Friday, September 28, 2012

The Burn

You know what feels good? Feelin' the burn!

I still remember in college leaving the gym feeling completely satisfied when I walked out with my cotton t-shirt (blech) soaked in sweat. But even more so, I learned to love the burn I occasionally get when I push myself just a bit more than average.

This week, I did a few fun things that had my muscles talking.
  • Monday - 5 mile group run, running last 3 miles with a faster friend and pushing the pace to keep up. This reminded me that I should try to do this more often. Run outside my comfort zone. 
  • Wednesday - Lifeforce Fitness - While I'm doing a lot of this kind of stuff at home, you always push harder when you have classmates and an instructor watching and pushing you.
  • Thursday - SPEED work - warm up, 4x (1000m at 5k pace, 200m mile pace), 2 min rest between sets, cool down. My legs felt like jello from the start so keeping them moving was a struggle. But I always love how I feel afterward. Thank you coaches!
 It's pretty crazy how amazing the body can get at adapting to what you throw at it. It's been a while since I've felt sore and it's nice to be reminded that there's always room for change and growth.

You know what else? Now that I'm not on an official training plan, I'm taking my "rest" day a bit more seriously. I always know I should take a rest day, I just typically don't.

Often, my rest days end up including 25 min of yoga, 30-60 min of cycling and maybe some abs. And sometimes I just ignore rest days and go full bore ahead doing a tempo workout, two a days, etc. Well, it's been nice reminding myself that I could do a whole lot of nothing and be just fine.

*Oh, and I actually understood most of the math equation stuff we did in Chemistry yesterday! While it's easy to get frustrated, these little wins turn my frown upside down. ;)

Fun this week: Private Practice, Grey's Anatomy and Criminal Minds (and all their drama) are back! Must. not. let. TV. distract. me. from school work (we got a cable converter box so we can watch the basic channels).

Sweatastic weekend: Looking forward to a yoga class and a few good runs. Loving that fall is in the air during my morning runs!

If you were going to pick ONE meal to eat for the rest of your life (with no consequences), what would you choose? I'd have to say either pizza, a cheese plate w/ crackers, grapes and apples or a black bean burger with sweet potato fries on the side.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Finding your Zen

Did I know going back to school was going to be hard? Yes.

Did I realize how hard? Probably not.

If these were writing or business/marketing classes, I'd be feeling busy, but not overwhelmed for the most part. To say my left brain is getting worked a bit more would be an understatement.

I know I CAN do this. I'm just not so sure about lifestyle I'll have while doing it. No joke. In three days, school has me reconsidering just what I could do with my fabulous skills of writing, marketing, project management and event planning.

When you go to college that first time, everything is exciting and new. But the second time, without everything being new/different and staying up late laughing with college roomies, it's not so glamorous.

My backpack is huge. Granted, I have books, a binder and my work clothes in there.

Sure, it might be more purposeful. But at this point, I've grown accustom to having evenings to with what I wish, weekends to run my little heart out, spend time outside and travel.

I've also grown accustom to having a salary and while modest, it allows me some safety and a little room to enjoy life.

Going back to school, buying books, oh and wedding planning isn't exactly a financial plan. At least I don't see it that way. I'm still dreaming of a day when I have the money to need a financial planner - ha! Not ranting here. I realize I put myself in this situation. Just dealing with the effects. ;)

Oh, but this post was supposed to be about Finding your Zen (when your head is about to explode).

Clearly, I'm going to need some tools to decompress when life feels overwhelming. Here's what I'm thinking:
  • Meditating zen like pandora station - water flowing, Enya type stuff
  • Good tea
  • A zen study space
  • Yoga
  • Quick ways to unwind (10-15 min at a time)

Tonight, I made my return to Lifeforce Fitness after being absent for a few months. It was a great stress reducer and an awesome workout. 

The class went a little like this: 30 min yoga flow, 2 sets x 25 fast squat jumps, 2 sets dolphin push ups, plank hold, 2 sets ab crunches, 2 x 12 burpees, 2 sets clean & jerks, walking lunges w/ weights, pull ups, 2 sets oblique dips and top knee to elbow, chest press on ab ball, back extension, 1 set death ball and finally a stretcharoo!

Do you notice the theme here is zen? Do you have any recommendations? 

Ironically, Lisa also posted about finding calm among the chaotic moments in life. Bring on the zen, people!

Monday, September 24, 2012

To Be a Student Again

Well, I survived my first day of class! Granted, today was biology and tomorrow is chemistry (not exactly my favorite). But remembering that it's for a greater cause is going to be the name of the game with these science classes. I might not love them, but I'm suffering now for the payoff in the end, right??

Speaking of which, I read some pretty frightening articles in our newspaper about today's graduates and their job outlook, average loan and their salaries after graduation. It sure makes the case for studying something that's going to get you a job NOT necessarily something you love (bummer).

Alas, I kind of want to love what I do 40+ hours a week so....yeah.

I also managed to fit in my morning strength routine (finishing up week 8 of Best Body Bootcamp) and a run in after work. I know this won't always be the case, but better to start out on a good note anyway. 

A few random pics from the weekend...

3 generations of men - youngest brother Max, grandpa Jim at his 85th birthday and dad

I got to go to another Duck game. This time against Arizona with the manfriend. Fun game (49-0) and it even rained a bit - loving fall so far!

The manfriend went to Interbike again for work this year and brought me back some Zensah calf sleeves. Talk about lightning yellow!

Three things I could use right now: a pedicure, a yoga class and more time. What about you?

P.S. I can already tell that this "one little class a day" schedule is going to make things tough. No more hours of blog reading in the evenings. ;)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Colored Jean Thing

It's been a little while since  I did a Fashion Friday, so lucky for you, I got some colored skinny jeans!

There's no doubt my favorite color in the world is aqua so when I spotted these pants at Old Navy, I snagged them right up and took them to the dressing room. 

Then it just so happened that this polka dotted ruffled neck tank was on sale for $12.99...

I wore this outfit to work on Monday and then again on Wed night after work for "girls night" because I like to recycle outfits that are cute and comfy (and not dirty).

So there you have it - my first pair of colored skinnies. I have to fold the hem up about 3" because I'm short, but it's not a big deal.

On life: Every time I have a night out with girlfriends that involves chatting and some serious laughs, I remember how important that stuff is for the soul. Sure, it makes the week a little crazier, but it's totally worth it. You've got to nourish your friendships (which in turn nourish you), and I've got to remember that.

On the running front: This week has been nice. I actually took an active "rest" day on Tuesday, which my body really needed after being on the go and receiving some awful news. Wednesday, I did an unintended progression run and my body felt strong. It's amazing how stress relieving a simple 40 min run can be.

Thursday, I opted to do a daily double just because I could. I really enjoy early morning runs (if I can get my butt out of bed), but I also hate to miss the Thursday group workout. Having someone else kick your ass to run fast definitely works!

While I'm enjoying not "having" to run a particular distance, it also makes me anxious not to have some thing on the books to be "training for."

How was your week? Have you busted into the color jean thing? 

I have a busy weekend ahead before I dive right into the whole working + student thing! Hoping to snag a few moments of relaxation with the manfriend on Sunday before the flurry begins.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

All the Money in the World

Prepare yourself. I read two books in the matter of two weeks in August! I thought it would be fun to do book reviews because I enjoyed both of them.

First off... All the Money in the World by Laura Vanderkam

I found this book after Heather of Dietician on the Run recommended it recently.

It is definitely NOT your typical "this is how you should save/invest to get rich" type of finance book. Vanderkam discusses 'What the happiest people know about getting and spending,' as the subtitle says.

One of my favorite quotes from the book was "Sometimes we have to take risks, and sometimes we should invest in things that matter." This is relevant to many of us who are still fairly early in our careers.

Overall, my favorite aspect of the book was the way she talked about enjoying the small things you value daily/weekly/monthly - a cup of coffee or a latte (daily or weekly), going out to the movies, buying a pair of $14 running socks.

While some financial gurus might say to save your cash and not buy the lattes, rent videos via Netflix (over going to the theater) and buy only affordable socks, Vanderkam believes that if these things bring you such great pleasure, then their small price is worth it. In the long run, is saving $300 on lattes per year going to make you rich? Probably not.

Rather than saving on some of the little pleasures in life, is it possible there are areas where we can earn more to reach our financial goals? For example, how much are you saving monthly for retirement? How long do you plan to work? What kind of car/house do you have?

The nice thing about this book is that Vanderkam doesn't offer a step by step guide to having all the money in the world, but offers lots of ideas and challenges your current thinking on wealth. 

Do you have a favorite financial book or reference? 

The second book review is to come.

P.S. Jess LC is closing her shop. Use code: FINALFINALSALE to get 25% off your purchase. On my personal wish list is the neon pink bauble necklace with a mint ribbon. 

Monday, September 17, 2012


Welcome to a new week! My weekend was jam packed, but super fun.

I went to my first Duck game of the season with my mom, had a "long run" of only 8 miles, got some colored skinny jeans, had breakfast with my brothers and took Jonah Bell for a 5 mile hike up Spencer's Butte.

So, I have some exciting news to share: Next week I'll be heading back to school! No, I won't be going full time, but I am cutting back my time at work to 30 hrs/wk and going to school Mon-Thurs for a few hours in the afternoon.

The backstory: Since before I graduated with my bachelors of science in Journalism: Public Relations, I knew I wanted to get a masters degree someday. However, it was said that you should go out and get some real world experience before heading back for an advanced degree.

Well... seven years later, here I am! In my self discovery to find a career I am passionate about, I have wanted to do MANY things. The list includes: physical therapist, sports psychologist, sports medicine, counselor, personal trainer, nutritionist, graphic designer, sports marketer, writer and editor and public health professional.

As you may know I am just a wee bit indecisive. That has made this discovery process EXTREMELY difficult. That and the fact that I like marketing (the field I'm in), but there aren't a lot of opportunities in Eugene.

Alas, I finally bit the bullet and took the steps to get this school train moving - I went to orientation at the local community college, I obsessively checked the registration page until spots became available in the classes I needed and I talked to my bosses at work. Everyone has been incredibly supportive, which I am so thankful for.

So next week I'll be taking basic chemistry and biology classes that are pre reqs for general chemistry and biology. At this point, I'm looking at the path of getting a MPH (masters in public health) and possibly RD (registered dietician) - some schools have a combo degree. OR an MPH with a nutrition focus.

In a dream world, I would love to help clients one on one in an office setting to get moving on the right path towards a healthier lifestyle. But I'm also interested in the public health promotion piece of things. I am passionate about health, my community and nutrition and I think my communication and marketing skills will only add to this field. Ultimately, I would love to write a column in a monthly magazine - big dream (eeks!) in addition to my full time gig.

Am I scared? Hells yes. I am a 'takes NO risks' kind of person. I am unsure if this is the path I will end up on, but for now, it is the one that will get me moving to a career I am passionate about.

Is the timing right? Well, no. But it's never going to be perfect. Plus, there's no time like the present! Over the next 3-4 years, we will be getting married, I will be going back to school (and trying to work part time when possible), we will hopefully go on a belated European honeymoon and likely start a family.

My biggest fear? I'll realize after a few years of school that I'd rather go back into the communications field.

What are a few of the careers you considered going into? Is there something you've been putting of for oh, say...7 years?!

Happy Monday Funday!

Week Prep: I made noodles, sauce w/ veggies, kale chips and whole wheat bran berry muffins last night so this week would be a little easier. I'm testing it out to see if this is something I might do during the school term. More to come...

Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Not So Bad Recovery

So far, recovery is going well. The first two days after the 50K, I kept things relatively easy with a few miles of gentle hiking each day, a bit of strength work and some yoga stretching.

 Can't say my sweet hiking outfit and rockin' recovery socks didn't help!

Tuesday night, after prepping layered enchiladas, I set out for my first recovery run. I set my intention to run easy for about an hour, all the while listening to a This American Life podcast. The weather was perfect and I didn't push my pace. I let the legs do the talking, rather than my brain.

Six miles later, I was back home feeling good with a 9:12 average and legs that could have gone further. So, I guess this recovery thing isn't so bad after all...

Credit: Tracktownphoto

Meanwhile, the manfriend was back at the cyclocross thing. Can't believe it's already that time of year! Bring on the pumpkins, sweatshirts and cruleaves.

Wednesday, it was a fun mixed bag with 20 min strength in the morning (Best Body Bootcamp workout), 1.8 miles of hilly easy running after work and then water tower yoga outside!

 water tower

yoga (and my weird left rib cage)

This week, I'm also returning to the Best Body Bootcamp routine because I felt like I wasn't able to give it my all when we went back to the midwest and then I got sick. So this week I'm starting back at week 5 (I think we're supposed to be on 7).

Honestly, I want to keep strength training a part of my fitness routine at all times so this is just a fun way to keep mixing things up and the body guessing.

The only thing on my mind now is... what's next?! Trust me, I want to sign up for races left and right, but I'm trying to keep the spending down. For my own sanity, I'll likely sign up for one more race (maybe a half) this fall and call it good for a few months.

Monday, September 10, 2012

McKenzie River Trail 50K Recap

I'm happy to say my second 50K is in the books.

While this year's course was a bit more forgiving than last year's (when we had to do an out and back and run uphill the second half), it wasn't exactly "easy." The McKenzie River Trail technically is a gradual downhill if you run it the direction we did, point to point. However, there is a LOT of rolling terrain, lava rock and roots in your way from point A to point B. 

Trails, my friends, are bootcamp for your hamstrings. 

Overall, I ran this race harder than last year. I pushed more on the flats, didn't just cruise along and I kept the walking to a minimum in those last miles where ALL you want to do is walk. 

Okay, on to the day. 

Fuel: Woke up at 4:15 am, had a small bowl of cereal w/ banana and nectarine. Took some green tea and a piece of pbj toast for later. My handheld had nuun water as well as Shot Bloks and a Picky Bar. 

When the race started, I funneled into the line about midpack. The first 1.5 miles are uphill along the waterfalls and require a lot of hiking and little running. So being patient is key. In the end, the wasted energy of running wouldn't be worth it anyway. 

Around mile 4 as we circled Clear Lake, things started to spread out.

Naturally, as time went on, my legs became more tired. The hamstrings were tired by mile 10 and the quads felt like bricks the last 5 miles. 

Midrace fueling: Shot Blocks starting at mile 4, every two miles (unless there was an aid station). Aid stations were at 5, 11, 15, 21, 26 and I had orange slices, an Oreo, pringles, m&ms and pbj tortilla. This seemed to work well. The hard thing with trail running is that your energy stores deplete much quicker than road so you have to stay on top of fueling.

I won't bore you with every detail of every mile, but here are a few highlights:
  • I met a woman who does HR consulting from home in Santa Barbara, Park City, or Arizona (someday I want that work flexibility)
  • I had a goofy grin on my face the first 5 miles. It was a beautiful morning. 
  • My descending skills are pretty decent. I LOVED flying down the declines. My quads did not. 
  • Your brain (and eyes) start getting fuzzy after 20+ miles of staring down at the ground looking for objects in your way. 
  • I started hearing people behind me (no one was behind me) around mile 26

Glorious aid stations - not only for their Pringles, Oreos and water, but for the cheering, amazing volunteers and something to look forward to every 5 miles!

I could not get enough of the oranges at the aid stations! Sweet and refreshing.

My second favorite part of this race (the amazing views are #1) is that with a few hundred people running at different paces, you often get to run alone, which is super peaceful on the trail. And then occasionally, you come across someone, maybe run with them for a bit and then pass or they surge forward.

I have to admit though, I hate being in front of a pack of runners on a trail. So much pressure to run fast enough for everyone. Luckily, that doesn't happen much during this race.

And finally, I was done! That water must have been pretty important. I hope the shirtless guy wasn't trying to talk to me because I was not paying attention. 

I did it - finished my second McKenzie River 50K in 5:32 according to my Garmin! I'm counting that as goal accomplished!

My mom is to thank for all these fabulous photos. Seriously, the best cheerleader!

When I got home I spent a good 20 min scrubbing my toes in the shower (they still have dirt in them) and then tried to stay parked on the couch relaxing and blog reading for a few hours. My left IT band and knee are pretty sore so I'm going to spend some serious time foam rolling and getting my yoga on this week.

So after doing this race twice, would I do it again? Yep! Do I ever want to run further than 50K? Not so much.

Friday, September 7, 2012

I Should Be More Nervous

At the beginning of the week I had this thought... Why am I not nervous for this thing?

After all, this is the longest taper I've ever done for a marathon distance and beyond. Typically I like a two week taper, but this one was nearly four weeks.

I get WAY more nervous for a marathon I'm 100% prepared for than this 31 miler I'll be tackling tomorrow. Ironic. I can't say the trail mentality doesn't hurt.

After a little contemplation, I have chalked up feeling cool as a cucumber to a few things.
  1. I've run this race before (granted the course was different because of the forest fire last year, but harder).
  2. I trained a lot this summer. Long hilly runs. Long solo road runs. Hot, sweaty runs. And one dang good nearly BQ marathon to get my legs and mind ready for this thing. 
  3. While my taper was longer than ever, there's nothing I could do about it. We went on vacation and I got sick right when I would have liked to be doing my last looong run. 
  4. I feel stronger than last year. My hamstrings aren't acting up as much as they were last year, which is a definite plus on the hills. I'm giving credit to all my weight lifting and crazy circuit work (which often includes lots of jumping - jump squats, burpees, star jumps, etc).
  5. Trail runners have more fun. I hate to say it because I consider myself both a roadie and a trail lover, but the trail runners just love being out there. With road runners... sometimes it just seems (and looks) painful and the anti-fun. I'm sure I've appeared to others as the anti-fun --> looking at you Vermont City Marathon @ mile 21. 
So, this is not to say I'm feeling 100% fabulous, but overall, I feel good. Even yesterday I was still sneezing so I'm not sure I've quite kicked the cold. But I know my mind is ready and my legs have some miles in them.

Here's to hoping I'm this happy the entire 50K of the McKenzie River Trail! Oh and some of my crazy friends are doing the 50 miler that starts at 5 am. No thank you!

Last year I finished in 6h 23 min and this year I'm hoping to be done around 5h 30 min. See you on the flip side. Anything fun on your weekend agenda?

P.S. Go, Kath, go!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Thankful Thursday

Sunday Monday night I couldn't sleep. I had a piece of apple lodged in my esophagus. No amount of water, tea, or yogurt would get it to go down.

This might lead you to think oh well, I'm going to sleep. I'll deal with it tomorrow. Well, it leads my brain into thinking "what if I suffocate in my sleep and die?!" Yeah, death is pretty much my #1 fear in life, despite the fact that it's inevitable. If I could live forever, I would.

ANYWAY, it got me to thinking how thankful I am for Pete. He is an awesome guy who makes me so happy. Honestly, I never thought I'd end up with such a catch.

After all, he puts up with my cranky post long run/ride hunger, my crazy indecisiveness and my hours of blog reading/writing. Oh and then he rewards me with hugs and kisses.

In the midst of wedding planning, I've reminded myself again and again that I have EVERYTHING I need. See, I'm a typical consumer. I see stuff that's cute/functional in my life and I WANT IT! And sometimes I buy it.

Purchasing new things brings me joy. A new sports bra from REI on Sunday - yay, my boobs will be happy! A new face moisturizer - love it, smells so good! Picky Bars for my 50K this weekend - yum, I'm going to have some awesome race food!

But if you haven't yet planned a wedding, let me tell you, these things are FRIGGIN EXPENSIVE no matter what you do. And all I can seem to think of is $$ signs when I think about wedding planning (which is why I've been putting it off).

And now more than ever, I need to reign in the spending on a whim. I very thankful that my parents are going to help out with the majority of our wedding - thank you, mom and dad

BUT, I have still required that we pay for the dress, tux, makeup, hair, gifts, and other extras that come up. We will need money and can't just make it appear out of thin air, so now is the time to be saving for later.

This may have seemed to get off on a tangent, but my point is that I want to focus more on the here and now. I don't NEED more stuff. This life I have is great and there are SO many people and things in it that I am truly thankful for.

What's your Thankful Thursday thought?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Week Without TV

What a depressing life, eh? I kid. I kid. TV is not our life, although we have spent some serious quality time in front of the TV in the past year.

Just before we left for Michigan, the manfriend finally cancelled cable. You may remember that we had bumped up to extended cable so we could watch the Tour de France and then the Olympics. But finally, enough was enough.

We quit cold turkey! 

It's now been a week since we've been home from our midwest vacation and I thought it would be fun to check in regarding how we're fairing without TV.

The TV still sits in our living room and serves as a vehicle to watch movies (we still have Netflix, thank the lord), but otherwise, it remains off.

Instead, we've been listening to streaming radio more - the manfriend likes Dan Patrick so now we listen to the talk radio version instead of watching the show while getting ready for work.

I'll admit, while the manfriend probably initiated more of the TV watching, I love me some HGTV, Keeping up with the Kardashians, college football, Grey's Anatomy, cooking shows, etc. But I didn't think I'd get sad about not having TV.

That is until Saturday afternoon when the first Duck game was on and we couldn't freaking watch it (or any other game for that matter). In my world, Fall = Football and Brent Musburger's voice (and boots, pumpkins, skinny jeans, changing leaves, etc). But in all seriousness, I got a little depressed. It felt like we were completely out of touch with reality. 

In the end, we walked down to the neighborhood bar and watched a bit of the Michigan/Alabama game and followed the Duck game stats via smartphone. Not exactly, ideal, but hey, it's $70 cheaper per month!

We'll see how long this lasts... How much time do you spend watching TV per week? And if not, what do with your time in the evenings? I imagine there will be more book reading and project doing in our household this fall.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Tuesday Tip

For a while now, I've been wondering why the heck I can't respond to certain readers who post a comment on my blog. And then Leigh informed me she couldn't respond to my comments.

Despite the fact that I enter my name, email and website every time I comment, the blogger receives a comment from a "no reply" email. Therefore, not being able to reply back to me unless they go searching for my email here on Sassy Molassy.

Alas, I finally did some research and found this helpful post from Jenniffier Kramer.

For those of you on blogger, this will be super helpful if you haven't done it already. Basically, the only thing I needed to do was "edit my profile" and check the box "show my email address." One small, but very important step. For those of you not on blogger (I don't blame you), your comments will continue to be no reply unless you sign in with your gmail account (if you have one).

So there you have it. Go check your blog profile and make sure it's updated so others can respond to your comments. Jennifer's issue was slightly different so you may want to check her post for reference.

In the past, when I've wanted to respond to someone's comment who was a "no reply," I have simply gone to their blog and posted it on their most recent blog post. A bit time intensive, but worth it.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Glorious Long Weekend

How is it that one extra day feels like SO much more? I don't know, but I love it.

The weekend's fun started out with a blue moon hike with the runners at Mt. Pisgah. Along with headlamps, everyone brings food/drink to enjoy at the top.

About 30 people showed up. A small group ran the back loop to the top and the rest of us hiked up the steep summit trail (1.4 mi). Party at the top!

Saturday morning, I woke up a bit exhausted and still sick (gah), but knew I needed (mentally anyway) to get in one last long run before the McKenzie River 50K. I had my eye on the Ridgeline Trail so that's where I went.

While my hamstrings hadn't seen hills in a few weeks, they happily complied. And it was a BEAUTIFUL morning to be on the trails so I couldn't complain.

Naturally, I busted out the I Heart Sweat shirt. 


 2 hours 7 min later - 12 miles of trail done

Sunday, I met the running group for another glorious run, although I ran most of it on my own. The temperature here these days is perfect - sunny with a cool breeze.

And today, Lindsey and I met for a scenic bike ride and some chatting (about her recent engagement)!

We chatted and rode about 40 miles. 

My favorite at home meal this weekend was my post ride blueberry protein smoothie! 

Ingredients: 1/3 cup frozen blueberries and 1 banana, 1 c spinach, 1/2 scoop protein powder, 1 Tbsp almond butter, 2 scoops plain nf yogurt, 1/2 cup almond milk, dash of cinnamon and shredded coconut for the top.

The manfriend is currently putting together a new bookshelf we just picked up. Happy Labor Day to him! ;) Our Fred Meyer (aka Krogers in other parts) was having a buy 1, get 1 sale so we got a tall bookshelf and then a short one for free.

Now it's time for me to remind myself that it is taper time - no overdoing it this week! Did you do anything fun for your long weekend? Anyone else score on labor day sales?