pretty well, although there are a couple of things I'd do differently next time. I would put the buckets closer together (they were spaced pretty far apart--we had a quarter-mile loop marked off with cones, and the buckets were spread throughout the whole inside of the loop). I would also have more teams with fewer kids on each team (we had 4 teams of 6-7 kids each, and I think it would be better to do 6-7 teams with 4 kids each). Anyway, it was a fun game.

Before they played the game, we had them run easy laps around the 1/4 mile loop, with the goal of running four laps. Normally, we have practice on Tuesdays as well but the kids have their first meet tomorrow! I'm excited (and a little nervous) to see how it goes. It's a 1.3 mile race, and it will be for K-6 graders from several schools. Lots of kids running at the same time!

I don't know if I've said this yet, but I really love coaching this team! It's fun to see some of the kids get excited when they do something they thought they couldn't, or when they hit the laps goal that I give them. I also like getting creative with games that keep them running, but are fun to play. Lots of the kids tell me that they had fun, which makes me happy. Even though Eli will be at the middle school next year, I think I'd like to continue to coach this age group if I can!

I taught myself to change my bike tire tube yesterday! I watched some YouTube videos, which made it seem really overwhelming, and I wasn't confident going into it. I bought a few spare tubes, and when I got home, I changed out my flat front tire. I took a time lapse video (the video is 24 seconds, but it took a lot longer than that to change it out! I'm not sure exactly how long, maybe 15-20 minutes?)

I spent a lot of time trying to find the leak in the old tube, but I never did figure it out. I saw on one of the YouTube videos that I should try to find the leak, and then line it up with the tire so you can find out what caused the flat (to see if there was still an object embedded in the tire). I eventually just carefully felt around the inside of the tire to feel for anything that may have caused it (I didn't find anything).

I was surprised at how easy it was to actually change out the tube! It was a little time-consuming, but I imagine with practice, I'll get faster at it. Joey was hanging out in the driveway with me, and kept coming over to check it out, which you can see in the video ;)

After I changed out the tube, I decided to practice taking off my back tire (something I've never done before). That was much harder than I thought! The chain made it a little confusing, especially when putting the back tire back on. And my hands were covered in grease when I was done! But again, I imagine with practice, I'll get better at it.

Even having just changed the tire once yesterday, I feel a million times more confident about being able to do it during a ride if needed. In a way, the flat tires on Saturday were a blessing in disguise, because now I know what to do when it happens again.

Last night, after we got home from cross country, the kids and I made my dad a pecan pie for his birthday. I'm not sure when I started the tradition of doing this, but pecan pie is his favorite dessert, and I make him one for Father's Day and his birthday. It's the one thing that I am really good at baking!

I decided to calculate the calories in it, just to see what the damage would be if I decided to have a piece. Uh, yeah, 1/8 of the pie has 571 calories! If I had really been craving a piece, it would have been worth it; but I wasn't feeling very good all day, so I decided to pass.

Today was the last day of my six-week experiment with calorie counting. I don't plan to quit counting, because I really like it and it's working well! I'll write more about that tomorrow :)


  1. Changing each tire is the same but getting the back tire off then back on is MUCH more difficult than the front one - make sure you practice that too.

  2. You may already know this trick, but if you immerse the tube in a tub of water, the air will show as bubbles.

  3. Your ideas for cross country are so clever and creative. You really missed your calling as a teacher. I think you would have been wonderful in that profession.
    And well done on taking such an initiative to learn how to change your tires. I think your assessment of your self from that Prudential thing is not accurate. I think you do set goals and you see them through. It's just that your goals may not fit into the same box as those other Prudential bloggers, but you are a go getter. It certainly looks that way to me from your awesome natural Coaching skills as well as now the tire thing and signing up for an alternative ride.
    I read an earlier blog post that popped up on your Spin Class debacle at a gym a few years back. Look at you now!
    You Go Girl!

    1. Thank you for saying that, but even with cross country, Renee is the one who contacted the school and set the whole thing up! I had thought about it for a couple of years, but never took the initiative to do anything. It's the same way with my running coach certification--I've had several people ask me to take them on as a client, but I worry too much about whether they will reach their goals (if they don't, I will feel like it's my fault, if that makes sense). So, because of that, I don't take on clients. It's that attitude that I need to work on getting over!

  4. I am so amazed by your creativeness in coaching the cross country team. I know those kids are privileged to have someone who is putting so much time and thought into their training and practices and are they loving it! Way to go Katie!!
    Loved the video, funny how you sped it up, wouldn't it be nice if you could actually get that tube changed so quickly???
    Pecan Pie? I love it. I also knew it was one of the highest caloried pies in creation. Plus, the few times I've tried to make one, it didn't set up, it remained pretty runny. Oops. Not sure what I did wrong, I followed the recipe, but it happened several times, so at least I was consistent. Then I started buying frozen pecan pies for Thanksgiving, and they were just as good as homemade, in fact in the case of my home cooking them, they were much better. But now I try to avoid them, as it is real hard to justify over 500 calories for one small piece. Your pie looks delicious. Now I will try to erase that picture from my mind, before the craving for a piece of that wonderfulness overwhelms me.

    1. With pecan pie, you want to make sure that you let it cool completely before cutting into it--if you don't, it will be runny. The cooling will make it set up!

  5. I love your cross country posts - no worries here about a bored reader. :) As a runner who loves cross country in particular, and wishes more kids ran in general, I think your practice games border on brilliant. Keep up the good work!

  6. Your cross country games are so fun! What a great way to keep the kids engaged.

    Maybe your tube didn't actually have a hole and was just not put on properly when it was replaced during the ride, causing it to leak? That happened to me once!
    Ditto to the water trick a commenter posted above. Easiest way to find a hole.
    I also taught myself to change them via youtube and have definitely gotten a lot quicker at it. The first time was so hard!

    That pie looks delicious and totally worth the (carefully counted) calories!


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