Thursday, October 30, 2014

November Goals

November Goals
  • Group run once/week
  • 1 hard fitness class/week
  • 1 restorative yoga class/week
  • Strong 6 mile race on Turkey Day
  • Win NaNoWriMo!

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Weekly Reads: Driving With the Top Down

Driving with the Top Down is the most recent book from Beth Harbison. Her books always go on a must-read list for me. They're good chick lit, summertime reads. Last summer's book was just so-so in my opinion, but this one knocked it out of the park! I like light reads with romantic elements, but I like them to still have some good oomph and substance if that makes sense. So picky, I know! I flew through this one and genuinely cared about each of the characters. Definitely check it out.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Three women, two weeks, one convertible: sometimes life doesn't take you in the direction you expect...

Colleen Bradley is married with a teenage son, a modest business repurposing and reselling antiques, and longtime fear that she was not her husband’s first choice. When she decides to take a road trip down the east coast to check out antique auctions for her business, she also has a secret ulterior motive. Her one-woman mission for peace of mind is thrown slightly off course when sixteen year old Tamara becomes her co-pilot. The daughter of Colleen’s brother-in-law, Tamara is aware that when people see her as a screw-up, but she knows in her heart that she’s so much more. She just wishes her father could see it, too. 

The already bumpy trip takes another unexpected turn when they stop at the diner that served as Colleen’s college hangout and run into her old friend, Bitty Nolan Camalier. Clearly distressed, Bitty gives them a story full of holes: angry with her husband, she took off on her own, only to have her car stolen. Both Colleen and Tamara sense that there’s more that Bitty isn’t sharing, but Colleen offers to give Bitty a ride to Florida.

So one becomes two becomes three as Colleen, Tamara, and Bitty make their way together down the coast. It’s a road trip fraught with tension as Tamara’s poor choices come back to haunt her and Bitty’s secrets reach a boiling point. With no one to turn to but each other, these three women might just discover that you can get lost in life but somehow, true friends provide a roadmap to finding what you’re really looking for.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Marathon Recovery

After the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon, I gave myself two weeks of recovery.

Day 1 (Sunday) was full recovery, minus walking down the dock (OMG SO MANY STAIRS!) to take pictures of the sunrise. And then sitting in a car for a trillion hours driving home.

Day 2 (Monday) was another full recovery day of doing nothing other than snuggling with the pug. I did make the trek downtown to pick up celebratory sushi and sign up for the 605 Running Co. group! I had to park really far away from the running store, so I got in at least 4 blocks of walking.

Day 3 (Tuesday) was another recovery day back at work. I had two storytimes in the morning, so I got in lots of stretching/dancing with the kiddos. I did sit out of the crowd favorite jumping and counting for my knees' sake.

Day 4 (Wednesday) I finally went out for my first run after a foam rolling session. I did 2.7 miles of slow jogging with walk and stretch breaks. My knees were super stiff and painful to start, but warmed up after about a half mile of jogging. My legs felt insanely heavy.

Day 5 (Thursday) I picked up a Burlesque workout video from the library and did that for 45 minutes. It was laughable. Somewhat fun, but for the most part I felt like a fool.

Day 6 (Friday) I attended a 60 minute hot vinyasa at a nearby studio.

Day 7 (Saturday), Day 8 (Sunday), Day 9 (Monday) were all rest days. My allergies and sinuses finally caught up with me. I went to work on Saturday and went to sleep within 20 minutes of coming home. And slept for 12 hours. And repeat after work Sunday. Uff.

Day 10 (Tuesday) was another 3 mile day. My legs felt dramatically better. My knee (L) was stiff for the first couple of minutes.

Day 11 (Wednesday) I spent 60 minutes with a smile on my face in restorative yoga. By far my favorite way to spend an hour of the day.

Day 12 (Thursday), Day 13 (Friday), Day 14 (Saturday) were all rest days apparently. I had an emergency "Help me find a dress to wear for my wedding reception party!!" on Thursday, Friday Kyle and I actually went out with friends, and Saturday I felt the effects of Friday night out with friends and then had the aforementioned wedding reception party. Woof.

Day 15 (Sunday) I finally convinced myself to go to yoga sculpt. And it almost killed me. I'm sore in places I didn't know existed. Holy moly.

After yoga sculpt, I stayed around for the restorative class I'm obsessed with. Except when you destroy every muscle in your body from sculpt, restorative is anything but easy and/or recovery. Uff.


This was the gorgeous sunset as I left the studio. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Thoughts on the Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon

I had so much I wanted to add to my Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon race report, but I didn't want to make it a trillion and a half pages long. I decided to make a reflection post, more for myself, but also with some information for people considering doing this race in the future!

The course was gorgeous. It was not flat as advertised, and definitely had rollers for the majority of the race. Because 13 miles of the race were around the lake, a windy day makes a significant portion of the race unbearable. I had thought we'd get to run on a path in view of the lake, but we really didn't get to see the lake all that much. It was still gorgeous running through the trees and fall foliage.

The course wasn't as spectator friendly as I was hoping/expecting either. It was actually fairly difficult to spectate. My mom was around mile 4, but from there until 13.1 there wasn't much of an opportunity to drive along and cheer. After the halfway mark, there were no spectators until around mile 17. From 17 to the finish, spectators could drive along side you on the race route and leap frog cheering on their runners.

It was a really small race, but on a day that I s-t-ruggled, I didn't appreciate that. At least when I was dying at the Nike Women's Marathon, I had tons of people dying along side of me to keep me company. There was an entire hour of the race that I didn't see anyone except the race volunteers. For faster runners, this wouldn't be an issue at all.

In all honestly, I should've dropped to the 16 mile race or dropped completely after my knee/back/hip issues cropped up in September (the half was full at the time I was considering, otherwise that would've been perfect). I'm glad I tried so I wouldn't wonder "what if" but a marathon is hard when your training goes AMAZING. When you essentially taper for 6+ weeks, it's really really hard. Had Kyle, his parents, and my mom not planned to make the trip, I would've eaten my race fee and stayed home. But I was really really excited to have them there for it.

Sometimes I wonder if my body is meant to run marathons, given my poor performance history with them. Maybe 2015 will be spent focusing solely on building up speed, fitness, and fixing/strengthening my body to better handle the miles. I'm certainly not throwing in the towel on them, but it is certainly frustrating to think I'm on the right track with fixing my issues, only to have the same outcome.

P.S. FREE race photos! Total plus!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Aramco Houston Half Marathon Training

For the Houston Half Marathon, I've decided to do a 12 week training plan. I wanted to give myself enough time to recover from the Bemidji Marathon, but not soooooo much time that I no longer had a desire to run. I turn from motivated running beast to couch potato sloth in no time at all.

I decided to take two full weeks off from running to recover, running only when I needed some endorphins that only running can give you. And only for a few miles at a time. Instead during this period I wanted to add in yoga and strength training.

For the training cycle I plan to focus on more quality miles over quantity. I'd like to keep the strength training and yoga mixed in to the bunch as well as speed work, tempos and long runs. Since running 10-15 miles each weekend is super boring, I've swapped out some of the long runs for a tempo run, giving me two speed sessions in one week, but far enough apart during the week that my body shouldn't hate me, too badly.

This flexibility will also help me through start of winter. In the event of a blizzard/ice storm/major cold front, I can hack a 6-8 mile run with mileage at tempo pace, but I cannot hack a 12-15 mile long run.

What are you favorite workouts to do while training for a half? I'm looking for some pep to add to my routine!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

NaNoWriMo Take 2

This year will be my second shot at NaNoWriMo. For those of you unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and writers all over the world log tons of hours during the month of November to "win" the task by completing a 50,000 word novel.

Last year I attempted and failed. I wrote a fanfiction novel rekindling Eleanor and Park's (of Rainbow Rowell fame) relationship 20+ years in the future. I started off with a bang, and as I plugged away at the novel I realized that my idea was more of a novella than a novel. Novella:
a fictional prose narrative that is longer and more complex than a short story; a short novel.

I had written almost 11,000 words and realized if I ended it where I wanted to, I would only get about halfway to my word count. To stretch it to 50k words, I'd have to add a bunch of fluff to bulk it up. I chose to do neither, and went back to my towering pile of books to read that I had neglected for half the month.

But *this* year will be different!

I'm doing some NaNoWriMo events at my library to help other NaNo'ers, myself included, in succeeding in their goal. The first of which was a workshop the beginning of October led by my friend, and successful published author and numerous time NaNo winner, Lacey. I went in to the workshop hoping for inspiration and enlightenment, and I left with both.

I also left with a magical unicorn fusing of two ideas I had been tossing around in my head over the last year!!!

So with this magical unicorn idea, I'm planning to work my booty off to hit my word count. And maybe I'll even share some snippets after all is said and done.

Who's with me??? I'm jerilee40 on the site if you want to friend me so we can NaNo together!!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Weekly Reads: Like No Other

Like No Other has been described as this year's Eleanor and Park, so of course I had to read it. It was told in a dual perspective and I really enjoyed learning more about Jaxon and Devorah, and especially Devorah's Hasidic upbringing.

The story didn't end as I was expecting, and that almost made me like it even more. Definitely worth a read, but E&P it's not.

My rating: 4 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

Fate brought them together. Will life tear them apart? 

Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing. 

Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters). 

They've spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did. 

When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. 

Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up? 

In the timeless tradition of West Side Story and Crossing Delancey, this thoroughly modern take on romance will inspire laughter, tears, and the belief that love can happen when and where you least expect it.