Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Weekly Reads: The Assistants

I had heard a lot of buzz about Camille Perri's The Assistants, so I snagged the audiobook of it from my library. SO GOOD! Perfect summer time read, fast paced, with some great Devil Wears Prada undertones. Such an entertaining read.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city.

Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all.

When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer . . .

The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Weekly Reads: Modern Lovers

Modern Lovers is Emma Straub's newest book. I picked up the audiobook version of it, and it was a lot of fun. Lots of different characters and their entertwined relationships kept me on my toes.

My rating: 4 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

From the New York Times‒bestselling author of The Vacationers, a smart, highly entertaining novel about a tight-knit group of friends from college—their own kids now going to college—and what it means to finally grow up well after adulthood has set in.

Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Back in the band's heyday, Elizabeth put on a snarl over her Midwestern smile, Andrew let his unwashed hair grow past his chin, and Zoe was the lesbian all the straight women wanted to sleep with. Now nearing fifty, they all live within shouting distance in the same neighborhood deep in gentrified Brooklyn, and the trappings of the adult world seem to have arrived with ease. But the summer that their children reach maturity (and start sleeping together), the fabric of the adults' lives suddenly begins to unravel, and the secrets and revelations that are finally let loose—about themselves, and about the famous fourth band member who soared and fell without them—can never be reclaimed.

Straub packs wisdom and insight and humor together in a satisfying book about neighbors and nosiness, ambition and pleasure, the excitement of youth, the shock of middle age, and the fact that our passions—be they food, or friendship, or music—never go away, they just evolve and grow along with us.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Race Report: 605 Race Series 4 Mile

I woke up at 6am to eat some breakfast and head to town to do an early packet pick up and some warm up miles. I was really close to hitting 100 miles for the month of July so that helped me get there to do a couple of extra. I picked up my bib and headed out. It was so thick and muggy, and my head was completely full of mucus. Did that paint a vivid enough picture for you? Uff.

The warm up was a complete slog and I ended up only going 1.5 miles and being completely drenched. I did manage to get some monster snot rockets blown out during the warm up so I could breathe a little bit.

We all lined up for the race announcements and I was excited to see some of my runner friends. I found a couple of pals I thought I could try to stay with and/or keep in my sights based on our recent 5k race series times. 

We started out and I glanced down at my watch a couple minutes in to it to make sure I hadn't gone out too fast (as I tend to do, 7's? um... no thanks, not right now!) and was shocked that my labored pace was an 8:40. Uh... according to Mr. McMillan Running Calculator that should be pretty doable based on my 5k paces. Shoooooot. 

Mile 1 8:53

From there I decided just to run comfortably hard, and maybe my legs would loosen up and have some speed in them the second half of the race! (Spoiler alert: they did not have any speed or additional pep in the second half). I tried to just stay competitive in that I worked to catch people that were loosing steam in front of me.
Mile 2 9:15

At the turn around I glanced at my watch and saw 18:20, so my new goal was to finish around 36:40, as I knew I was fading and thought that might help me hunker down a bit. I leap frogged with a couple of gals during this stretch before one finally left me in her dust.

Mile 3 9:09

I tried to reel in a male and female that were in my sights during the final mile and tried to kick with .7 to go in the race. My mile split will tell you how slowly I must've been going for that first .3 miles. My legs just felt like lead.

Looking at my running form in the race pictures, I can totally tell why it felt like garbage. For some reason I've reverted back to my bad non-glute using running form. I like to refer to his as my sad panda form. Uff, my hamstrings ache just looking at it.

I finished the last .25 pretty strong, and even had a 7:20 something final kick.

Mile 4 9:08
.05 :21

My final time was 36:48 for a pace of 9:06. A PR. (auto PR, but whatevs)


Great start to a race series even if it was a last than fun race performance! That's a heckuva lot faster than I would've run on my own on Sunday in the humidity with a head cold!

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Weekly Reads: First Comes Love

I get really excited whenever Emily Giffin has a new book (uh.. except for the last one... DNF for this girl) because they're always great summertime reads. First Comes Love is a great one to have on hand during your next pool visit.

My rating: 3.5 stars
Summary from goodreads:

In this dazzling new novel, Emily Giffin, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Where We Belong, and The One & Only introduces a pair of sisters who find themselves at a crossroads.

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.

Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.

As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.

Emotionally honest and utterly enthralling, First Comes Love is a story about family, friendship, and the courage to follow your own heart—wherever that may lead.

Friday, July 29, 2016

605 Race Series #1 Goals

This Sunday I'll be running race number 1 in a three race series for the 605 Race Series. This weekend's race is a 4 mile, which is an auto-PR distance (whoop!). Since I've never ran a 4 mile race before, I'm not really sure what to shoot for time wise. I'm not running long this week, and it's the first cutback week I've had in over a month, so my legs are a bit tired.

Part of me thinks that maybe I can sustain my 5k pace from June's 5k series for a 4 mile, based on an increased fitness level. And then the other part of me remembers how hard the 4th of July 10k was. Blech.

My plan is to start sub 9 and hopefully knock out a nice progression run at an uncomfortably hard pace. Whatever that may be.

(Have I mentioned that I've already gotten in 3x as many races in 2016 as I did in 2015??) Wahoo!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

605 Summer Race Series

I love racing.

I hate racing.

These are two examples of absolutes in my life. I'm either firmly on one side of the spectrum or the other. Team: Run allllllllll the races or Team: No thanks, I'll save my $$$. I don't need to have an official clock tell me I'm slow.

2016 has brought a renewed sense of fun in racing. Wahoo! First up was the Sioux Falls Parks and Rec 3k/5k weekly series in June. Each Monday in June there was a free 3k/5k. I used it as my speedwork session of the week, having done zero speedwork since probably 2014. For real. I got a nice baseline time on week one, and then worked hard to improve upon that from week to week (race reports to come, I think).

Then 605 Running Co. announced their 605 Summer Race Series. Another low frills, low cost race series to lead runners right up to the Sioux Falls half marathon. The races are two weeks apart, starting at 4 miles, 8 miles, then 12 miles. I wasn't originally planning to sign up for the races but then I was able to work them in to my training a little better, I thought, why not? It's been a blast racing this summer, so why not do it some more.

I plan to race the 4 mile, the 8 mile I'll probably use as a tempo run..... 2 mile warm up, 6 at tempo. And then the 12 mile I'll use as a race pace scenario. Maybe 3-5 mile warm up, 5-7 at half goal pace, 1-2 at tempo or all out. Should be fun!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Weekly Reads: The Perfect Neighbors

I was really drawn to The Perfect Neighbors because we just moved to our first house this spring, and I thought it might be a fitting read. Plus I love anything that Sarah Pekkanen writes. Her books are always on the lighter side, but with a fun mystery lurking under the surface. This is a great one to pick up and read this summer.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Perfect Neighbors takes us into the homes of an idyllic suburban neighborhood where we discover the burning secrets hiding just below the surface.

Bucolic Newport Cove, where spontaneous block parties occur on balmy nights and all of the streets are named for flowers, is proud of its distinction of being named one the top twenty safest neighborhoods in the US.

It’s also one of the most secret-filled.

Kellie Scott has just returned to work after a decade of being a stay-at-home mom. She’s adjusting to high heels, scrambling to cook dinner for her family after a day at the office—and soaking in the dangerous attention of a very handsome, very married male colleague. Kellie’s neighbor Susan Barrett begins every day with fresh resolutions: she won’t eat any carbs. She’ll go to bed at a reasonable hour. And she’ll stop stalking her ex-husband and his new girlfriend. Gigi Kennedy seems to have it all together—except her teenage daughter has turned into a hostile stranger and her husband is running for Congress, which means her old skeletons are in danger of being brought into the light.

Then a new family moves to this quiet, tree-lined cul-de-sac. Tessa Campbell seems friendly enough to the other mothers, if a bit reserved. Then the neighbors notice that no one is ever invited to Tessa’s house. And soon, it becomes clear Tessa is hiding the biggest secret of all.