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?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Ninja SWAT Cat-Burglar Runner Girl!

Today's run: 4 miles
Week to date: 4 miles
Month to date: 19 miles

Hello, all!
Thankfully, a day of laying around watching Jersey Shore and drinking tea did the trick. I was eating normally again by dinnertime and woke up this morning feeling 100% better than I did yesterday!
And STARVING! My appetite is back with a vengeance. I knew I needed a good breakfast to refuel myself and get ready for a run, so I pushed back my starting time and devoured this crazy concoction:
2 waffles, smeared with PB, topped with sliced banana and drizzled with honey. I slapped them together in to a sandwich and devoured it. Deee-licious.
I also wanted to wait just a bit before heading out, because this is what I faced this morning:
Just another day in paradise, eh?
So, I waited... but I was being tortured by this view. Who wouldn't want to be out in this sunshine?

So, I went and ran anyway, and I layered up BIG time! The final list included:
-Moisture wicking t-shirt
-long-sleeve shirt
-2 fleeces
-2 pairs of tights
-thick pink socks
-2 pairs of gloves
-down vest
and, the newest toy in my arsenal, a neoprene face mask.

As people said on Facebook, I looked like a ninja, cat-burglar, or SWAT team member!
But, I was warm, and that's the important thing. In fact, I daresay I was too warm at points. The face mask is a great addition, but I had big time condensation going on! My face was wet the entire run, and it gathered and froze on my eyelashes! Sadly, even with my refueling attempts, I still felt very flat and blah during my 4 miles, but I got a bit mental rush from realizing it was below zero and I was out running. One more Up-North-Runner merit badge for me!
So, my missed day yesterday means I need to reconnoiter my training plan for this week. The original plan was 4 Monday, 6 Tuesday, cross Wednesday, 4 Thursday, and then move the 6 scheduled for Saturday to Friday so I wouldn't have to worry about trying to run while I'm out of town this weekend. But, now with yesterday missed and my YMCA orientation on Thursday, I moved the 4 to today (I thought that was safer after being sick), 6 to tomorrow, cross to Thursday, and kept that second 6 on Friday. I'll bring stuff for running with me on the trip--if it happens, it happens. If not, then I only lose 4 miles on the week, which is not life or death at this point. This plan was made to be flexible, and thank goodness for that!
Have any of you been through the YMCA orientation? What should I expect?
Also, I'm pretty excited about the classes they offer, and I'm looking for suggestions for fun cross-training activities. What is your favorite cross-training? Any class suggestions?
Did you enter the Hungry Runner Girl's Giveaway?  Because you should. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Feeling Rough... but Happy Monday!

Hi, everybody!

Well, the good news is that I hit 23.4 miles for last week! That is officially my biggest week ever.
I capped it off with a 6 miler on Saturday morning. The run itself was pretty unmemorable, but I did learn a valuable lesson: when it's 32 degrees and drizzling, the boardwalk part of the Duluth Lakewalk is slippery. I learned that the hard way when I slipped on it and fell 3 miles in. :( I came down on my knee, but it's actually my back that was really hurting after the fact. This little guy was my friend the rest of the day:
I'm doing OK in that regard right now, thank goodness.
But, I'm feeling a bit rough this morning. We spent Superbowl Sunday at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I let myself indulge a bit because I LOVE BWW. I'll spare the details, but let's just say I either overdid it or had something my stomach didn't want.
So, instead of running, this is how I'm spending my day thus far:

PJ's, Ginger Tea, and Jersey Shore.  I feel really bad not running, I even called home to see if I was doing the right thing, and she told me I was. It's early enough in training that it's OK.
But, I"m still gonna do a Happy Monday, if nothing else to cheer myself up!

 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!
1. This picture
My future husband, ladies and gentlemen. Superbowl Sunday, wearing a Packers shirt, and eating cheese. The man is 100% Wisconsin, and it cracks me up.
(For the record, I have never seen him as happy as he was at the end of the game last night, nor will I ever probably see him that happy again. It was unreal.)

2. The Puppy Bowl

Hours and hours of adorable? How can that not make you happy beyond belief? 
These two were my favorites--CB the Beagle/Shih-Tzu mix, and Chih the Shih-Tzu (who reminds me of my "nephew", Dave). It didn't help my puppy fever, that's for sure. Why oh why do we have to live in another building that doesn't allow pets? :(

Short list today on my end--what's making you all happy this Monday?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Scary Mornings and Boxes of Love

Today's run: 4 miles
Week to date: 17 miles
Month to date: 9 miles (pleh... I really dislike it when the new month starts in the middle of the week!)

So, yesterday was kind of a strange day. I wasn't planning on running anyway, but even if I had, I don't know if I would have made it out. See, my morning was spent glued to the computer, constantly refreshing the Facebook page for the local station back in Marquette. The long and short of it is that there was a threat to the University found on a website, and someone called campus to warn them of what they saw. Here's the link to one of the articles talking about it (it even made CNN, you never see anything about the Upper Peninsula on there!) Scary stuff, but things are OK now. They reopened campus today after making 110% sure that everyone would be safe and they were sure the threat had passed.
All I have to say is that I'm very proud of how my alma mater and the surrounding community handled everything, and I am especially proud of all the students today who held their heads high, sported the school colors, and went back to class and on with their lives. It's always a great day to be a Wildcat!
I even hung my flag back up for the first time since Brandon and I moved in together.
I thought about running in my hockey jersey today, but in the end I decided not to, I just layered on as many green, gold, or NMU related items as I could. (And the All-Star toque, just because.)
In other news, early yesterday afternoon I got a big box of love from home! After spending the morning freaked out, it felt amazing to feel the love:
Look at all the goodness here! Coach Mom is the GREATEST! New shirts, Valentines' Day goodies, munchies (including my favorite cereal, Quaker Oatmeal Squares, and a bunch of Larabars!), and my TRAINING PLAN!!
The plan Coach Mom wrote for me looks amazing. It's nice this time to have a more concrete plan to follow (even if winging it was fun), and I'm really excited that it's finally training time! I had so much fun last time around, I hope it's the same way this time! And, with this, I'll do my longest run ever (14 miles) and my biggest week mileage wise ever (30 miles, the first week of May.) Looking at the calendar I was given, though, I'm already in week 1. But after a panicked phone call home, I was told not to worry about it, and I'm going to finish what I had planned for this week and jump in at week 2 on Monday.

Fortunately, my plan for this week and what I have written on my training plan for this week match fairly well. I had a 4 miler planned for myself today, and that's what Coach Mom wrote, too, and same with the 6 miler on Saturday. The only difference is that I don't have a run written on the plan for tomorrow, and I was planning on doing another 5.

Have you ever had Larabars? Which one is your favorite?
I'm a fan of the Cherry Pie one, myself. I had the Banana Bread one yesterday and it was awesome, too!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome February!

Today's run: 5 miles
Week to date: 13.4 miles
Month to date: 5 miles
Happy February, everybody!
I can't lie, I'm very happy to turn the page on the calendar today. For some reason, it always feels good to leave January behind and move in to this month. Perhaps it's because it's one month closer to spring? Who knows, but even though January was a good if not completely crazy month for me, I'm ready for the adventures February will bring!
For everyone dealing the the Snowmageddon/Snowpocalypse/SnOwMG storm rolling through the country, I'd like to show you what I have going on outside today:
And the people of the Northland rejoice--"For once, it's not us!!"
To be fair, though, this is what I saw when I started to get ready to run this morning:
I knew I had to get out today. No excuses. Besides, Coach Mom gave me this advice just after the last cold snap:
running outside in the extreme cold is okay if you dress correctly....many many just isn't much fun!

That in mind, I just decided to wait until I saw a positive air temp. Baby steps, all, baby steps.
This won for "Good enough" after I checked the weather every 4 minutes for the next hour:
I remembered Coach Mom's sage advice about layers, and I picked some fun ones for the usual wardrobe pick me up. Bundle up!

(Yup--you can take the girl out of Michigan, but you can't take Michigan out of the girl!!) No worries, I wore far more than this, but I loved the combination of these two. How can you not feel like a total champ sporting the winged wheel and the famous All-Star toque?
I walked to my new starting point and did a slooooooow 5 miler. I had originally planned 4, but I went in to lala land while running, and when I snapped out of it I was practically at the turn around for 5. Whooops! It's a good start to February though, eh?
I had a moment of divine intervention (or at least I hope...) on the way home. I knew we had no dessert type options left in the apartment, and with the path I'm on lately that's unacceptable. I carried $1.00 in change planning on snagging some M&M's from the skywalk vending machine.
Ready for this: the M&M's were $1.50! Whhhaaaaa?? I didn't feel like turning around to head back to the Snyders down the street, so I opted out of my candy fix. Hopefully, this is some kind of divine move telling me that I will come across something better than vending machine candy... if not I'm going to be a sad lady.

Any fun plans for your February?
I start training for my next half on the 7th, and next weekend the fiance and I are headed back to Houghton for Michigan Tech's Winter Carnival! It's something hard to explain, so check out the link!

Have a great day!
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