Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Mini Getaway

Three and a half hours. The time of my long run on Saturday. It hurt, especially those last 40 min or so. It was mostly road running with 4-5 mi of trail in there. 

My reward? An ice cream sandwich. My favorite long run treat. 

After stretching, showering and eating plenty, Pete and I got packed up to go camping just about an hour from home. He had suggested it earlier in the week so it was just a matter of gathering our stuff and piling in the car. 

We arrived at Salmon Creek campground, found a nice spot and set up camp.

Jonah Bell was beyond excited that we were taking her on an adventure so she needed to cool off.

We took a few walks and let Jonah go swimming again. She was in doggie heaven.

And finally, it was time for my favorite part of camping - the fire!

We took another nice walk along the creek this morning, made oatmeal in camp and then packed up.

Less than 24 hours away from home and without cell reception was just what we needed. Sometimes you forget how freeing getting away from all your devices can be. Miraculously, the world keeps turning and you get a chance to just relax.

And now we're home happily watching the Olympics. Today's couch time has included: field hockey, table tennis, beach volleyball, swimming, diving and gymnastics. Oh and I took at least two quality naps - probably a record for this non nap taker.

I hope you had a great weekend and a happy Monday. I'm excited that I had time to prep dinner for tomorrow night (that never happens) - chopped all the veggies, dumped in three cans of beans and added spices for veggie chili that I'll throw in the crock pot before work.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Search is on...

Hello! If it seems like I haven't talked much about wedding planning here, well, it's because not much has been going on in that realm. 

Sure, I've been reading a few books and magazines and oohing and awing over all of the great/fun/unique ideas out there. 

But overall, the books I've read on planning a wedding on a budget say AGAIN and AGAIN, set your priorities and stick to them. Don't let all the minutia get you off track (trust me, it seems easy to get caught up in the possibilities). 

So yesterday, I took the day off work and my mom and I headed to central Oregon for a little sight searching. Why Central Oregon? It's about a 2.5 drive from Eugene, but when you step outside in Bend/Sisters, OR, you instantly smell the fresh pine and sage and see the beautiful landscape. 

Pete and I aren't sure this is where our wedding will be, but central Oregon definitely feels like "us."

And how can you not love seeing views of the Three Sisters mountains around any corner?

We looked at a few venues with lots of exposed wood like I'm looking for...

And even some water...

After seeing a few locations, it was time for grub! I requested lunch at Deschutes Brewery - I love their Black Butte Porter (and the awesome food).  

I ordered the Black Butte burger (locally grown beef) with mushrooms and cheese on top with sweet potato fries on the side! Mom had version of the cobb salad. 

My beverage of choice was "the cyclist" AKA the radler in Germany - a mix of hefeweizen and lemonade. Definitely refreshing without getting me tipsy. 

After a filling lunch, we took a nice 20 min walk around the gorgeous neighborhood lining the water near downtown Bend. Much needed after so much driving and sitting!

And then it was back in the car to check out two more venues before heading home. 

While a few of the locations are pretty and definitely possibilities, I wasn't sold on any of them. 

Honestly, I know it takes a little bit of looking, but I was really hoping to walk away from this trip with a clear decision. The good thing is, I took a lot of photos for the manfriend to see and looking back on them is actually helping me see the spaces in a different light.

It's definitely possible that we'll come back to one of these locations and pull the trigger. But for now, I think we have a little more research and venue visiting to do. Gah...

Anywho, that's where things are at. I really want to nail down the location before I start doing fun stuff like dress shopping, decorations, flowers, etc.

Is everyone else excited for the Olympic opening ceremonies tonight? We were just about to cancel cable after the Tour de France when we realized we needed it for the Olympics!

Monday, July 23, 2012


Well, hello there. Last weekend we headed up to my grandparents' cabin to surprise my grandma for her 80th birthday party! 

The drive from Eugene is about 5 1/2 hrs so we left right after work on Friday, dropped off the dog and picked up my little brother Max and headed north. I texted grams when we were about 45 min away. We got to the cabin on the Puget Sound around 11:30 pm, had a sip of brandy, chatted and were off to bed. 

I was up at 6 am to enjoy some time by the fire with gram and moms and some wedding planning books. 

After a bit, the guys were up and grandpa made pancakes and mom made scrambled eggs. At the cabin, our kitchen and "dining room" is all outdoors, kind of like camping. 

I let food settle for an hour or so and then I headed off for a hilly 6 mile run! It was actually pretty nice and my quads were feeling the burn. 

In Eugene, it seems like I either run all flat runs or super hills, but there aren't a lot of places to run on rolling hills. 

A few of the neighbors were helping to do the party planning and set up, table cloths and bright chairs included. 

Party hardy! I didn't take any pics of the food, but highlights were: goat cheese/caramelized onion/kalamata olive flatbread, bbq salmon over salad and brownies. 

Growing up here in the summers, it's always nice to see some of the old beach neighbors and meet some new ones. But it's also nice to duck away to the beach and enjoy some quiet time. 

And peaceful views...

After the party, some of us sat on the deck drinking wine/beer and telling our engagement stories.

Sunday morning, Max and a neighbor kid and I took their motorboat out to fill up on gas and cruise around on the sound. It was a bit cold out so I doubled up on sweatshirts, but honestly I was just grinning ear to ear - love life on the water!

Grams read a few more of her birthday cards. And soon enough, it was time to hit the road.

We got home Sunday around 7 after a quick grocery shop. I gave Pete one list and I had another and we met back at the register - divide and conquer. 

Detox salad was in order after a weekend of pancakes-a-plenty, beer/wine, s'mores, road trip snacks and great party food!

Ingredients: organic spinach, braeburn apple (my favorite!), tomatoes, red onion, avocado, cherry tomatoes, hard boiled egg, feta and balsamic.

Have you ever surprised someone with a party or by showing up from quite a distance? 

Today was Day 1 of Tina's Best Body Bootcamp (round 2)! This is the first time I've ever seriously split up upper body/lower body weight work. Usually, I just do full body strength work. It will be fun to see what she has in store and if I see results.

My main goal for this first two weeks is to limit the amount of processed food I eat. I don't eat a ton of it, but sometimes I let myself snack on junk around the office and there's just no need for it. Do you have any health/fitness goals you're working on right now? 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Fashion Friday: Funky Fun

Today's Fashion Friday is a little spin on my usual fashion post. 

This fashion is thanks to my good friend Jessica who makes crafts for our high school group when we get together for mini reunions. These crafts are often items we can wear - headbands, themed shirts and even socks! 

The last time we had an event, she gave me some pretty sweet socks. I can't say the entire running community is dying to have a pair, but they sure give me joy to wear them. 

Behold: the bike sock...

and the running man sock...

All hand puff painted just for me!

I can joke about them, but seriously, every time I put them on, they put a smile on my face. And I'm sure any runners or gym goers seeing me sport these get a kick out of it too.

So there you go. Maybe next time you're getting together with friends, bring them all puff painted socks. It could very well turn into their favorite pair!

What's your unexpected favorite item of clothing? 

A special Happy Birthday to my grandmother who turned 80 this week!

Grandma Jean is an amazing woman who I'm proud to call my grams. She'll be celebrating with a party at their cabin on the Puget Sound.

Her favorite part about their summer life on the sound is sitting by her campfire at 5 am. And some mornings I just picture myself there, drinking tea and chatting as the sun comes up.

Happy weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get Your Stretch On

For whatever reason, my hip flexors have become surprisingly tight in the last week or so. I have a hunch that it's the combination of intense circuit training (at home), hill work and lots of trail running without a proper amount of stretching to follow.

Saturday, I went to a power yoga class that gave me several opportunities to work on the hip flexors. Then Sunday afternoon when I returned home from 16 miles on the McKenzie River Trail, I went through my 25 minute "yoga for runners" podcast. It hurt so good.

Monday, I did another stretch session on my own to work out the tightness. The key is, I've got to keep at it.

I've included a few stretches below that I need to include in my stretching routine. Thanks to the manfriend for playing photographer!

Warrior I

Sometimes just getting into this pose, I feel my hips pop a little and realign. Make sure hips are pointing forward with your back foot grounded at a 45 deg angle.

Deep lunge

Here the hip sockets should both be pointing straight ahead, arms up (or on your hips), shoulders pulled down and away from your ears, feel the stretch in the back hip flexor and heel. Breathe. 

I dip the back knee down and hover it 1 inch off the ground for a little challenge and deeper stretch before coming back up and holding it. 


This is a great overall hip stretch and really gets at the outer hip. Step one foot forward and bend it in the shape of a 7. The goal is to have the top leg parallel to the top of your yoga mat...mine is definitely not. 

The great thing is that you can adjust your leg a lot depending on where you're at. I am much tighter on this right side (above) than I am on the left so I've got to adjust my front leg and expectations a bit. 


Squat low with feet wider than hip distance and toes pointing out. Press your hands together while using your elbows to push your knees apart. I gave you the side shot because I'm nice like that. 

Standing straddle 

There are all kinds of great things you can do here, but I can get a hip stretch when I really lean and pull toward one side. 

Looking at all of these reminds me I also really need to keep my hamstrings in check because they're always tight. Just trying to stretch everything appropriately would take another good 30 minutes after every run. Maybe in another lifetime...

And for some more yoga fun... 25 Yoga Poses most people wouldn't dream of trying. There are about 10 of these I'd love to be able to do, but they would require some serious time on the mat.

Look who finally got a new blender! I'm now the proud new owner of a Ninja.

I had a giftcard from my mom and Macy's was having a sale so it was meant to be. Plus, I was sick of making smoothies in the food processor without ice. Green monster smoothies, I'm comin' for you!

Time to confess: Do you stretch post run/workout? I probably stretch after a workout about half of the time and most often I only spend a few minutes on it. But I figure something is better than nothing! Plus, I'm trying to incorporate more forced stretching (yoga) into my weeks where possible. 

As you probably know, I'm no yoga or medical expert, so remember that these are just my suggestions on stretches that work for me. Be smart and listen to your body and medical professional. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Why I Love the Healthy Living Blog Community

Hey there and happy Wednesday! I have a post in the works, but in the mean time, go check out my featured post on the Healthy Living Blogs site. 

If you found me via Healthy Living Blogs, welcome to my little space on the web. I'm Lauren and I'm a 29 year old marathoner, gin and tonic enthusiast living in Oregon (TrackTown, USA to be specific) who likes to bake and cook healthy goodness. I'm currently training for my second 50K trail race in early September. Thanks for stopping by!

Thanks to Heather from Then Heather Said (who also manages HLB), I got the opportunity to write about why I love this community of Healthy Living Bloggers so much.

So pop over and find out why I love it and then tell me why you love this community (or whatever community you consider yourself a part of).

Also, I need your suggestions on good summer reads. I have a serious urge to sink myself into a book these days. It seems to happen more so when summer really hits - the idea of lazy weekends, lawn chairs, reading, napping, reading. You get the idea.

Related posts: Healthy Living Summit 2011
                         Victoria Marathon (with blog friends)

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Saturday in Photos

Saturday was one of those perfect weekend days where I sort of took it easy and enjoyed every minute. I don't know about you, but some weekends I just don't give myself the chance to really let that weekend feeling sink in. It's important to remember how necessary our weekends are for chilling out and recharging for the week ahead. 

The morning started with a bike ride to and from an awesome power yoga class led by Kira. Perfect vibe, challenging, yet just what I needed stretching wise.

It was such a beautiful morning after yoga that I just rode around downtown admiring some of the adorable historic houses.

And the river...

Jonah Bell peeking outside at another dog. We keep the curtains closed on really hot days to keep the heat out.

Then it was off to the blueberry farm for the first day of the 'you pick' season!

I picked about 6-7 lbs of organic blueberries for $7.50. Major score.

That evening we headed up to my parents' house for a little BBQ. The happy couple is back from Hawaii, so it was fun to catch up and just eat some good food with the family.

This cowboy tried on my dad's old Stetson hat.

And finally, we were treated to some pretty views on the drive home as the farmers were cutting their fields at sundown.

While it was a pretty busy day, it was also a much needed low key day on the exercise front. My legs were sore from the several days of running, hill work and strength training. Plus, I knew I would be beating them up on the trails today with 3 hrs of running.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Brooks PureCadence Shoe Review

I finally broke down and ordered some new shoes after running on my old pair for at least 100 miles longer than I prefer.

After being an Adrenaline junky for several years, I wanted to try out the Brooks PureCadence minimalist shoes because they're lightweight, but still have some support for us pronators. 

Plus, they're flashy and I'm all about neon colors these days.

These bright blue shoes make a previously normal running outfit look a little crazy, but what can ya do?

So how'd they perform? Well, I've tested them on a few road runs, some trail and some hills and I have to say they're pretty good.

We had a tough hill workout tonight in the 90 degree heat and I definitely noticed the weight difference of my shoes. They just sort of floated right along with my feet rather than pulling me down.

While they're lightweight, they're very cushy, although I'm not sure how long that will last. I've heard minimalist shoes break down easier, which makes sense.

As I already run on my mid to forefoot, it wasn't a huge difference to run in these, but they definitely have less of a heel, which forces you on to the forefoot naturally. I also notice my ankles and knees working a little harder to keep everything steady.

I'm not sure if these will become my "go to" running shoe, but I'm definitely happy with my purchase! I'm curious to see if they can handle being a workhorse shoe and putting up with ~50 miles per week. Time will tell.

Happy Friday! This week felt like it draaaagged on so I'm especially happy to see the end of it. When nice weather arrives here in Oregon, it's just hard to sit inside thinking of all you could be doing outside.

P.S. Guess who my friend Sarah and I saw on our lunch walk yesterday on the bike path?! Tony Dungy and his family! The Dungy's have a house in Eugene because one of their sons plays football for the Oregon Ducks. I was just a wee bit star struck.