Thursday, July 30, 2009

I finally took the leap and chopped it!

That's right. I met the man's family as my usual longish haired self and felt like I could just chop it!

After all, if I didn't do it now, I knew I'd chicken and always wonder what it would have looked like to go a bit shorter. So yesterday, I called my hairstylist and made the appointment.

When I walked in I had planned on just going a few inches shorter with layered/choppy ends. But she convinced me that the A line would look good. So after some deliberation over the knots in my stomach, I just said "i'm such a chicken. ok, just do it!"

Does anyone else feel like their hair kind of helps define their personality? That's how I am. I always feel like a long haired person so it's hard to go short, but I'm glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. Plus, this will be PERFECT for this weekend's hot weather and the big camping/country music festival I'm heading to with my fabulous group of my high school friends!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The heat, oh the heat!

What a coincidence that the day the man and I arrive back in Oregon (to record breaking 105F+ degree temps)that I also receive an email from Runner's World focused on running in the heat. Last night, after being stuck in airports and airplanes all morning and then roasting away in my office for the latter half of the day, I decided I NEEDED to get the heart pumping. So, I put on the running clothes, the sunglasses and a dri fit hat (bc it was 106 out) and hit the pavement.

I decided to take it easy for my own sake. So, I settled on alternating between running three minutes and walking one. I went about 2 miles, fitting in 16 minutes of running and 6 minutes of walking. Afterward, I was absolutely pouring. I didn't shower immediately since I could tell the sweat was still running down my legs at a steady pace. Even after the shower, I was still sweating. Ugh!

This morning, I decided to get a head start on the heat and hit the road at 630AM for a nice 35 min run. This was an ipod necessary run bc I knew with the temps being already near 70, I'd need a little extra motivation. And let me tell you, it helped! After a 5 min cooldown walk and 60 lunges (oh the legs are feeling those!), I stretched, did some pushups, and grabbed the dumbbells for some tricep and bicep work. It felt great to get a serious workout in before my day even started!

Tonight I think I'll do another run or an easy ride because I'm really trying to ramp it up for the Hood 2 Coast relay! This time I may dunk my hat in cold water before I go. Who knows!

So tell me, how do you beat the heat?

Steve's Run race report

Well, Saturday morning we woke up at 630 AM, exhausted but knowing we had things to do! So I put on the running gear, put in the contacts and headed to the kitchen for oatmeal with half a banana and a splash of milk. The man is not a morning person, but he finally appeared in the kitchen about 10 min before departure time. The man's mom, the man and myself hopped into the mini van for the hour long trek to the small town of Dowagiac, MI for Steve's Run.

We got there with no problems and quickly made our way to late packet pickup outside the old train station. Music was playing and runners were getting excited. After a quick stop at the porta pots, we made our way to the start line, took a 4 min jog around a few blocks and waited for the fun to begin. Just before go time, they started playing Jock Jams which really got me pumped. Then they did a short speech and moment of silence for Steve, the former Southwestern Michigan College employee who had died of cancer a few years back. Now all the proceeds go to a scholarship fund in his name.

The race started downtown and we headed up a short incline, over the bridge and at about 3/4 of a mile is when the fun really started. This wasn't just your ordinary road race. This was a road and trail race. We first made our way across the golf course for a bit until we were forced to head up the hill and through a cemetary and then onto some seriously fun trail in the woods. Man, I was loving it!

As far as terrain goes, this course hit a home run! Hands down, the most fun and best variety I've ever experienced in a race. At one point they even had hay bails in the trail that you could hurdle if you were so inclined. Being 5'3" I can't seem to risk it, but the man reported that he did indeed hurdle the hay, as he's 6'4" and still holds the state record in 300 m hurdles.

After going up and down several rolling hills and around several corners through the woods and through the SWMC campus, we found ourselves back on the road. And boy, the legs were having NONE of that. For the first 1/4 mile back on the pavement, my quads were saying "um, what the heck??" After a bit they responded by picking up the pace.

About halfway in, a woman (shorter than myself) and prob in her 30-40s passed me with bare feet! She and I seemed to be the same pace because she stayed right in front of me for the next few miles. But when we hit that pavement, all i could think is "yikes, that must really hurt now." I'm sure it wasn't doing wonders for her pace either. On the trail I imagine it might have felt kind of cool and squishy, but not so much on the road.

She stayed ahead for the rest of the race, but when we turned the corner back to that first bridge we had crossed I just said to myself "keep moving. this hurts, but you're not letting No Shoes beat you!" But man, was she pushing it. In the last 200 meters I could hear and then see a woman coming up behind me trying to sprint past and I was even with No Shoes. That's when I said (in my head of course) "game on! give everything you have left in that tank!" So I sprinted, as fast as these legs could carry me. And I beat both of them!

Please notice the barefoot lady in light pink right behind me!

Alas, just as the 10k on 4th of July, the man was waaaay out in front of me. He finished at 45:52 or so, improving his time by a minute or so from the last one and I finished in 52:04, improving my time from the Butte to Butte by almost two minutes! Woohoo! It wasn't a 10k PR for me, but I'll take it!

Here we are just a bit hot and tired after the humid, but surprisingly cool race.

Time: 52:04
Pace: 8:23
Division Place: 6/24
Overall: 241/1282 finishers

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Somewhere above the clouds

By now, I'm somewhere high above the clouds enjoying my healthy snacks and attempting to sleep, (but probably unable to) and therefore left to reading all the books and mags I've toted with me while the man sleeps.

As I'm writing this on Wed, I have to say I'm feeling a bit more confident about the 10k. I managed to fit in a second 25 min run along the river during lunch, after dropping my new bike off to get tuned and picking up some new library books. It felt good and I felt better for not just doing one 20 min run, but a 25 min run just 5 hrs later, in the sun!

Now I'm off to meet the man, grab the dog, and head to my parents house for a bbq dinner, after which we'll them to so kindly watch the dog for the long weekend. Yippee for parents who live close! And later tonight I'll get to packing. Oh, packing. We've missed each other. Let the indecision decision making begin!

Stay tuned for the race and travel report when I return! And have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Steve's Run, here we come!

So, just one day 'til we hop on the big bird and head to Michigan via Chicago! I'm finally over round two of this crappy cold and felt up for hitting the pavement this morning.

When I woke up I could see grey and feel the cool breeze rather than the usual sun that's been peeking through the windows as of late causing these 95 degree days. But the lungs and throat felt much better so I threw on the shorts, shirt and shoes and grabbed the dog. We did 20 minutes at a decent clip, then I did a few min of yoga and stretching and hit the shower.

It wasn't a six miler, but I'm feeling a little more confident that this Saturday won't totally suck. I'm fired up for Steve's Run! The man still has a bit of a cold so I'm hoping that disappears by tomorrow morning. Either way, this girl is packed for some serious relaxation in the sun, enjoying the lake, and BBQing with the man's family.

I'm trying to use all the leftovers in the fridge (because I hate to see food I spent $$ on, go to waste) so this morning I opted for an egg w/ a slice of cheddar melted on top, accompanied by a slice of tomato, avocado and ham all on top a freshly toasted piece of bread. Basically, a spin on the egg/cheese biscuit. It was awesome!

Tomorrow our flight leaves at 520AM, meaning we need to be awake around 315AM (he lives close to the local airport), which also means it's going to be a short night. I don't know about you, but I often take early flights bc a) they tend to be cheaper and b) i can get where I'm going earlier. The only prob is it throws the bod off schedule. Even though it will be the middle of the night, I'll need breakfast cuz my body will tell me so. I'm thinking pb on toast should hold me for a few hours anyway. Then a few hours later on our second layover, I'll prob be in need of a Starbucks and petite round 2 of breakfast.

And, on flights I like to pack a few healthy snacks so I don't crash and find myself forced to buy a $5 snack pack from the airline. Usually it will be an apple, almonds, maybe a luna bar, something like that. If you're a runner/athlete, you just have to do that, or maybe it's just my paranoia. But when my blood sugar gets low it's not a pretty sight people. So instead, I prepare for the inevitable and save $ along the way.

Do you pack snacks for the plane or road trips? Can you eat bkfst EARLY if you have to be up for a conference, flight, etc? Ok, it's time to crank out a lot of projects on the to do list!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flikr account access denied

Is anyone else annoyed that they can't for the life of them seem to remember their flikr account email address or password? GAH!

In order to use it, I had to create some yahoo email address that I never can seem to remember, along with a password that I clearly don't use often. I even tried calling the yahoo support people and they wouldn't help me bc apparently I hadn't entered my correct bday when signing up for the account. Double damn. Ok, that's it for today's rant.

And btw, I had a green monster smoothie this morning for breakfast and it's held me all morning until now, 1220PM. My stomach is finally growling. I'm usually hungry by 10AM, so it's pretty impressive that this smoothie packs such a punch. Spinach, oats, pb, banana, ice and milk and a fabulous green color really does the trick.

Iowa Girl Eats was my inspiration for this fill your belly breakfast.

Countdown to Chicago/Michigan: 2 DAYS!

Monday, July 20, 2009

A lesson in recovery and a weekend of trials

If you don't allow yourself to rest, your body will do it for you. I once again have a cold, although this one is less aggressive than the one I had just two weeks ago. But I'm trying to stay on top of it so it exits stage left before we leave for MICHIGAN on Thursday!

I understand the body is telling me something, I just don't always understand why. After all, I'm doing about 90% of the things I should be doing. That should be enough, right? I sleep 7-8 hrs, I exercise regularly, I eat healthy, and don't drink very much. But, I'll be the first to admit I'm lacking in the rest department. I guess this just shows I need more than I think I do.

What areas could you improve upon for your body's sake? Some people can function on 4-5 hrs of sleep, but stay super busy and exercise a lot. Others get a ton of sleep and are lacking in the other departments. What does it take for your body to function at it's optimal?

I took it fairly easy this weekend, in my book anyway. Friday while the man was pizza and beering it up, I rode for about 20 miles before heading home. Then took a shower, grabbed some stuff from my house (and opened up the new mango/pink dress I ordered from LuLu's!

If you haven't been over there, hop, skip and click your way to LuLu's right now! I found it referenced in an outfit in my recent Glamour mag and then took a peek and saw the great prices and fashionable fun pieces and fell in love. I kid you not. They bring you limited stock of up and coming designers from all over. In fact, the dress I ordered just last weekend is no longer on the website! Soon after, I got a call from the man and he wanted me to try on the dress. So I did some twirling around and then we headed off to find me some din din.

We tried a new place (we have so many on our list now that we are requiring ourselves to try one new place before we go back to any of our old favs. We went to Cafe 440, which offered burgers, sandwiches and the like. I ordered a blackened chicken sandwich with avocado and mango salsa. I took off the bun, cuz I do that. Don't really eat bread if it's not of the whole wheat variety. The chicken was a bit salty for my taste, but I had most of it anyway for it's protein value. Then devoured my sweet potato fries! YUM! And my glass of red wine was pretty great too. The man had pulled pork sliders, saving a few for his post ride recovery snack on Saturday.

Does anyone make sweet potato fries at home? They're so easy! And kinda good for you. I don't put salt on them and I usually just make them into rounds rather than wedges, but do what you like. Also, be sure to turn them over about halfway through. And I always dip mine in ketchup.

After din, the man went home and I decided to take 45 min more for myself and parked my rear in a cushy seat at Borders coffee corner, grabbed a mint tea, and wrote in my journal and read a bit from two books I have going right now. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty and Jodi Picoult's Vanishing Acts. Sloppy Firsts is a bit too young for me, but an easy read so I'm plowing through it and then returning it to the library with no plans of reading the sequels. Vanishing Acts is a bit more interesting, but I've yet to get into the meat of the story.

As I opened my journal, I realized it's good to have a place to throw your thoughts. The thoughts that you're not confident in, or don't have the guts to spill to others. Every time I write, it reminds me how cathartic it is. Gotta keep that up!

Saturday I did some light exercise, taking the dog hiking for about an hour before the heat really turned up. A bit later I got a pedicure and had lunch at an outdoor courtyard where a jazz trio was playing music. Sat eve the man and I saw The Hangover (definitely funny and takes the craziness of vegas to an extreme) and had dinner at one of our fav spots. We shared chicken phad thai and the special, crab and ricotta stuffed ravioli with red cream sauce and asparagus. YUM!

Wow, I'm realizing how many new places and things I tried this weekend! Sunday, we headed to a new coffee shop where we ordered breakfast bagel sandwiches and coffee and sat in the sun, checking email and reading. It felt like the way every weekend morning should be spent, you know? The coffee shop is inside this old vintage home surrounded by great trees and other houses and so adorable. The tables were mostly vintage furniture and spaced nicely so you're not mistakenly eaves dropping on your neighbors.

Next, we headed to a local farm for raspberries (read: i'm going to be making raspberry shortcake in the very near future) and then to the grocery store to get some needed supplies. After unloading the food, we got read to head to the LAKE! A lake I've never been to and is only 20 min from the man's house! If you know me and my love for large bodies of water, this is pretty crazy I haven't been there.

Anywho, we packed towels, sunblock, the chuck it (to tire out the dog), a bone (to keep her occupied after she was tired out), and my book of course. We spent about 30 min chucking the tennis ball into the lake where the dog would launch herself off the side and paddle out to get it, until she was tuckered out. I survived with no sun burn and we both agreed we'd be returning soon, but next time with BBQ supplies in tow!

All in all, a weekend of fabulous new trials, a bit of rest and some fun in the sun! Anyone else have a positive trial this weekend? I'm sure Heather is ready to tell us hers tomorrow for Tuesday Trials!

Friday, July 17, 2009, not so much

Well, my SPEED isn't all that speedy, but the attempt at it is a good idea I suppose. After Wednesday's hills on the bike, these legs were seriously having none of this "speed" thing when I hit the track last night.

The first mile (our warm up) was tough. I sort of "uh huh"ed and "yeah"ed as my friend D chatted and was just breezing along. Then we were back on the track for a few strides and 4 x 200's and the rest of a ladder workout. Basically you go up and then back down (200s, 400s, 800s, 400s, 200s) with varying reps, paces and rest between each. After the 200s I ditched out and headed back to the bark for some jogging.

I could just feel the legs and lungs and knew it was only going to get uglier from there. I'd like to blame the 90 degree weather, in fact maybe I sort of do. When you're not used to running in this heat, you really do have to be careful. I had a dull headache before and during the run so I made a few stops at the water fountain for good measure.

I did a few more miles of walking, jogging and a little more speed on my own and then a mile cool down. I was spent. Then it was off to John's for the runner potluck of chicken cacciatore, salad, beer/wine, and key lime pie! It was a hit, if I do say so myself. It's always nice when new recipes tried on a big group of people actually works out.

Ok, well back to work. I rode the bike in today and have a night free to do whatever I want as the man drinks beers and watches the tour with some other mens. Ooh, freedom sounds so sweet I just don't know what to do with myself! May hit up a bookstore and coffee shop for a little relaxation and reading.

Sat is date night with movie (The Hangover) and dinner (at a new restaurant in town) on the agenda. Fun Fun! Happy weekend all!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

A newbie of sorts

It's always a little nerve racking starting something new...a new job, a new relationship, a new sport. Last night, I joined a group cycling ride with the manfriend and a few of the runners who ride as well (hi S and D!) It's inevitable that no matter what that new thing is, you inevitably will reach that point where you just have to dive in, head first, to the things you don't feel quite prepared for. Like a big project, that serious talk, or a hard hill climb and speed demons you can't keep up with.

Well, last night, after a few rides with the man and several more on my own, I bit the bullet. The good thing is that although I'm pretty competitive, with cycling I have the attitude that "well, basically I'm going to suck for a long time so I don't care how fast others are able to fly by me." No, that mentality does not always stick with me, but for the most part, I'm just letting it be, which is surprising to even me. So when the man asked "are you nervous?" as we were riding over I honestly answered "no" because I'm going to suck on these hills.

The important thing is (we're looking for positives people. Sometimes you have to do that when it's what motivates you to keep going.) that I got out to do some more hills and I got a bit of experience in the whole group ride thing, since I have now learned and loved the ways of the group run. But group rides are a little different. If you get behind, there's most likely little chance of catching up (unless people stop and wait for you) AND if you're tired and can stay with the main pack they can literally carry you along (they say you can save up to 30% of your energy when riding in the slipstream).

I remember my first few group run experiences. They were mostly positive because a few awesome ladies would come up and just chit chatter as we ran, even though I was a newbie. At first it was hard to feel like I should be there, but after a month or two, people start recognizing you, remembering your name and one day "BAM, you're in!" You're part of the group. Love that feeling. A group of people who totally understand you and are there for you for friendship, or a workout when needed.

Well, after using "the running stick" and then having the man massage inflict pain on my quads, and then a morning jog with the dog, my legs are feeling much better. As for tonight's speed workout, time will only tell. Things are heatin' up here. It's going to be a 90+ day. And we have a runner's potluck after the SPEED, for which I've baked a key lime pie. Crossing my fingers it turned out!

Have you been the newbie of something recently? A new company, class, running group? When did you feel like you were "in" so to speak? I know it takes time to become part of that main group, but the payoff in the end is worth it.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Haircut: Before and After

I know, I's been a while now since I had that whole hair post where you all gave me great suggestions! And now you've seen the new hair in the last post, but for what it's worth, a before and after of the haircut.



I decided to leave you with a silly faced one bc I'm the queen of silly faces in photos. As I get to be more of the adult age however, I try to refrain now and then and keep it serious, or rather a real smile. But for this after photo, who really cares.

And PS-do I look any different? Not really. I chickened. I'm meeting the man friend's entire family in a few weeks and I just wasn't ready to go super crazy or short so I just asked her to cut a few inches off. I quickly regretted it and wished I had gone a bit crazier, but hey, I can always cut more off in a few weeks if I want to go wild.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Technology limited and loved it!

I took the quick five hour jaunt up to my grandparents' summer cabin in Washington on the water for a weekend of rest and rejuvenation. While the drive is a bit long, it's seriously worth it, even if I do get just one full day out of the weekend. In a place where cell phone signals aren't always clear, you sleep in a cabin with a metal roof, eat at an outdoor kitchen and spend your afternoon by the beach, time just slips away from you more slowly than it would at home.

I got there in time for dinner Friday night. We had bbq chicken, corn on the cob, baked potatoes and a salad. Oh and my grandparents are religious about doing happy hour before dinner. It's quite possibly the most adorable thing. A glass of wine, chips and salsa and a quick chat and relaxation before preparing dinner is how we all should do things.

The next morning, grams and I head to town for a stop at the thrift store (to find all the local treasures of course), the coffee stand, the market, and the library. I came away with quite possibly the most fancy 50 cent item I've ever purchased, a pair of clip on mango colored bobble earings, which I'm planning on either wearing to a fun holiday party, or affixing to a coctail dress or cardigan to add some style! Fun stuff!

After returning to the cabin, I fixed a light lunch of pears, brie and crackers. We took a beer, toenail polish, books and watercolors down with us to the beach. It was an afternoon of relaxation and good times with grams.

And here's grams at the beach!

And gramps cooking omlets for us this morning!

My laundry is now in the wash and I'm due for a short run before meeting the man for dinner. It's been a great weekend. What about you?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Truth is, he doesn't like indecision, but then again, neither do i

The other night he pushed the grocery cart off with a mad face when I said "I don't care." to his "What kind of pancake mix do you prefer?" Seems silly really, but I say it a lot. "I don't care." Which is not always true, but sometimes it is.

I don't care as much as I'd like someone else to be happy so if I pick the wrong kind of pancake mix, tv show, dinner option, it will upset me more that I chose the wrong thing. Make sense? No? I'm not surprised. I'm making no sense.

Basically, I'm a people pleaser and this has the bf angry at times. He wants a decision maker. I'm trying to find her, dig her up, and make her speak. But sometimes, sometimes it's very tough.

I promised to work on it, because I want to (for us and for me), but I know this is an inherent problem of mine. Not wanting to make a decision for complete fear of making the incorrect one. But really, I should follow one of my own favorite quotes: "If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." ~Lewis Carroll

Bottom line is, I'm putting this out here to the universe in an effort to make some more real decisions instead of being so wishy washy. I'm frankly fed up with it and clearly so is he. BTW, I prefer Krusteez blueberry or the wheat & honey pancake mix. And, I really like adding blueberries or bananas into the wheat/honey ones while they're cooking. Yummers.

Happy weekend! I'm heading to WA to visit the grandparents at their summer cabin on the water. Should be relaxing and fun, with great food, some good walks, and some beach reading.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tunnel Vision

Do you ever find yourself in tunnel vision? Where things are flying past you in a blur, but all you can see is what's ahead? I'm there. Right there, not noticing or appreciating the here and now, but speeding on from one thing to the next without breathing. I don't even remember what my goals are anymore or think about where/who I want to be in 5-10 yrs. And that scares me.

The bf laughed the other day when I had sat down for a bit to watch the tour, eat some chips and salsa, and then jumped up and was like "ok, well I'm going on a bike ride." He's like "yep, sounds about right. You weren't moving for almost an hour." Sorry, I just can't sit. But the last few days I'm starting to think I need to. I need to just breathe, sit, relax and enjoy.

Maybe it's my way of saying "hey, you might want to sit on the couch all afternoon or evening, but not me." Plus, because I STILL haven't rejoined my gym or a new gym (since i let mine expire before Europe), I've got cals to burn and the only way to do that is to hit the road by bike or foot. Either way, I've got to figure out this balance of work, exercise, boyfriend and sanity, STAT!

Last night on my way home I stopped by a gym I've been wanting to tour. I tried out another gym for a week a few weeks back, but wasn't totally sure. It's small and splits men/women into their own workout areas, but it's centrally located, affordable, and has good classes. The gym I toured last night was almost double the price I'd like to be paying, but it was awesome and has two locations in town (one near bf's house, one near mine). And they offer volleyball leagues (awesome, i've SOOO missed volleyball since hs).

The problem is, I was spoiled with the University gym. The price was right ($70/term ~ $24/month), it was right next to work and has great hours, AND always has new machines that are in good shape. The only problem is that classes are an additional cost and usually don't fit into my schedule. Now, I'm at a loss. I want something affordable, yet nice, with adults, near my work/home/bf, with a good class schedule and a pool.

So, I want to know...
1) What are you willing to pay for a gym membership? And what's most important in choosing a gym?
2) What do you do to get out of tunnel vision mode? How do you slow down?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A little run run run and an award

Last night I sucked it up and put in 4 miles with the group. The nice thing about a group is that there are people at all paces so there's always someone to run with if you want. And the other nice thing is that you don't have to run with anyone if you don't want to. For instance, last night, I just wasn't feeling it.

My pace was slow and I wasn't in the mood to be pushing the pace, chit chatting, or even slowing it down a bit. So I hit the speed my legs said were my "go pace" and I just kept it there no matter where the other runners were. And while everyone else generally stuck to the 3/5/7 mile options, I did a 4 cuz I'm crazy like that.

The legs were still a little sore from Saturday's pounding, but I knew the run was necessary. Afterward, I hit up Trader Joe's to grab dessert to bring to my dinner with a few of the college girlfriends. I went to the freezer section and plucked up the tiaramisu torte and was on my way.

Dinner was fabulous. First was a spinach w/ strawberries, pears and fresh parmesean salad. Then, it was bread w/ olive oil grilled and topped with pesto, basil, mozarella and tomato. And we paired it all with a fabulous 2006 Saginaw Pinot Noir. YUM! The TJ's tiramisu was a perfectly sweet, but light dessert for a nice summer evening with friends.

This morning the dog and I hit the pavement for an easy 15 min jog, which i hope to follow up with this evening on a gentle bike ride and maybe another jog and some yoga.

AND, thanks to Lisa from Knitting Yarns for passing on this blogging award.

To accept this award, I must list 7 traits about myself and then pass the award onto 7 other bloggers who deserve recognition for the personality they share through their blog.

1. I'm an organized Type A person, who kind of likes to hoard things, and also dreams of being impulsive and free of lists and obligations. I guess that's the Type B personality in me trying to bust out.

2. I shop pretty regularly and yet seem to never find anything I want to wear when it's time to get dressed.

3. I'm kind of OCD obsessed with trying to make my food healthier (especially when baking), which might make the bf a little crazy. Think less sugar here, less butter there, whole wheat buns/tortillas, applesauce subsitution for oil, less cheese on my pizza, you get the drill.

4. My dream is to freelance (or maybe work in the offices one day) for Runner's World or Glamour. I'm a writer and both magazines focus on topics I feel passionate about.

5. My other dream would be to be a yoga/fitness instructor, set my own hours, go hiking, biking and running during the day, do crafty projects, find time to volunteer, and still be able to pay the bills. A girl can dream.

6. I have an eye for design, but have no idea what or how to pair items together. Hence the reason my bedroom decorations consist of a running poster, a collage photograph frame, and a ribbon/photo board full of cards, pictures, concert tix, etc.

7. I love traveling. In fact, as soon as I return from a trip, I'm thinking of where I'll go next. Let's face it, when you live in a smaller city, travelling keeps one's urge for big cities satisfied. I'd like to live in a big city someday, but if I don't, you can bet I'll be flying around the country pretty frequently, whether it be for a 1/2 or full marathon, a girls' weekend in Vegas, or to visit friends or the manfriend's family.

I'm passing this on to...
1. Trials of Training
2. Transplanted Baker
3. Joy the Baker
4. Girl with the Red Hair

AND YOU if you so wish to tell your lovely readers seven fabulous things about yourself. Go ahead, it's fun!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Race Report: Aquafina Butte to Butte 10k

Well, the good news is: I made it! And so did the manfriend! Who was faster? He was, of course. The whole joke was that he trained a whole 15 min for the 6.2 mile race. Granted, he is a cyclist so it's not like he's a couch potato.

We made it to the bus shuttle about 45 min before the race started. We arrived with a good 30 min to spare. Two years ago I ran the race but showed up and the line was around the block and I didn't get to the start line until 15 min AFTER the race had started and was forced to dodge multitudes of baby strollers and dogs. But not this year!

We chatted with a few of the runners from my group at the start line and did a few minutes of a warm up jog. The first mile is uphill, the next mile is downhill and the last 4 or so miles are flat to the finish near the river. My lungs still had some flem in them, but didn't force me to stop. I did however walk for about the last 20 seconds of the steep section of the hill. From there, I ran.

The right knee started hurting a few miles in and the lungs were burning, but really nothing too earth shattering. The sun was out, making for a high 60s race, which meant I was stopping for every water stop.

So, what was the result? I wanted to walk to the finish around mile 3, but I didn't. The manfriend left me with the first 1/4 mile like I said he would. He finished in 46:40 and I finished in about 53:50. All I wanted was under 54 (less than 9min/mi pace). Not too shabby for my fitness level and just recovering from a 5 day cold. The last section, where I could see the finish line, I just picked up the pace a bit (just enough so I wouldn't puke my gutts out). It was good.

We chatted with the other runners, I did a mile cooldown jog and we went to grab some food. A smoothie for me, white mocha and quiche for him.

Then it was home for a shower, killing a bunch of ants that were invading his house (YUCK!), watching a bit of the Tour de France (bc the manfriend ordered the Versus channel so we could get the full coverage) and then heading north for a college friend's wedding. We stayed at a hotel just .8 miles from the wedding and walked there in the HOT sun. THank god I bought a shorter dress for the wedding on Friday since temps were in the 90s. The wedding was fun, the dancing was great, and the walk home was nice.

The wedding was of two friends from college. One former best friend and one of our guy friends. Our entire house of five girls who lived together the last few years of college (and a few of the boyfriends) were reunited for the evening. I see a few of them more often than others, but it was one of those bittersweet nights where you remember those great times and friendships, but have to accept that it's time to move on from those photographs. That it's ok that you're not close anymore. That you no longer share outburts of laughter and a bottle of wine together because your paths have parted. I'm a sentimental girl so it's hard to accept, but I managed to let only a few tears drop. Instead, I realized that the friendships I still have with a few of them are genuine and that seeing two people marry who are truly in love is a gift.

Sunday, the man woke with screaming quads and calves due to the pounding of the 10k. We took a little swim in the hotel pool and hot tub to work out some sore muscles and later I let him use the runner's stick I have at home. All I can say is, there better be SOME type of consequence for running a 10k in a pretty decent time without ever training! He claims he'll run a few times before our next 10k (in three weeks) when we visit his family in Michigan, but I'm not making any bets on it.

I hope everyone had a happy 4th! Any other sore racers out there?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Running Fireworks

In honor of the 4th of July, let's talk conflict, controversy, and commotion for Take it and Run Thursday!

Two things come to mind. One I partake in, the other I just can't. What are they? Snot rockets and running skirts!

The nitty gritty is that as a long distance runner, snot rockets (however gross they may seem when you're not running) are totally unavoidable at times. Without them, many of us would have the lovely liquid streaming down our faces, scaring every dog, child and person we come across. Afraid to try it? Go on a LONG run, I'm talking 8-10+ miles and head for the trails. When no one is around just try it. Trust me, it will be so much more satisfying to your nose than trying to sniff or wipe it away. It might be gross, but snot rockets were one of my greatest running discoveries, no joke.

And what's my deal with skirts? Truth is, I have friends who wear running skirts both in my group (and in the blogosphere), but I just can't seem to bring myself to wear one. I laughed the first time I saw them on the racks. And this is coming from a girl who played four years of lacrosse, yes, in a skirt (although it was required), sprinting up and down the field and even found it comfy at times. My problem with the running skirt is that a) the skirts have shorts under them, so why add more fabric to the whole mix when you could just wear shorts? and b) I think I'd feel a little less strong if I were running in a skirt.

For your own entertainment, please watch this hilarious Runner's World video on the running skirt phenomenon. Want more on running skirts? Click here!

Speak up! What are your running fireworks?

PS-Anyone else running on July 4th? I'm running the Butte to Butte 10k here in town with the manfriend. The first mile is straight uphill. And I'm still sick with a bad cold so I'm crossing my fingers I'm not hacking a lung and carrying kleenex with me on what's sure to be a hot race. Can't wait!

Happy 4th of July!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Grill Packets and Shortcake, oh my!

Monday night, the manfriend and I came home to do some easy grilling for din. I got the idea from Iowa Girl Eats (who you should really check out if you haven't already). So, what did I throw in the packets? Any veggie/protein mix will do, but I used: diced chicken, sweet potatoes, green beans, garlic, broccoli, red and green bell pepper, red onion, pineapple, olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning.

I wish I had taken a photo afterward, but we were soooo ready to eat these babies! We cooked them on the grill for 10 min on each side. Packets are nice bc if you don't like a veggie that your grill buddy does, you can each have your own! Next time, we're trying red potatoes, more pineapple and maybe a teriyaki maranade. This is SO easy and perfect for a simple, healthy summer meal.

And as you probably know, few guys would be satisfied with a chicken/veggie dinner so I capped the night with an easy but yummy strawberry shortcake! I remember as a child my dad would go to the store to pick up those spongey looking "shortcake" things, cool whip and a box of strawberries. Well, when the man said he wanted strawberry shortcake, you better believe that's what he's getting...but sassy style and a little more gourmet than dad's sponge cakes.

Strawberry Shortcake:

-a few pints of strawberries from your local farm (we rode our bikes to one on Sunday)
-whipping cream (a hand mixer and patience)
-bisquick, milk, sugar (cook biscuits 10-12 min)

Doesn't this look absolutely fabulous?

The shortcakes were so easy to make w/ the recipe on the back of the Bisquick box. And they were perfectly biscuity with a little sweetness. I even had to substitute the milk with plain nf yogurt and a dab of condensed milk because we had JUST ran out of milk and they still turned out. Okay, your turn!

This was such a simple and quick dessert to make and we even had enough for two nights, which was a special treat. And, I felt less guilty about this dessert than I would with a bowl of ice cream or a gooey brownie.

An update from Tracktown

Sorry, you're not going to see the hair update today. Why? I'm home sick and frankly I'm pretty sure the hair looks like a hot mess right now. I will give you a bit of hint though. I got a few inches cut (although it seems like more) and I kinda feel like a kid. I'm debating whether or not to go back in and ask her to go a little funkier with it. We'll see how it looks after I wash it and attempt to do style it.

I mentioned last week that I was going to the Track & Field National Championships on Friday night. I did and it was fun. The office was quiet, my motivation was low, the sun was out, and Hayward Field was the place to be!

So, I left early and headed out to see some amazing athletes. The level of athletes you are within feet of, include Tyson Gay, Nick Symmonds, Kara Goucher and more! Dan OBrian was hosting the meet, interviewing the winners after each event. As usual, Kara Goucher impressed me. Not only was she the American woman to take third in the Boston Marathon, but she's an inspiring person and amazing runner.

Friday night she settled in midpack for the women's 5k. About halfway through you could tell she was bored and ready to push the pace (as she did in the last few miles of Boston to really make it a competition). Goucher was boxed in for a bit until her break in the last two laps and finally outkicking the leader and former Olympian, Jen Rhines. If you don't know Goucher, google her and watch a few interviews. I believe she's truly one of the most inspiring athletes for women because she truly puts her heart and soul into running and isn't afraid to say what she feels in interviews.