Monday, January 31, 2011

A Little Bit of Bragging, and Happy Monday!


To start, my usual round of number crunching:
Today's run: 8.4 miles
Week to date: 8.4 miles (Happy Monday!)
Month to date: 50.68 miles

I am overall pretty pleased with that last number, and with the first one, too! It certainly wasn't a speedy 8.4, but it was 8.4! I knew I wanted to go 8ish today because I crunched all the numbers yesterday, and that was what I needed to hit 50 miles on the month. (Actually, it was 7.7, but I rounded up.) I took off way more time than I should have in January, so I wanted to make up some ground and hit that 50 point.
And, what a day to do it in, eh?
I know the tagline for my blog here is "Up North Running Adventures", and I felt like today definitely fit that bill:
-I was wearing 4 layers on top, 2 on bottom, thick socks, a hat, gloves, and a bandanna over my face.
-3 inches of standing snow on the Lake Walk trail.
-Jumping in to the snowbank to not get hit by the plow clearing the trail.
-Running during yet another weather alert.

Oh, what fun. :)

In other news...

I've decided to start something new here. It's no secret that Mondays can be kind of a downer at times, especially coming off a good weekend. With that thought 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, any thing that I find bringing a smile to my face can be on this list.
So, here are a few things that are making me happy this Monday!


My sister sent me a link to this site last night, and there went my evening. I can't even really accurately describe it, you just have to check it out!
2. Pop/Soda

I know, I can hear the healthy living bloggers and health experts nationwide groaning at this. For the record, I haven't been the biggest pop/soda drinker in my life. However, I cut out all beer/wine/spirits after the new year until I'm done training for Bayshore (and perhaps longer, we'll see). I felt very left out at one point last weekend when Brandon bought himself a really good craft beer we both enjoy, so I was given this as a consolation gift. It's a Jamaican style ginger ale, and it's really different and pretty good. We also tried a red apple soda that was good but maybe just a hair too sweet. And, I'm not drinking these everyday--I'm treating them like a dessert, so one every couple of days. Also, when I have a pop/soda these days, I'm trying to make it a unique, craft soda, not your standard big name ones.

3. My Kindle
(Yeah, it's sideways. Oh well.)
Anyway, I received this little guy for Christmas from the inlaws-to-be. I know a lot of the English major community has kind of shunned this device, but you know what? I never fit in with that crowd anyway. I love it. I absolutely love this thing. I already have a bookshelf that is groaning and bursting at the seams, so to be able to have a device about the size of a small notepad that I can pack full of even more literary goodness is awesome beyond knowing. I've gone through 2 books since I got it (Unbearable Lightness by Portia de Rossi and Once a Runner by John L. Parker) and I'm working through 3 more right now. Like I said, the Kindle is book nerd love.

What's making you smile this Monday?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Week That Was


I swear, every day this week after my run, I sat down and meant to blog. Then, I would get sucked in to Facebook, or the USCHO forums, or any one of the 329042570498 blogs I've been reading.
So, time to recap!
This was "The Week That Was..."

1. Deadly
That is, if you were any of the pieces of technology I owned. In a 48 hour span, my iPod, my laptop, and my cell phone all went to the big electronics store in the sky. :( The iPod was a casualty in a massive tea spill, the laptop has been trying to die for months and finally succeeded, but the phone? No idea. It went from working fine, to giving me weird error messages, to not working at all. I wound up getting a $15 go-phone at Wal-Mart that is straight out of 2002, but it's better than no phone at all, right?

2. Culinary
I think part of the reason I didn't post was because I spent so much time in the freaking kitchen this week! This week, I've made: my own chicken tenders (success!), vanilla pudding from scratch (super success!), focaccia (sort of--it was premade pizza crust that I added other stuff to, but still, I tried!), the most amazing chocolate chip cookies (from this recipe), and candied oranges (modified from this recipe... jury is still out on these...) (side note: I've been reading Jenna's blog for ages, and I love it. Love love love what she does.) And, I've made dinner almost every night this week. I am really finding my groove in the kitchen, and I'm having an absolute blast doing it! Now, I just need more Duluthian friends to come over and eat this stuff!!

3. Warmer!
The temperatures FINALLY picked up this week! There were still some killer winds off the lake (especially Tuesday! I was shivering so much on my walk home--it felt worse than when I walked to the post office when it was below 0 last Friday!) but it was overall much nicer this week. I even saw 31 degrees on a downtown thermometer Friday! That's a 57 degree difference from the week before. All without breaking the freezing mark... the weather in this state is unreal. Maybe that's why Minnesotans talk about the weather so much. (Or, so I've heard from my Minnesotan friends. I talk about the weather all the time, too, so maybe I was born to be a Minnesotan!)

4. High (for me) Mileage!
I feel silly saying this, because I know some of you out there have run more miles in a single day than I put in during a whole week, but for this little runner, this was a pretty big week in terms of mileage. I had a chat via Facebook with Coach Mom about my training plan, and she said I still have a couple weeks to go before I start, but reminded me that I need to be running 4-5 times a week, 3-5 miles each time. This week, I put in 4 good runs (so far, I still have tomorrow!) and I'm at 18. Breakdown looks like this:

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: rest (crazy headaches... boo!)
Thursday: 4 miles (originally planned 3, but I felt good, so I kept going!) + some Bob Harper. That core thing is KILLER.
Friday: 5 miles
Saturday: little bit of Yoga
Week to date: 18 miles
Month to date: 36.9 miles

I'm getting there--2 days to get that number a bit higher!

So, that was my week! How was yours?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy Monday!

Today's run: 4 miles
Week to date: 4 miles (happy Monday!)
Month to date: 22.9 miles

Good Monday to you all! I hope everyone's week is getting off to a great start.
I was happy to see this morning that after a stretch of some insanely, bitterly cold weather, things are finally getting back to normal in the temperature department:
This means that it is finally at a point where I feel safe running outside again!

So, that being said, I headed outside! 
While I wouldn't go so far as to say it was super warm, it was nice to not instantly lose feeling in my face and extremities. I did, however, start to a bit on the way back. The wind was in my face, and my gloves got wet when I stopped to fix my shoes a few times, so that in turn made my hands cold. Overall, it was a good run.
In other news, I've decided to start something new here. It's no secret that Mondays can be kind of a downer at times, especially coming off a good weekend. With that thought in mind, I am going to start "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, any thing that I find bringing a smile to my face can be on this list.
So, here are a few things that are making me happy this Monday!

1. This kid:
He's put up with so much from me, especially over the last few weeks. I really don't know what I'd do without him. 
2. My pets in TC and my "pets" in Duluth.

The first two are my Duluth "pets"--Theodore the moose (he's named after Minnesota Wild goalie Jose Theodore. Yeah, I'm a hockey dork.) and Fatty the squirrel. We can't have real pets in our apartment, so these two are standing in for now. 
The other two are the TC pets--my sister's Shih-Tzu, Dave, and our Chesapeake Bay Retriever, Lester. I love and miss those two so much. I can't wait until May when I can snuggle with them again. (And yes, they're wearing neon earmuffs. It was Christmas morning, we were feeling goofy.)
3. College Hockey.

My team (the jersey represented on the left) had a great weekend! We're sitting at a good spot in our conference, and we have an exciting few weeks coming up going in to the playoffs! 
Sadly, for those who are fans of the team whose jersey is on the right, things aren't going so well. They broke a school record for a losing streak this past weekend (while playing Minnesota-Duluth, the local D-1 hockey school, actually.) I know they're our rivals, but it is making me sad seeing their fans so downhearted and/or angry. 
But... positives! My team did well, and we're heading in to one of my favorite times of the year soon!
Also, without #3 here, I wouldn't have #1, and that would just be too sad to think about. I'm glad my obsession with college hockey brought about something good and brought him in to my life.
Side note: without college hockey, I wouldn't know my friends over at Team Baby Dinosaur either, nor would they probably know each other. It really is a beautiful thing, folks.
4. This Fleece.
It's warm. It's soft. It's "sear your eyes out" neon pink. How would this not make a girl happy? It's probably my new favorite thing to wear while running because it's cute and functional by keeping me warm and easily visible!
5. Skype!
I've had it installed on my computer for a while, but I've only really started using it since we got to Minnesota. It has been great chatting "face to face" with family and friends and it makes them feel less far away. (It's also a great way to meet your neighbors, when you and your sister get too loud and they can hear you through the floor. Oops!)

Your turn! What are some things that are making you happy this Monday?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

In Other News...

So, yesterday's post was about what has happened in my life over the last month that I didn't post.
However, this is a running blog, and I didn't mention one darned thing about running during that entire post!

So, here is how THAT has been going lately:

I'm actually kind of pleased with how running went during our 2 1/2 week road trip. When we were in Wisconsin seeing the fiance's family, I made it out on two wonderful, long (for me) runs of 5.1 and 7.8 miles. OK, so it was pretty much back and forth on the road he lives on, but it worked well enough for me.
Going home to Michigan, I got some great runs in. I also got a few new toys:

YES! New shoes! (I needed those badly! They're the same type I had before [Asics Foundation], just different colors.) I love them, so much.
And, look--no more soup can weight workouts for me, because I have actual weights! Thanks, Assistant Coach Little Sister! The red ones are 3's, the red ones are 5's. She also got me a Yoga mat, which I badly needed, too.
So, even with taking days off because I was sick, on the road, or had other things going on, I still had an AWESOME December mileage total: 56.93 miles. That was my 3rd highest month in 2010, and my highest non-half-training month of the year! :D
January started off great, it really did. I got in a few good treadmill runs at home, including one at 6am the day we left to head up here, and one AWESOME one at the hotel on our apartment hunt. I got a nasty cold, though, right after that. So, between that and our one last Lake-Effect-Snowpocolypse before we left, that week dropped right off.
Once we got to Duluth, I re-met an old friend: fear of new things. It took me nearly a week to get the stones to go seek out a safe place to run and go for it. Not being familiar with this place at all, and it being SO much bigger than the 900 person village I'd been living in, I was completely terrified to go, and especially to go alone. I was doing Yoga, some Bob Harper videos, and skating to keep myself somewhat active, but I was getting frustrated. I knew I needed to run, but I was crippling myself with fear.
I finally got brave this past Monday, and I headed down to check out a trail I kept hearing about. It was great, actually--relatively clear considering the weather, right on the water, and varied enough to be interesting and a challenge at points. It's within walking distance of my apartment, too, so that's always nice.
Even with my new discovery and my fear conquered, I still wasn't able to get out as much as I wanted. This is why:

 Uh, yeah. It's cold here. (It barely broke 0 yesterday. I wish I was kidding.) Too cold for me to feel safe being outside for more than about 15 minutes, let alone the time it would take for me to do 3 miles or more. Money is SUPER tight right now, so a gym treadmill is sadly out of the question, so I've only ran twice this week. Again, I did a ton of Yoga and fitness videos, but it's just not the same. I know I need to be getting in the mileage to get ready to start training, and I know once training starts, I won't be able to slack off.  I'm either going to have to get brave and face the weather, or find a super cheap and/or free alternative option to run inside (maybe even doing laps at the nearby hockey rink, if they'll let me!)
So, that's where I'm at in terms of running and fitness of late. It looks like this nasty cold spell is going to break tomorrow, so next week I will hit the trail hard every chance I can to make up for my slacking.

All right, time to get off the computer and on with my day! Hope you all have a great one!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Turn and Face the Strange Ch-ch-changes...

Hello, everyone!

I realize it has been about a month or so since you've seen anything from me, and for that I apologize. To say that things have been crazy is pretty true, and a lot has changed in the last month.
First of all, Brandon and I spent 2 1/2 weeks on the road for the holidays. We split Christmas as best we could between his family in Central Wisconsin and mine in Northwest Lower Michigan. (We wound up driving 7 hours Christmas Eve night from his family's to mine, with him sick. Definitely a story we'll look back on and laugh.) From there, it was to Detroit for the Great Lakes Invitational to see his team play (and lose, twice. Ugh!) Then, back to my family's for New Year (which always has a theme, this time it was Neon New Year, which will explain the picture at the end of this post), and then we had to drive 11 hours to go apartment hunting.
Because, here's the first big change: Brandon got a job right out of school, so we have moved! As of 2 weeks ago, we live in Duluth, Minnesota.

It was not even 3 full days from when we got back from our Christmas adventure to when we officially moved, so our last few days as Yoopers were a crazy flurry of packing and tying up loose ends, all while getting at least 3 feet of snow dumped on us. I wish I was kidding--I wish I would have gotten a picture of us trying to clean off and dig out our cars to start packing them up, it was unreal.
Anyway, two days after we got here was the 2nd anniversary of our first date, the day we use as our default anniversary. Being that things were kinda tight and chaotic from having just relocated and all, our big celebration was making dinner at our apartment (and sitting at a table--a standing joke from when neither of us had real tables at our apartments, so for us to have dinner at a table in his apartment on our 1st anniversary was kind of a big deal) and going ice skating down in Canal Park.
He did have one surprise up his sleeve, though. After skating for about a half hour, I was ready to go. He decided to take one more lap while I headed back to the bench. As I'm untying my skates, I hear him come up, and he says "before we go..."
I look up, and he's down on one knee...
So, what I'm trying to say is the second big change is: we're engaged!
I can't even tell you how much I love this ring. It's a family heirloom--it belonged to both his grandmother and great-grandmother. It means so much more to me because it has history, and I keep catching myself staring at it.
So, here goes a new chapter of my life! Let the adventures begin!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm alive, I promise!


I just wanted to assure you that I am, indeed, alive (and those of you who are real life and/or twitter friends are well aware of this fact, for sure.)

I have a post coming that has a ton of big, fun, and super exciting news. :)

Stay tuned, and know that I haven't forgotten this or any of you!
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