Friday, April 26, 2013

Ah, the Marathon

The runners and spectators coming from out of town, the racers tapering and trying to ward off pre race gitters, the expo, the carb loading (and reloading), the traffic. I love it all. Just the anticipation of a big ole running event makes me happy. 

I'm not even racing this year and look at me babble on like I'm ready to tackle that 26.2. I'm going to be smiling at every runner I see on Sunday and won't miss the post race gatherings around town. It's the next best thing to running the marathon as I see it - spectator extraordinaire. I can't believe it's been a year since that near Boston qualifier and the manfriend's proposal!

For anyone just stopping by the blog and Eugene for the first time, check out my suggestions on where to go and what to do during marathon weekend! 

I highly recommend shaking out the legs on Pre's Trail. I took this photo on Wednesday evening as I was practically skipping through my miles in 70 degree weather. 

This is my ridiculously happy to be running in a tank top and shorts face.

The last few weeks of work have been extremely busy. Today, I'm not sure I looked away from my screen at times for a good hour or so. I left work a few hours early because I'm working an event early tomorrow morning and just needed some time to myself.

At the end of these kinds of days, it just feels like you need a complete mind dump. Luckily, I got in some good runs and bike rides to try and clear the clutter.

Recognize this place? Hello, Hayward Field. Even as a long time resident of Eugene, it always feels special to run here.

Our Flyers speed group (coached by Ian Dobson) has been meeting here the last few weeks and last night was an especially painful workout: warm up, 3 x (1,000m @ 5K pace, 400m @ mile pace & 200m @ FAST pace), cool down. Warmer than usual temps paired with those 1,000 meter things were killer.

In rare fashion, I actually stretched and foam rolled last night... Pain radiating down my legs this week was a sure sign they needed the extra attention.

Fashion Friday
I stepped up my outfit game just a wee bit this week. It had been slackin'. But as we get into the warmer months, my wardrobe is more exciting, making it easier to be creative (goodbye daily black pants and Danskos).

I still have no regrets purchasing this skirt full price. It makes me happy every time I put it on.

Cardigan: Target, yellow top & skirt: LOFT, flats: Payless shoes

May I present to you... casual Friday. Colored jeans make me exponentially happier - the brighter, the better.

And with that I say, Happy Friday eve! How's the weather in your neck of the woods? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Challenge of Sorts

The weeks are flying by around here. Nothing too new about that! 

Monday night, Lindsey and I met up for a bike ride. Neither of us have been cycling much, so it was definitely a challenge to complete 25 miles.

We opted for a fairly flat route with one of our favorite roads with rolling hills. The cow pastures and quiet, country roads make it pretty serene.  

This ride was all about the wind, sunshine and tired legs.

We stopped about halfway so I could scarf down my Power Bar and Nuun water. I could feel myself getting weak from lack of fuel.

I don't know about you, but I like to say hi to the cows when I ride by. And if I'm with the manfriend, I moo at them. No joke.

I have to say, I felt pretty lucky to be celebrating Earth Day by riding with a friend and just enjoying the landscape.

Yesterday, I put myself up to a different kind of challenge. I rode the bus to work!

I've worked at the University for seven years and have avoided taking the bus to work because I thought it would take too much time, it's unfamiliar and would be a hassle. And because I'm usually hauling a few bags with me and/or have plans to go somewhere after work.

With Tuesday being my rest(ish) day, it was the perfect time to try it. I got on at 7:35 just a block from my house, made one transfer at the downtown Eugene station and got dropped off two blocks from work. The trip took about 35 minutes and was free thanks to my University ID card.

Best of all, I was able to read a book and relax on my commute. The trip home was equally as handy. Bottom line, riding the bus in Tracktown isn't so bad. It just takes a little planning.

On the running front: I have to admit that it feels a bit weird not to be running the Eugene Marathon this year. While I know it was the right decision not to sign up, it's a bit strange not to be running a marathon in your own city.

Alas, I'm hoping these legs are up for a long run, because they'll likely be seeing some miles along the course. In a sheer moment of loco, I almost decided to sign up last week. Like somehow running one 18 miler, four weeks ago has prepared me for 26.2...

Did you do anything special for Earth Day? Have you challenged yourself lately? As someone who likes playing in the safe zone, even something as simple as riding the bus for the first time was a challenge. I could seriously benefit from stretching my boundaries more often. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Surprise Date Night

Friday night, the manfriend had a surprise date planned for us. He told me we'd be doing something after work, but didn't give any details. 

After a short and sweaty Lifeforce class (where I discovered I can almost do several underhand pull ups with no assist), I raced home, showered and got ready. 

The manfriend really planned out all the details for this one - he picked up Subway sandwiches for dinner, selected my outfit for the night! and packed snacks for us. 

Soon enough, we arrived at Sweet Cheeks Winery. It was one of the fifty things I guessed we might be doing.

Sweet Cheeks has been one of our favorite places to stop at on a warm weekend afternoon. On Friday nights, they stay open late for Twilight Tastings and have live entertainment. The guy singing and playing guitar on Friday was pretty amazing. 

They recently added nice garage doors to their outside patio to make it much more cozy for guests to hang out when it's colder.

We opted to taste the red wine flight, which i was pretty impressed with. I ordered a glass of the Pinot Noir 2009 for sipping and chatting. 

As for Saturday and Sunday morning, most of it was spent hanging out with my friend Jessica and her daughter Evie. Let me tell you, I realized I have no idea of activities to do with a 2 year old (nor do I own toys or books for kids) so we walked around the Saturday market, went to the playground and went to run group.

Luckily, kids like good food and I have plenty of that. Rice crackers and cheese kept her happy as a clam.

After the run, Jess and Evie headed home, I went grocery shopping and then shocker of shockers, I finally stretched. Must do it more often.

And behold, we have a crockpot dinner!

Surprisingly enough, this was a recipe I found this morning in my latest Real Simple - baked spinach and mushroom rigatoni. Ingredients were pretty simple and I just had to grab a few things from Trader Joe's to make it happen.

It turned out to be sort of a pasta lasagna, but I wish it had a bit more flavor. Next time I'd add some jarred marinara and/or more spices (recipe called for only salt & pepper).

We had dinner and watched Les Miserables. Have to say, 2.5 hours of pure singing with minimal conversations was pretty torturous. Not that it wasn't impressive, just not my style.

How was your weekend? I think after last week's events around the country, we all really needed the weekend.

Do you like surprises or hate them? I'm a big fan of good surprises, both giving and receiving them. It's one of the few times I'm okay with not knowing all the details. ;)

I still remember my friend Teresa walking into the back room of a Chinese restaurant on her 16th birthday and bursting into tears because she was so surprised we had all gathered there just for her.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

For Boston

Just as everyone else is, I've been a state of somewhat shock since Monday afternoon. It doesn't feel real. When I woke up this morning, for about five seconds I forgot about Boston... until I didn't.

I wore my Victoria Marathon pull over today (with business pants and heels) because as I runner and part of this community, I feel attacked and connected to it all. As someone said on twitter, an attack on a few of us feels like an attack on all of us. While this running community might be huge and expansive, it is tightly knit.

Last night I had tears in my eyes as I banged out five chilly miles that ended in a downpour of hail. Typically, Monday evening runs are easy, fun runs with the group, but last night, I just kept pushing and pushing for all those who couldn't.

Today was an active recovery after a tough strength am cardio circuit and a run yesterday. I opted for a lunchtime walk in the sun, a short bike ride to the store and some deck yoga after work.

Not gonna lie, my brain was in a fog today and the fresh air was much needed.

Tonight's practice was a fun folding practice via YogaGlo - lots of hammy stretching!

As I did yoga, Jonah Bell roamed the back yard, occasionally trying to convince me to throw the ball for her. I love how dogs here something and just stop like a deer in their tracks to figure it out. 

At the grocery store, I picked up another back of Love Grown granola (because it's delish). I got our local store to stock it so I figure I better do my part in buying & eating it!

Psst... I also picked up some butter pecan ice cream. Oh my lanta it is good! After denying ice cream cravings for a few weeks, I finally bit the bullet. Per the usual, 1 serving for me and 3 servings for the manfriend in a sitting.

After the horrific events in Boston on Monday, it has been a relief to hear of the many people who have opened their hearts, homes and lives to total strangers in such incredible ways. But I pray we don't have to endure many more of these tragedies. I want to live in a place where I don't have to be afraid of going to large public events, where I trust that humanity knows what its doing and that it cares for each and every individual.  

I will continue to keep Boston in my heart and prayers and send love to my friends and family. My runs and workouts this week are also going to be a little bit sweatier this week as a result. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Lately Loves

I haven't done one of these fun posts in a while, so why not? Last week was super busy with an event all week, so it was hard to fit in running, food making and sanity. I'm hoping this week is a bit better.

Lately, I've been loving...

Sun. on a Saturday. while sipping wine.

This face. {It goes without saying, but I had to use this pic.} Post 70 mile ride exhaustion face. Hard to imagine he'll be my "husband" in less than three months! When the whole wedding thing happens to you, it all goes much faster than you imagine and it seems a bit surreal, in a good way.

Navy + lace. I was really hoping to love this shirt from Tar-get, but it has a drawstring at a funny place in the midline so I didn't buy it.

E-filing taxes. So much more handy than paper forms.

Mango and pink everything. While these are not my wedding colors, they just make me extremely happy. I now own a pair of pink cropped work pants, which are much more springy than my baggy black pairs.

This book: A Practical Wedding. Because every time I start to have a panic attack about something wedding related, this book reminds me that weddings used to be short notice, in home affairs. The fuss and fancy we know of weddings today started in the 1920's and has just exploded since then. And many of the "traditions" we think of typical to weddings (unity candle, bridesmaids, bouquets) were created not that long ago. The bottom line from this author is: It's your wedding. Do what you want. 

Easing back on my workouts because I can. Oddly enough, I'm still super excited for the Eugene Marathon that will be happening in two weeks because it will be one big massive runner party. And after the marathon, friends are meeting up at Ninkasi to celebrate with our own Picky Bars peeps, Lauren Fleshman and Jesse Thomas who recently moved to Bend.

Oh, and I may just happen to run longish on Marathon Sunday that closely resembles the marathon course. Not planning to run 26.2 because these legs are nowhere near ready for that, but I might crank out 15+. You know, to celebrate my engagement marathon one year later.

And finally, good luck to all you BOSTON MARATHONERS out there! You've put in all the hard work. Now it's time to just enjoy the reward of 26.2. Someday, I'll be there with you.

Anything special you've been loving lately? My mom and I are going shopping today in search of wedding shoes, her dress and maybe a rehearsal dinner outfit. Hoping it's all fairly painless.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Workouts You Don't HAVE To Do

Even though I don't have to be doing any kind of specific workouts, I regularly tell myself I do (don't get me wrong, I love endorphins). Yesterday was going to be an easy day, but I told myself I would do a 25 min run with 15 min or so of tempo after work. And maybe some yoga at home.

Well, I forgot my hair thing at home and I was sneezing a lot throughout the day (my tell tale sign I'm on a verge of a cold), so I took it as a sign I wasn't supposed to do that workout. Okay, universe, you win.

BUT, it was a beautiful day out and I needed some mind clearing, so I put on the running clothes and headed out for... a walk! I got my walk on and just soaked up that Vitamin D.

I finally did decide to run a bit, but nothing at tempo pace and I purposely didn't wear my Garmin so I wouldn't know my pace if I did end up running. Finished with about 11 minutes total of easy running and another 30 minutes of walking on Pre's Trail and around campus. Just what the body ordered.

Hello from my long haired, sweaty face self!

I have a daily inspiration tear off calendar at work, which often has some good reminders. Here are a few of the one's I've saved.

  • JUMP or you'll spend the rest of your life being pushed!
  • Laugh often, lighten up and don't take things so seriously. 
  • Facing fear leads to courage, strength and powerful choices. 
  • Happiness is not a dress size.
  • If you don't like your current situation, find the courage to change it. 

Exciting stuff...

We went to Bend on Saturday to do some tasting for the wedding. Reception and cake tasting. All the food was delicious and the people were awesome. And the weather wasn't so bad either.

This trip, I found myself actually getting excited for the big day. I'll be honest that in up until now, I've felt a lot of stress around the wedding and not a lot of joy. Hopefully, once the invitations are ordered and flowers are selected, I'll feel a little more at ease.

We're starting to think more about our European honeymoon (even though we won't go for another year or so). Man, it's fun to dream. There are SO many cool places I want to go.

If you've traveled abroad, what's your favorite city and/or thing to do? If not, what's your dream destination?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

99 Days and Go with the Flow

Ah, the days are flying by! Scratch that, the weeks and MONTHS are flying by. According to our Macy's wedding registry, we have 99 days left until the big day - gulp!

Add to that the fact that this time of year we are super busy at work (as opposed to the rest of the year when it's slow...ha), so time just seems to speed by.

Today at work a coworker asked a few of us if we wanted to grab lunch. While this may seem like a normal thing, I take my lunch to work and rarely go out in an effort to eat healthy and save $$.

I passed with the stipulation that I'm up for it, but I just need advance notice. I know, I know, "really?!" you're thinking.

Anyway, it got me thinking about how we "Planner" types interact with the "Go with the Flow" types and vice versa. It's not easy.

I'll admit that most of my friends whom I easily interact with, are Type A planners. I really struggle with the go with the flow types. That being said, Pete is a go with the flow-er. And in our relationship, it works out perfectly. I NEED someone who will just say "hey, forget about all those stressors, obligations, etc, let's go get a beer or take a drive" on a random night.

But in my friendships, I find it much harder to find time to hang out with my 'go with the flow' friends. By the time they've decided when they want to do something, my schedule is full. Granted, I LOVE these people for who they are and the traits they have that I lack. Trust me, I wish I didn't take myself so seriously at times and didn't always. need. a. plan.

But I do. That's how I am. Planners, lists, schedules and solidified plans make me very happy. And yoga and weekends help me let go of control, if just for a little bit. 

Speaking of which, I've really enjoyed NOT having a race plan to follow right now. Yes, I'm keeping up my mileage, strength training and stretching, but there's something to be said for just being able to do what ever damn exercise you please on a particular day. 

I don't feel like I have to run just for the sake of it. I run because I want to or because I want to see the running group. Last night, Pete and I went on a 20 mile bike ride after work. It felt good to mix up the routine even if the legs were tired. 

So tell me, are you a "Go with the Flow-er" or a "Type A Planner?" Have you found ways to work with friends/family/coworkers who are the opposite? 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Weekend Adventures

My extra long weekend was great, but per the usual I packed 5,000 things into four short days, which means I'm extra tired today (and trying to catch up on work projects).

Saturday morning, I was treated to an epic solo run. It was one of those runs where the weather and scenery was just so perfect that I had a smile on my face the entire time. Relaxation at its finest.


It was foggy as I set out and then the sun came out about half way into the run. One of my first ipod runs in a while. 

 After the run, I took a speed shower and headed to yoga to stretch out my uber tight hamstrings. 

We had a memorial service to attend that afternoon in Portland. And while the event was sad and surreal, the food was delicious. Someone enjoyed a massive piece of banana cake in Shirean's honor.


After carb loading at Easter brunch with the fam, the manfriend, Jonah Bell and I headed out to the trails. He was mountain biking, I was running and Jonah Bell was chasing Pete. 

Despite its appearance, the trail had its muddy spots and Jonah was the first to spot them and lay down in any bit of mud she could. Gotta love dogs. 

 The dog always keeps things interesting

After an hour of time on the trails, we were all pretty tuckered out. I didn't really take a rest day last week and the events of the weekend had really caught up to me. I nearly fell asleep at 7 pm in front of the TV.

This week, I'm starting Tina's Best Body Bootcamp again, which I did about a year ago. Today's workout was mostly arm focused, which I can't complain about. The legs get a lot of work regardless.

While I'm not following some "bridal slim down" program to get ready for the wedding, I do want to feel fit, strong and healthy on our big day. In the next few months, I will likely focus more on clean eating and limit the amount of treats and alcoholic drinks I consume.

How was your weekend? Anyone fooled by a clever April Fool's joke? I'm not a big jokester, but I do appreciate the jokes that are really thought out, like the Redbox lunch meat ad. BTW, I hope this never becomes our grocery shopping reality.