Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Toys, and one Baaad Afternoon

Wow, two posts in under a week? Who am I?

Well, in all the schmaltz and schmoopy-ness that was Monday's post, I didn't talk about a few things that went down last week. Now, I have a few more things to add to that list. So, a lot to talk about, 1 2 3 go!

Remember back in this post when I talked about the Saucony Mirage? Well, after 5 long months and lots of fawning over them at work, look who finally came home to Mama last week?
Aren't they gorgeous? 

I was thinking I'd use these instead of the DS Racers for Marquette, so I wore them on my 14 miler on Saturday morning. They worked wonderfully! My feet and my legs felt great throughout, and I only had a little bit of knee pain going in to the last few miles.
However, that 14 as a whole is a saga in and of itself... I ran it with the Marathon Training Group from my store, which is great because it gives me a group to be with so I'm not alone, and the run is supported with water stops and whatnot. However, I foolishly forgot to bring my own nutrition, and then forgot to grab something at the first stop, since he warned us out front that he might not see us again until around 9. So, I had nothing until 9, where I took another Gu. I don't know what it was, but I actually felt worse after that. My pace dropped off from around 8:15-8:20 to around 9:20-9:30, and I started feeling nauseous. I finished the run, though, in 2:01:33, so all in all I'll take it. Afterwards, I tried ignoring the nausea as much as I could, and rushed home to clean up and get back to the store for my shift. Once there, no more ignoring it. I sipped on water and tried eating something to see if that would help, but I was getting worse (and very dizzy to boot), and after my system rejected everything I put in it after the run, I sent myself home, where I promptly slept for an hour and then spent the rest of the day with what felt like the third worst hangover of my life.
So, now I'm left wondering if it was the Gu itself that caused it, or was it the fact I took it too late? Either way, I need to restock all of my running nutrition, as every last piece of it was at least a month past expiration. Oooops. Coach Mom suggested Endurolytes, so I think I might give those a whirl on my next long run. Regardless, I need to rethink my plan, as I don't want to relive last week ever again.

In other news, after too many months of fighting with MapMyFitness (who doesn't have all of my usual routes on their database, nor does it work well with the SuperMac and the Magic Mouse (which I dislike anyway but that's another white whine for another time)), and being told it was way past time for this running store manager to know what the heck she's talking about while selling them, I gave in and pulled the trigger. This little guy came home to his Mama yesterday:

 Love. Love love love. Forerunner 110, let's run away together.
And that's exactly what we did this morning.
In other news, I'm too busy being a runner and a manager to be a good "housewife" and make sure our apartment is clean. You know what? I'm OK with that.

And, the result of our rendezvous today?

So much information! So many little details! So much to analyze! Eeeeeeee!!! My favorite parts were actually the map (which I am not posting for safety reasons, sorry), and the "player", which took me through my route and showed me how fast I was going where and how the elevation changed. I was bouncing everywhere from a 5:49 pace somewhere in the first 200 yards to a 13:00 minute pace (I think that was when I slowed down to see if I could cross a street safely), but for the most part stayed between 8:00 and 8:30 somewhere. Hm, need to work on that just a bit.

So, aside from the schmaltz, that's what's up. The last few weeks of Marquette training, and looking onward past that to Whistlestop... and there might be one more big thing in the works here, too, but I'll disclose that once I have a few more details. :)
So, with that, it's time to clean up and head BACK to the store. It's sad when you have more food in your work fridge than you do in your home fridge, it really is.

Monday, August 15, 2011

525,600 minutes...

A year ago today, I loaded up my truck to the gills with most of my possessions. I then jumped in and drove 100 miles north to the rest of my life.

To say that a lot has changed in the last year is the understatement of the century.

To say that it all hasn't been easy or fun is also true. But, would I change a thing? Probably not.
Here's to the year that was, and here's to the year to come!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Work talks, and gearing up for M2 2011


August is here, and I'm in the process of gearing up for Marquette next month. I am so excited for this race, for a few different reasons:
1. My family is taking this thing over! All 4 of us--me, Coach Mom, Assistant Coach Little Sister, and Little Bro are all running it together.
2. When I've been on lately, I've been ON. I've done a few runs where hitting my target pace (around 8:00min/mi) was quite doable. I'm really working on not getting too ahead of myself, but I really feel that a 1:45 could be in my grasp here, as long as I stay healthy and focused.
3. Watching one of my friends (and former co-bandgeek)  and her husband run their first half marathon. I've been creeping on their training via Facebook, and they are rocking it. :)
4. A 4 day weekend in the UP with my family and Brandon, with possible visits with friends? Yes, please.
5. Going "home" again for a few days? YES, PLEASE.

Not that I'm rushing the rest of summer out of here, nor am I willing and able to skip the rest of training... but if September 2nd-5th could hurry up and get here, I'd be quite a happy woman, let me tell you.

I've also had the privilege lately of working with my running store's newest edition of their marathon/half marathon training group. I helped out while our GM, who usually runs it, was out of town for a few days, and it was nothing short of really awesome. If nothing else, it really confirmed to me that I'd like to run the Whistlestop Half Marathon in October (the race this group is geared toward), if nothing else just to keep meeting up with this group. They're great, and it would be nice to have more some friends in this town.
Yes, sadly, despite being here for 7 months now, I'm still feeling very much like the new girl in school, and I don't really know that many people. I have been trying to make friends at work, but the majority of them are college students and on the local university cross/track teams, so they very much have their own group going on. We did just hire some new people, though, so I'm hoping this dynamic shifts, because I'm starting to feel like that 7th grader eating her lunch in the bathroom stall here.
So... if any of you know of some cool people in the Duluth area who wouldn't mind hanging out with some crazy runner/hockey nerd/recovering bandgeek, let me know!  ;)
Aside from the social end of things, work has been going very well. My promotion became official this morning, and I could not be more excited. I have a ton on my plate, so to speak, but I feel so fortunate. Not only do I finally have a consistent job, but it's doing something I absolutely love. Plus, it's just plain fun sometimes:
The photo we sent to the rest of the management staff while they were out of town, with the caption, "When the cat's away, the mice will play." We put on tri suits and all these party hats/props one of the workers brought in, and were cracking up so hard. Good times
In all seriousness, though, if you would have told me a year ago that any of this would have happened--the relocation, the engagement, the job, the running improvement--I wouldn't have believed you. Well, probably the relocation and maybe the engagement, but other than that? No, I would not have believed you one bit.

So, that's all I have for this post. Have a great rest of your week, everyone!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, hello!

So, I hit the big 2-6 later this week. However, I have already received a few birthday gifts of note from the ever-awesome Coach Mom.

The first: I was registered to run the National Cherry Festival of Races 15K. I've ran their 5K plenty of times, but never made the jump to the big one until this year.

The 15K is most notorious for the climb up "Mount McKinley". Not the real one, obviously, but this is a nearly mile-long climb up the hill on McKinley road, and it just happens to fall right around the halfway point of the race. Oddly enough, this is where I felt the best during this event. I took off like a rocket at the start (yay, forgetting my watch!) and was starting to bonk just a little at this point. Got to the hill, didn't walk at all, felt OK on the climb, threw up 2 rock on fists when I hit the top, coasted down... and then the bonk hit hard. Oh, and did I mention that it was already pushing 80 at this point and humid as heck? Considering the lack of summer we had to that point in Duluth, I wasn't ready for that. I took water and was sprayed with it every chance I had, but I way missed my goal of breaking 1:15 and finished in what was a disappointing 1:19:28.
Yes, I did just say I was disappointed with a race where I averaged an 8:33 pace. What a difference a year makes, eh?
The second came a few days later. I've now run 2 half marathons and earned this, so it was time to get my feet:
Yup! I went and got inked! Coach Mom and Assistant Coach Little Sister both have the same tattoo on the same spot of their right leg, so we all match. It stung a bit, but it was nowhere near as bad as I thought it was going to be.
And, the third present?
Another half, another go at the course that started it all, another shot to break 1:45. 9/3/11. Let's do this! Also doing this: Coach Mom, Assistant Coach Little Sister, and my Little Bro! It will be his first, and I'm so proud of him!! :)

In other news, in my ongoing quest to "race the crap" out of the summer (as one of my co-workers put it), I took on Northern Minnesota's oldest road race, the Park Point 5 Miler

This race should not have gone as well as it did. For starters, I had spent 11 hours the day before on planes and buses coming back from Traverse City to Duluth. While I was in TC, I had been running with the newly formed Traverse Area Running Club, and had just done a 9.5 mile interval workout the morning before flying home. Then, after a short night's sleep, I spent race day at work. Finally, just as race time approached, the cool day turned warm and sticky. I told Brandon to start watching for me around 7:10PM, or around the 40:00 minute mark, as I wasn't expecting things to go well.
37 minutes and 52 seconds later, I crossed the finish line. Boom. Despite the negatives, I feel that I sufficiently rocked that race's face right off. I didn't feel awesome at all, but I'm quite proud of that time all things considered. 
So, yeah. I'm thinking I'm going to take a bit of a hiatus on the racing front until Marquette (though it is hard to turn down a comped entry, believe you me.) I want to break 1:45 so bad I can taste it, and I want to be as fresh and well trained as I can. If there's anywhere that I can hit that, it's Marquette. Here's hoping the weather is a bit nicer this year.

That's all I've got for now. Have fun, kids!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Checking in...

Hello, blogland!

I know, it's been another extended hiatus. However, June has been just a bit crazy for me. For part of that, I have one thing to blame:

No, not running it, but working it. Working at a running store during an event like that = 60 hour work week. We had a series of booths at the Expo. While those were some long days, they were super fun and I enjoyed them and talking with a lot of really interesting people and telling them about some interesting shoes. (Vibram Five Fingers and Newtons.) And, for my trouble, I may or may not have walked away with a pair of slick shoes of my very own:
(Thanks, Justin!)
The Newton Distancia U Lightweight Universal Trainer. Or, as I've started calling them, my "Holy crap are these things bright pink" shoes. I've only taken them out once so far, as Newtons usually require a bit of an adjustment period, but so far? Not a bad shoe.
Speaking of shoes, I think things are starting to get a bit out of hand here: 
Clockwise from top: my current trainers (Mizuno Wave Inspire 7), my on-deck trainers (same), my Nikes I was given to try (Lunarglide+), the aforementioned Newtons, my now-retired Asics Foundations, and my racing shoes (Asics DS Racer 8). 

Yeah. Three I have been given as part of my job, one was a gift, and the other two I have purchased myself (like when I found out the Foundations were causing me to supinate and giving me IT band issues). But in 6 months time, I've gone from hoping I'll get shoes for Christmas because otherwise I wouldn't be able to afford them to having shoes coming out of my ears. Do I remind myself how lucky I am? Every freaking day, multiple times a day.
Anyway, Grandma's, between the Expo, the store, and the race watching party we held there was a crazy weekend. I'm glad I've finally witnessed the hullabaloo, and I think I'm going to throw my name in the hat for the half next year, despite the whole "Oh, hey, I'm getting married the following weekend" thing.

In other news, I spent a bit of time this month recovering from the awesomeness that was Bayshore. I'm starting to pick things back up a bit in prep for the Cherry Fest 15K. My first 15! Usually I do the 5K--it'll be a nice change of pace, and I'm excited.
I was curious what I could do for a 5K these days though, so last weekend I did one-- the Midnight Sun Midnight Run. This was SO much fun! It was a perfect summer night--clear, a little cool but comfortable outside. It was right along the Lakewalk, my primary training grounds, so my familiarity with the terrain made up for the lack of light. I felt fantastic, even with the odd start time completely throwing off my pre-race groove, and I ran a HUGE PR. My official race time (gun time, not chip time) was 22:58, but my watch time was 22:43. Either time is a massive PR and my first 22. :) I'm pretty excited.

So, that's what's going on here. What's up with you all?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

So, uh... hi

Hi, everyone.

Yes, I know it has been just over 2 months since I have posted anything besides an absurd number of tweets and DailyMile posts. I've lost count of the number of times I have thought, "OK, today's the day--I will dust off the blog and get back to it," and then found myself otherwise distracted. (And, if it is another 2 months before you see another post from me, blame Angry Birds Chrome. Eeeegad is that addicting.)

So... what has gone down in the last 2 months and change here?

For one, a couple of awesome races:

The top one is the Goldy's Run 10 miler in Minneapolis, MN on April 9. Brandon and I were in the Cities for the 2011 College Hockey Frozen Four, and this was my little way of making sure I still got my run in while I was there. I also treated it as a tempo run, trying to see if I could hang at an 8:30 pace. I did that and then some--my official chip time was 1:22:44. I was just a bit happy. :) The finish was awesome--they brought you around TCF Bank Stadium (Home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers), and you crossed the finish line at the 50 yard line, with your finish shown up on the JumboTron and your name announced. So, awesome... even if my finish line shot got blocked by some lady.
The bottom one is me coming down the home stretch for the Bayshore Half. If you remember, my goal was to take 10 minutes off my Marquette time, so 1:52:55. I DESTROYED that--1:48:51. The best part of that race? Running with my mom for the first 8 miles. If you would have told me a year ago that would have happened, I wouldn't have believed it. Despite being wet and slightly cold, it was an absolutely amazing morning.

Oh, and the awesome singlet I'm wearing in those photos? Well, the store I work at has a all-inclusive racing team, and the staff is included on this team (the main objective is to be represented by people who reflect the sport positively by being active and a positive presence at racing events.) . :) So, I'm on a racing team.

And, that job at the store? Well, I had my first review after about 2 months (usually that happens at 3, but they wanted to get mine taken care of). The long and short of it: I nailed the training and probationary period. Now, I'm in the process of being trained to be an assistant manager, taking over that around 8/1. I'll be taking on a lot of new roles, including employee training, community outreach and marketing, coordinating clinics and "spike nights" with local high school teams, among other things. Pretty excited? You bet. :)

And, to close--the numbers:
March mileage total: 103 miles
April mileage total: 110.4 miles
May mileage total: 102.4 miles

Yeah, my first 3 triple-digit months. :)
2011 mileage total to date: 435.7 miles. Yes, I am 15 miles shy of matching my 2010 total.

So, if there's anyone who still is following this little bloggy-guy... what's new and good with you?

Monday, March 28, 2011

8 days a week...

Hi, all!

As most of you know, my training plan was written by my mom, referred to on the blog as Coach Mom. The key to my training plan was flexibility--there's one day on my plan per week that is just blank. That day can be a day to make up a missed run, or to cross train, or to rest, whatever I need to do.

Sometimes, though, I burn through all the flex days, and I'm left with mileage to make up. This week is an example of one of those times.
It comes with a pretty interesting story, though!

Last week, my fiance's alma mater made the Women's Division II Basketball national championship game. He was a big follower of the team for the majority of his time in undergrad, and has still followed them post-graduation. When they won the semi's, I knew he would try to go to Missouri for the game.
Sure enough, I got a text as I was getting off work Thursday night telling me he hadn't found anyone to go with him, but he was going anyway. A voice in the back of my head started yelling at me to go with him, just in case something happened along the way, so he wouldn't be alone. 2 hours later, we were on the road headed to Ames, IA to stay with a friend along the way.
3 hours later, just north of Albert Lea, MN, my premonition started to come true. One by one, the electronics in the car began to shut off, and the next thing we knew we were dead along the side of Interstate 35. As far as he knew, his insurance didn't have roadside assistance. Thank goodness for my AAA--he called them and we got towed in to town and taken to a cheap but thankfully warm and clean hotel. We learned the next morning that the alternator needed replacing, and the guys at the repair shop got us fixed and on the road very quickly! 6 hours, and 1 stop in Ames to pick up our friend (who now was coming with us), we made it to St. Joseph, MO to watch the game.
While Tech lost the game, the environment was incredible. SO many alums, families, friends, and even current students made the trip--it was like being back in Houghton again!
After the sad defeat, we hit the road to make the trip straight through back to Duluth. We tried to switch off drivers and sleep, but neither of us slept much. We made it home at 6:30am, I took a brief nap, then I was off to work at 10. All in all, it was a 36 hour, 4 state, 1 new alternator, 1 new battery, and 3 bags of Swedish Fish adventure. Despite the lack of a national championship, it was completely worth it. We won't always be able to make spontaneous plans like this, so we need to do it while we can!

Now, to tie this back in to running: my original plan was to run my long run on Friday (10 miles) and my last short run (4 miles) on Saturday. Obviously, there wasn't a chance to get 10 in on Friday (or, at least I didn't think there would be--I never banked on our random stop!) While I brought running clothes with me to work and meant to run on Saturday, it just wasn't going to happen. On an hour and a half of sleep and having just worked a 7 hour non-stop shift, I looked and felt kind of like this:
It just wouldn't have been smart, so I went home and crashed.
I did make up the 10 miler yesterday, but that left the 4 mile run... what to do with that? Well, I have just decided that today is the 8th day of the week, and I made up the 4 this morning. It doesn't matter WHEN I get the runs in. What matters is that I get them in, and after today, I have. Now, on to next/this week!

Sunday 3/27: What. A. Beautiful. Morning! After nearly 12 hours of sleep, I felt rested and recovered from the road trip. I was having some stomach issues, though, so I opted to walk to the Lakewalk and run from there, rather than driving to my starting point from my last long run. That way, if I had to call off the run, Brandon would have the car to come pick me up. Thankfully, once I got out and going I felt fine. The run felt great, the sunshine felt great, and it was awesome to get another 10 under my belt. You know what else felt great? A hot shower and compression socks after the fact. I am officially in love with those ugly socks. 10 miles, untimed.
Monday 3/28: Make up day! I made up the missed 4 on the Y treadmill. Nothing really spectacular, just 3.5 miles easy, and then a practice kick, where I gradually increased the speed. 4 miles in 35:47.

Time to get some food and head in to work! Have a great day, all!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages, I have an announcement:

Upon completion of today's run, I have hit 200 miles for the year. Last year, I hit this milestone on July 22, so I got here 4 months faster than last year. :) I still have a long way to go to double last year's yearly total of 450, but I'm definitely on a good pace to get there. 
I'm also on pace to have this be my biggest mileage month ever, as I'm already a full 10 miles over my previous record of 70, and I still have a full week to go, including a 10 miler later this week. I can't lie, this makes me pretty darn happy. 
Saturday 3/19: After work, I headed out on to the LakeWalk. Nothing special, just a nice, relaxed, easy run. I felt good, no real soreness from the previous day's long run. 4 miles, untimed.
Monday 3/21: I wasted a gorgeous day and ran on the Y treadmill. Blech. Meant to do 6, but realized I wasn't going to have the time. I also tried to hurry the 6 along by throwing in 400's at an 8:00 pace. Dumb? Probably. Fun? In a sick way, yes. Was I tired the rest of the day at work? You betcha. 4 miles in 33:53.
Wednesday 3/23: I really did mean to run yesterday with the training group at work, but the wind was just too heinous for me. They went anyway, I wussed out and hit the treadmill this morning. I felt pretty flat--no gas in the tank, really. Despite this feeling, I did a tempo run: 1 mile warm-up, 4 miles at just above goal pace (8:27), 1 cool down with a practice kick at the end. 6 miles in 51:33. 

I'm pretty pleased with how things have been going. :)

Sorry for the short post. I hope things are going well for everyone reading this! 
Have fun, all!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Recaps, and I Deserve It!

So, I've become terrible at blogging. It was so much easier when I wasn't working! Not that I would go back to that for anything--I love my job so much, and I learned during the few months leading up to being hired at the store that the stay-at-home thing is not for me. I will respect anyone who takes that path, but it is definitely not mine.
Life is pretty good at the moment! I've hit my stride at the store, I think. I'm definitely still a rookie and I'm still definitely learning, but I'm still enjoying the environment and getting to know both the team and the customers. We had a great event at the store this past weekend, I'll talk about that more in my recaps.
So, with no further ado...

Run recaps:
Thurs 3/10-- I did a practice run for the Pub Shuffle with my bosses and their dog. This was just a super easy jog, really, mostly done in the name of learning the route. 3.7 (?) miles.
Friday 3/11-- the first double digit run of the year! I had to go super early because we had another road trip adventure planned for that day. The run went very well, it was your quintessential long slow distance. I also tried a new energy gel, as my beloved Gu gave me a ringing headache the week before. I tried the Gold flavor of Honey Stingers, and I was really pleased with these. It was just honey, so it didn't have the unappealing texture I've found gels to have, and it didn't give me the caffeine headache or nausea I would get from other gels. I will probably use these again! I also got to see a new part of the LakeWalk, which really made the middle 4 miles go by quicker. Mistake made: I didn't have my traditional red PowerAde waiting, I didn't take in any fluids on the run (my bike crew opted to sleep in...), and I waited faaaaar too long to eat anything after the fact. 10 miles.
Sunday 3/13--The 1st annual DRC Shamrock Pub Shuffle! I signed up for this event last month, and when I did that I never would have thought I would be a part of it the way I was! The non-competitive event went in 4 waves--7 min/mi, 9 min/mi, 11 min/mi, and walkers. I helped lead the 9 group, which was huuge! All in all, the event went so well, and nearly $2000 was raised to help build a handicap accessible baseball field in West Duluth. Add in the fun time I had afterwards with my co-workers, and we have the recipe for a great day. 2.9 miles
Week total 3/7-3/13: 26.7 miles. Biggest week ever, accomplished!
Monday 3/14--Back to the Y, time for a... fartlek? I guess... I'm horrible with the terminology. Basically, I did 4 2:00 surges at an 8:14 pace during my run, and the rest was done at about an 8:40 or 8:50 pace. I felt kind of flat in the last 1.5, and I really wanted to stop, but I didn't. 6 miles in 52:46.
Tuesday 3/15--again at the Y, tempo run time! Mile 1 was at 8:34 pace, the last 3 were at 8:27 with a slight kick at the end. All in all, I felt pretty good! 4 miles in 33:59.
Today's run--today is my day off for the week, so I took the chance to get my long run in. I made a classic rookie mistake today. I felt fantastic, so I took off like my hair was on fire, and by about 1.25 miles, I was pretty tapped. I reminded myself that long runs are not done for time or speed, and I slowed down. I would have slowed down anyway, but I made a mindful effort to slow down. I saw a fox along the trail, and about 34509834 awesomely cute dogs, and a kid on a hotel balcony singing his heart out, and I capped it all off with a trip to Caribou Coffee. A great morning, all in all. 8.2 miles in 1:22:53.

I'm on track for another big month for me! After today's run, I'm at 66.9 miles, which is a 5K shy of tying my biggest. As I have a 4 miler on the docket for the weekend, I'll have topped my biggest mileage with a full week and a half to go. That's actually kind of awesome.

I leave you with this--the shoes I will be receiving shortly:

Aren't they pretty? Meet the Saucony Mirage, a lightweight stability trainer. I have been told it would be great for short runs, speed training, and races.
Now, I can't lie... there's a voice in the back of my head asking me if someone who is only planning on hitting 1:50 in a half really needs a shoe specifically for racing. It's not like I'm an Olympian or anything. But, every time I hear that voice, I mentally smack that doubter and think, "Midpack runners are just as deserving of nice things!" I will get a lot of use from these shoes--in 5Ks, in halves, short runs. Me getting these shoes is not a bad thing, it's not a waste, it's fantastic. 

Have a great weekend, all! :)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A, B, C!

Hi, all!

I've seen this alphabet thing floating around, and I thought it would be fun! So, with no further ado...

Age: 25

Bed size: Queen! We just got a new, real bed, and it is unreal how comfortable it is!

Chore you dislike: DISHES! I loathe doing dishes, yet I always am the one who ends up doing them. Bleeechhh...

Dogs: None :( our lease says no. My family has always had dogs, though, and I'd love to have one someday when we're somewhere that allows it.

Essential start to your day: coffee, and usually one round with the snooze button.

Favorite color: My default answer has always been blue, but I don't know. I'm partial to my school colors, green and gold.

Gold or silver: Generally silver, but my engagement ring is gold, and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Height: 5'3" if I stand up perfectly straight. I'm a short one.

Instruments you play: Once upon a time, I played the flute and piccolo. I don't really play anymore, even though I still call myself a flute player. I'd love to learn guitar, too.

Job title: Sales Associate

Kids: None for the foreseeable future. "Not ready for kids" is really the understatement of the century in my case.

Live: Duluth, MN. It still feels strange to not say "Michigan".

Mom's name: "Coach Mom" ;)

Nickname: my family calls me Fifi. A lot of my other friends call me Diva, a play off of a username I have on a forum I frequent.

Overnight hospital stay: not since birth. *knocks on wood*

Pet peeves: purposeful rudeness, singing during introductions, not pushing in chairs and other small forms of cleaning up after oneself.

Quote from a movie: It's so much better just to watch it:

Righty or lefty: Right handed for writing, pretty ambidextrous for most other things.

Siblings: one of each, both younger

Time you wake up: 6:45 most days.

Underwear: yes, I have been known to wear it...

Vegetables you don't like: cauliflower, raw broccoli

What makes you run late: the internet, usually.

Xrays you had: teeth and my wrist.

Yummy food you make: Sweet Potato Fries! I also make some pretty killer oatmeal ;) I have an awesome stir fry recipe that I haven't made in years because the fiance doesn't care for it, I don't think. :(

Zoo animal favorites: don't really have one, I just love animals!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

I'm Still Standing...

Hi, all!

I swear, I'm still alive. Things have gotten SO busy now that I'm a working woman again.

Things are good, though! Time for some recapping!
So, the last time that I posted, I mentioned that I was taking the day off because I was feeling run down and my legs hurt. I didn't say either, but I was kind coughing a bit. Well, it turns out I was in the early stages of the flu! :( I kicked that off by passing out in the bathroom at work, which was rather embarrassing for the third day. I should have known better--I'm kind of sensitive to different cold medicines, and I had taken a dose of DayQuil before I left, which I think combined with the fact that I hadn't eaten enough that day, down I went. I wound up going home and spending the rest of that day and most of that weekend asleep either on the couch or in bed. It was not fun, but by Sunday night I was starting to feel human again.
Sadly, due to the flu, I missed my long run that week, and I rescheduled a shorter run for Monday to a different day just to make sure I was really good to go. So, missing those two runs, I ended up with a February mileage total of 69 miles. In my ongoing battle with perspective, I had to remind myself that while this was short of what was planned, that 69 miles was still a) more than I ran the month before, b) WAY more than I ran last year in February, and c) my 3rd biggest month ever (July 2010 was 69.4, and August 2010 was 70 miles). I should not be getting myself down about that number, I should be fist pumping all around my apartment about that number!
My new job is AWESOME. I'm learning SO much about shoes, foot biomechanics, running and triathlon apparel, and other gear. It can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it's going well. I'm also getting the chance to try on lots of shoes and other gear in the name of product research, and as a part of the job I'm asked to wear test some items and give my feedback to the owners. Pretty sweet deal, I'm not going to lie.
This is the part I'm most excited about-- the store also has a running team. Their philosophy is to have members who, regardless of ability, are active in races and the running community and would represent the team and the sport in a positive light. As a member of the staff, I have the option of being on the team. It really sounds like something perfect for me and like an incredible opportunity, and I'm thinking I'm going to go for it. :D So awesome. Again, the new gig is fantastic, and I'm so happy to be there.
March is off to a great start on the running front. Coming back from the flu was a bit rough initially. I felt sluggish and slow on my first run back, which was to be expected. Then, after that run, which was in the early evening, I tried running again the next morning. That was a disaster--I had no speed, my legs felt flat, and I just felt like garbage. I had to cut my 6 miler down to 5 because I felt so awful. I made up the missed mile on my next run 2 days later, and by that point I was starting to feel myself come back, and the next day I did my long run for the week (8 miles), and while it was a long and slow run, I felt great. :) Last week's total came to 22 miles.
This week, barring anything going wrong, will be the highest weekly mileage I've ever put down, 24 miles. I'm already at 10, and I have a 4 tomorrow and a 10 on Friday! I can't believe I'm already at double digit runs for this training!
So far this week:
Monday- 6 miles on the Y treadmill. I had to do 4 2:00 surges in this run, and I did those at an 8:34 pace, with the rest of at anywhere from a 9:15 to an 8:57 pace. I felt really strong in this workout, and I finished at 53:51.
Tuesday- 4 miles, again at the Y. I felt like I was wasting a beautiful day outside, but I wanted to do more of a tempo run, and right now it's easier for me to do things like that on the treadmill. I did a warm up 1/2 mile at 8:57 pace, and did 3.5 miles at an 8:27 pace. I originally meant to do just 3 at that pace and then cool down at the 8:57 again, but I felt so good that I just finished the run at that pace. My time was 34:07, my fastest 4 miler to date.

So, that's what's new over the last week and a half or so!
I hope you all are doing well. What's new and good with you? If you're in training, how is that going?

Have a great day, all!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Feeling Way too D*mn Good

First off, thanks for all the sweet comments on my last post! :)
If this week had a theme song, I think it would be this.
I'm not one for Nickleback, but this song sums up exactly how this week has gone for me. Things are going way too d*mn good. I'm feeling way too d*mn good. I'm loving it, but there's always that part of you that is waiting for the other shoe to drop, you know?

Anyway, my runs this week have been great.

Tuesday, I finally made it back outside to the Lakewalk. I also learned a valuable lesson: when the wind blows the wave off of the big lake just right, the Lakewalk kinda looks like this:

Ice. Lots and lots of ice. Of course, everything else was dry and clear, so I was gripper-less. So, I walked across the icy parts and ran on the dry parts. I felt great while I was going, but the walking slowed me down quite a bit, I think. 6.21 miles in 1:00:53. Nothing to be ashamed of, really. Slow, but I felt awesome when I was running. Ice happens. Slow runs happen. Highlight: hanging out with some deer on my walk down (literally right outside my apartment, which is pretty close to downtown...), and having a squirrel running just ahead of me on the train tracks along the Lakewalk. 

Wednesday was my first day of work!!
This is going to be awesome. SO awesome. Everyone there is great, and I'm already learning so much. I get to hang out with runners and work with sweet gear all day, it really doesn't get much better than that!
After my first shift, I hauled over to the Y to do some cross training. 30 minutes of walking at 4.5mph on a 3.0 incline, and 30 minutes on a bike. I wanted to do more, but I needed to get home.

Thursday! Thursday! I was kind of in a rush because I had stuff to get done before I headed in, so I "cranked it". 4 miles, with the last 3 at my goal pace for the 1:52 finish (8:31 min/mi). It was challenging, but I could do it. Now I just need to get to where I can do 10 more at that pace, eh? 4 miles in 34:31.

Today is kind of my flex day. It's an extra day built in to my plan in case I need to shuffle workouts if things come up. I've been looking at it as an optional rest and/or cross-training day if needed, and judging by how I'm feeling right now, I think it's going to be rest. I did a lot of walking in addition to my workout yesterday, so I think my muscles could use a break today before my 8 tomorrow (6 of which I'm doing with the training group the store has put together. I'm pretty psyched about that!)
But, even with how early it still is, I already have great news--I won Tricia's  sweet-awesome GoLite gear giveaway! :D:D:D:D Thank you so much, Tricia!
All right, I should head out. I hope you all have a great day and an awesome weekend!

Monday, February 21, 2011

An Epically Happy Monday!

Hi, everyone!!

Before I hit all the big news and fun things that are making this a jump-around-my-apartment, tackle-hug-the-fiance happy kind of Monday, workout recaps:

Saturday: 6 miler at the Y. In retrospect, I should have taken this outside. It was gorgeous out there, even if it was cold, and the Y was a madhouse. I felt guilty hogging a machine for so long, but there was a steady on-off cycle around me so no one was really waiting for a machine. I covered the clock and the pace viewer with a towel and just went. 6 miles in 55:23. I felt good and very relaxed at this pace, but I had to fight the urge to turn up the speed.
Sunday: MUCH needed day off.
Monday: I was walking on pure freaking sunshine. I'm not even joking. I thought about running outside, but it's CRAZY windy here. I promised myself I'll return to my long-neglected Lakewalk for my 6 tomorrow and headed back to the Y again. I channelled my crazy happy in to a little more speed (for me), and did 1 mile at 8:57 pace, then 3 at 8:41 pace. The 8:41 was a good challenge, but not overly crazy hard. I felt like a freaking rockstar. 4 miles in 35:08.

Last week: 20 miles
This week to date: 4 miles
Month to date: 59 miles

OK, let's get to it!
It's no secret that Mondays can be kind of a downer at times, especially after a good weekend. With that in mind, I bring you "Happy Monday!", in which I post a short list of things that are making me happy at the moment. Big things, small things, silly things, serious things, anything that I find bringing a smile to my face can be on this list.
So, here are a few things making me happy this Monday!

1. My Valentine's Day Present
A repeat from last week, I know. We went to the Detroit Red Wings/Minnesota Wild game yesterday, and it was amazing. It came down to a shootout after the game was tied after regulation and OT. The Wings (my team) won, and it was amazing. The game itself was so much fun. Plus, the fiance and I made a mini-getaway out of it. We drove down to the Cities on Saturday, had a nice dinner, stayed in an AWESOME hotel (thank you, Priceline!!), went to a sweet diner for breakfast, then hit the game. Like I said: Best Valentine's Day Present EVER! :D

2. Big News, Part 1
June 23, 2012.
Yes, we set the date. :D

3. Big News, Part 2
I finally heard the magic words this morning: you're hired! After being here for 6 weeks and receiving a bunch of rejections, I'm finally employed. There is an awesome running store here in town, and I've had a kind of pipe dream about working there since the move. So, when I saw they were hiring I went for it. I got contacted about an interview last Saturday (and tackle hugged poor Brandon right after the fact.) I interviewed this morning and I was hired on the spot! :D I'm so happy I don't know what to do with myself.

What's making you happy this Monday?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

100 in perspective

Ladies and Gentlemen, I have an announcement:
I have officially hit 100 miles on the year!
I know, some of you have hit that already, either in January or earlier this month. But, in my ongoing battle to keep my journey, if you will, in perspective, I looked back to see when I hit 100 miles in 2010. It was also on a 4 mile run, but it was on May 13, 2010. So, it took me nearly 1/3 of the time it did last year to hit this point, and I'm pretty sure that I didn't hit 100 miles at any point in 2009. Maybe very late in the year, but I'm doubtful. So, with a little perspective like that, it's reminds me that this is a pretty big personal accomplishment, and I'm proud. 100 down, and so many more to go. :)
Recap of the last few runs/workouts:
Monday: as I mentioned, I was trying to see where I could be comfortably. I ran 4 miles in 36:09.
Tuesday: 6 miles. I'm playing around with trying to run just around a 9:00 pace, preferably slightly under. I did the first 2 miles at 6.5 (about a 9:14 pace) to warm up a bit, then I did the last 4 at 6.7 (8:57 pace), with a speed increase in the last 1/2 mile. Surprisingly, I was very able to keep up a conversation in the beginning of the last mile with the guy on the machine next to me. There's an ego boost! I finished in 54:09, so overall about a 9:01ish pace. :)
Wednesday: cross training. This, I have a feeling, is going to be challenge for me. I did 30 minutes on bike, 15 on an arc trainer, and 30 on a stair climber. I left feeling physically challenged, but mentally pretty bored. I'm going to have to work on this.
Today: I had one goal. I was going to finish the 4 miler under 36:00. I did--35:44, with the treadmill at a 6.7 (8:57) pace and a kick in the last 1/2 mile. :) 

I bought myself a little present yesterday, too:
I finally bought the Operation Beautiful book! I have been wanting it for ages, and yesterday I bought it for my Kindle! :D
In keeping with that book, I've left 3 notes at the Y over the last few days, one in each of the lockers I've used and one on a mirror. I can't lie, doing that does make you feel good. :)

Have you hit a milestone or benchmark lately? How did it make you feel? Clearly, even though I needed to put it in perspective, I'm pretty happy about hitting both my mileage and my pace. 
Have you ever left an Operation Beautiful note? Where?

Have a great day, all! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Recap and Happy Monday!

Today's run: 4 miles (36:09)
Week to date: 4 miles (Happy Monday!)
Month to date: 39 miles

So, last week. Even my back up idea fell through, but it all worked out in the end.
Wednesday was a roller coaster ride. I had my first job interview in Minnesota!
It felt like it went amazingly, and I should be hearing back this week about it. I was feeling pretty awesome afterward, but my day went downhill quickly after that. The long and short of it is that we lost our family dog, Lester, on Wednesday, after a short and sudden illness. He was only 7, and it happened so quickly, so it was a real shock. It left me destroyed for the rest of the day, so working out was a lost cause.
Thursday was my YMCA orientation. I felt pretty awful after not sleeping the night before, but I knew I had to take care of business. The orientation was pretty basic--she just showed me how the machines worked, and a half hour later I was done and on the treadmill. I did 6 miles in 56:31.
Friday, we were Michigan bound! I went to the Y again in the morning before we left, and my goal was to do 6 miles again, faster than I did it the day before. I succeeded: 6 miles in 56:09.
Saturday, I didn't workout. I meant to go to the gym at Tech, but I woke up feeling pretty rotten (another trip to the UP, another cold.) But, we got back to Duluth earlier than anticipated on Sunday, and I had a bag in the car already set to go, so I had Brandon drop me off at the Y when we got in to town. My goal was to do 4 miles quickly, and by "quickly", I meant under 37:00. Well, I did it, but not by much--36:55.
So, I wound up getting in all the scheduled miles for last week, totaling 20.

Today, I wanted to see if I could go faster than yesterday, and kind of really see what I'm capable of running comfortably. I learned that 6.6 mph is the fastest I can go comfortably at this point, so that's about a 9:05 pace. It's still slow, but it's actually much faster than I thought I could go at this point. Even better--that's a 1:59 half marathon, so I think I'm at really good place right now, and I think my goal of 1:52 is definitely in my reach as long as I keep working hard. :)

In other news...
It's no secret that Mondays can be kind of a downer at times, especially coming off a good weekend. With that in mind, I bring you "Happy Monday!", in which I post a short list of things that are making me happy at the moment. Big things, small things, silly things, serious things, anything that I find bringing a smile to my face can be on this list.
So, here are a few things making me happy this Monday!
1. My Valentine's Day present!
It's no secret that we're a hockey household. My fiance and I met through our hockey fandom, and we're big in to both college and pro hockey. So, my gift from him this year was PERFECT:

Sunday Sunday Sunday! Red Wings (my team) vs. Wild (his team) in St. Paul! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!! My first Wings game, my first Pro game! I'm beyond excited.

2. Michigan
Just because. It was good to go "home" this weekend. Minnesota is great, but Michigan will always be home.

3. The Duluth YMCA
Getting a membership there was a great decision. The equipment is great, the facility is great, the people really nice. I'm very glad to have that as an option now. :)

What's making you happy this Monday?
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