Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Weekly Reads: The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo

I listened to Amy Schumer's The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo on audiobook. I had just started listening to it on a trip down to visit my mom. Two days later she passed away. I spent a lot of time in my car driving back and forth to spend time with my dad and then come home over that next week. And every time I got in my car, Amy was there to cheer me up. I laughed out loud, teared up, and it was so good. She did not disappoint.

My rating: 5 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

In The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo, Amy mines her past for stories about her teenage years, her family, relationships, and sex and shares the experiences that have shaped who she is - a woman with the courage to bare her soul to stand up for what she believes in, all while making us laugh.

Ranging from the raucous to the romantic, the heartfelt to the harrowing, this highly entertaining and universally appealing collection is the literary equivalent of a night out with your best friends - an unforgettable and fun adventure that you wish could last forever. Whether she's experiencing lust-at-first-sight while in the airport security line, sharing her own views on love and marriage, admitting to being an introvert, or discovering her cross-fit instructor's secret bad habit, Amy Schumer proves to be a bighearted, brave, and thoughtful storyteller that will leave you nodding your head in recognition, laughing out loud, and sobbing uncontrollably - but only because it's over.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Spring Race Plan

A few weeks ago, I had the insane idea that I would run a half marathon every month in 2017. After spending an entire Sunday plotting, pricing, and spread sheeting the hell out of the idea, I thought about my goals for 2017. In 2017, I'd really like to get faster. I looked at running a race every month in 2017... would that really help with my goal of getting faster? Maybe, maybe not. By spending money to travel for races during not great racing months (February, July, August) I was taking away from being able to double up on some months where it is beautiful to race around here--April, May, October.

I decided to scrap the plan for now, but I will do it someday when I have more of a focus on quantity over quality (and perhaps when my bank account has a lot more $$$ in it so I can travel to some really great locations!).

My plan for the spring is to travel to Dallas in January to see my family and Dominique. In March, I'll travel to San Antonio with Kyle for a work trip (that conveniently falls on the weekend of the Alamo 13.1!), and then my goal race for the spring will be the Brookings Half.

I recently learned that Pete Pfitzinger has a new book specifically for 5ks-half marathons, Faster Road Racing: 5K to Half Marathon. I have had a love affair with his book for marathoners, Advanced Marathoning, and ran my 10k and half marathon PRs during tune up races while training for a full on his plan in 2011.

This go around, I'm working through a 10 week base building program that will get me from my current mileage to 30 miles a week. I do have to modify it a bit, because during that first 10 weeks I'll be running the half in Dallas. More or less as a fun run slash reason to keep running during December/January when it is so much easier to stop running here!

The 12 week program will peak at 47 miles (eeps!) and has great progression through the different stages of training, similar to Advanced Marathoning. I'm also planning to continue with my weekly Sanford POWER sessions if they continue to offer them on a night or early morning that works with my schedule! Fingers crossed. 2017 might be a speedy year! Wait and see.

(yes I 100% asked for this new book for Christmas from my MIL. Danielle sent me the marathon one years ago on our mutual request to be speedy... spoiler, I never did, she REALLY did!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Weekly Reads: Scrappy Little Nobody

As soon as I heard that Anna Kendrick was writing a book, Scrappy Little Nobody, I put in a request to my library for the book and the audiobook. I need them BOTH. Once the items were added to our library, I realized that I didn't get added to the list for the audiobook. Insert sad face here. I got the book copy and flew through it. I feel like I would be besties with her. If given the option, I would've much preferred to listen to it, but that's how the cookie crumbles.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

A collection of humorous autobiographical essays by the Academy Award-nominated actress and star of Up in the Air and Pitch Perfect.

Even before she made a name for herself on the silver screen starring in films like Pitch Perfect, Up in the Air, Twilight, and Into the Woods, Anna Kendrick was unusually small, weird, and “10 percent defiant.”

At the ripe age of thirteen, she had already resolved to “keep the crazy inside my head where it belonged. Forever. But here’s the thing about crazy: It. Wants. Out.” In Scrappy Little Nobody, she invites readers inside her brain, sharing extraordinary and charmingly ordinary stories with candor and winningly wry observations.

With her razor-sharp wit, Anna recounts the absurdities she’s experienced on her way to and from the heart of pop culture as only she can—from her unusual path to the performing arts (Vanilla Ice and baggy neon pants may have played a role) to her double life as a middle-school student who also starred on Broadway to her initial “dating experiments” (including only liking boys who didn’t like her back) to reviewing a binder full of butt doubles to her struggle to live like an adult woman instead of a perpetual “man-child.”

Enter Anna’s world and follow her rise from “scrappy little nobody” to somebody who dazzles on the stage, the screen, and now the page—with an electric, singular voice, at once familiar and surprising, sharp and sweet, funny and serious (well, not that serious).

Monday, December 19, 2016

Fall Parks and Rec 5k Series

The Monday after the Sioux Falls half, the fall 5k series started up again. My legs were shot from the half so I took the first night off. But I was there and ready to roll for the next week.

It was also my first race with my purple elephant tattoo for my mama. <3

September 19
2 mile warm up

1. 8:34
2. 8:54
3. 7:44 (8:42 pace)
2.89 25:13 8:44 pace
180 avg HR, 183 max HR
3rd place female

Kyle was nice enough to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary the night before so I could attend. Oops. Haha. It was more than worth it, imo, as I posted one of my best 5k paces in years. Actual years! Super consistent splits and an even faster last mile. Wahoo!

September 26
2 mile warm up

1. 8:29
2. 8:29
3. 8:23
.03 :11 (7:08 pace)
3.03 25:35 8:27 pace
169 avg HR, 177 max HR
 3rd place female

The following week I posted a faster time, but we ran the opposite direction, and I knew it was a shorter course. I just didn't have as much fight in me as the previous week. My heart rate data shows just how hard I wasn't working. Ooops.

October 3

1.  8:38
2. 8:41
3. 7:42 (8:47 pace)
2.88 25:03 8:42 pace
160 avg HR, 172 max HR
1st place female


The final week I went in with one goal, to post my best time of the fall for the 5k. Beat 25:35. I slacked a bit in the second mile, and then really dug deep in the third mile. 8:22!!! And then I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch, and my time was identical to two weeks ago. 25:35. I couldn't have done that if someone had offered me a million dollars to do it. Oh well. :)

October 10

2 mile warm up

1. 8:31
2. 8:36
3. 8:22
.02 :05 5:03 pace
3.02 25:35 8:29 pace
162 avg HR, 171 max HR
2nd place female

Friday, December 16, 2016


Back in October, we had Ollie's favorite holiday: Pugoween. This year, I wanted her to be Pughetti. I picked up some fabric, yarn, giant styrofoam balls, and brown spray paint. Kyle contributed two nights before by spray painting Ollie's meat balls.

The night before Pugoween I set about constructing her costuming. Essentially just hot gluing everything to the fabric. It took maybe ten minutes to make. That's a far cry from the hours my mom has spent in previous years of constructing her costumes. Sorry mom!

I found one of her smaller sweaters and attached the fabric to it with safety pins. She tried it on and looked amazing. We fell asleep with Pugoween costume championships dancing in our heads.

For anyone that questions whether Ollie has fun dressing up or not, I present to you Exhibit A. All the smiles, on the tail wagging. All the cute. She tied for first place. So our streak continues!

This picture just cracks me up. A hot dog sniffing the butt of spaghetti.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Shopping List for your Runner

If you asked Kyle, he would tell you that I have every piece of running gear I could possible need. Being a runner for the past eleven years, he's probably 95% right. I see posts every year for a gift guide for your runner, but this one will be slightly different. This is a gift guide for the runner who already has everything! Most of the links in this post are amazon affiliate links. So if you buy something I get a few pennies off of it. Definitely check your local running store for any of these suggestions to help support your local businesses. Check out 605 Running Co. if you're in South Dakota!

Chances are, your runner has a favorite type of shoe they've ran in for years. Check the brand, type, size and you're well on your way to helping them stockpile shoes in their closet like they're their own shoe store (#goalz). I've been wearing Mizuno Wave Riders pretty religiously for the past 4-5 years, so I have several pairs (that are half OFF on Amazon!) on my list. I always stock up on the previous year's shoe model when the new one comes out to get the best possible deals!

Winter Gear
Unless you live somewhere nice and warm, winter gear is a necessity. I've taken the last couple of years off from running, so I'm in desperate need of a nice running coat. My old ones are teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy, and in order for me to be teeny tiny itsy bitsy again, I need to run through the winter, hence needing a new coat. Bonus points for bright colors, warmth, wind breaking material, and reflective elements.

Night-time Running Gear
Speaking of reflective elements, it's been brought to my attention that perhaps I haven't always been the safest runner. I'm in an awesome group of female runners, and they are always so great about sharing tips for staying safe on the run. My idea of safety is letting Kyle know when and where I'm going running (usually). Everyone else shows up to group runs in full on reflective clothes, headlamps, blinking lights, EVERYTHING. So obviously I need those items as well! At the very least, I'd love a lightweight reflective vest to throw over whatever I'm wearing to run at night, and a handheld light.

Running Books
It should come as no surprise that I love running books. I have read so many training books and tried to absorb as much as I could. Here are a few of my favorites:

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Weekly Reads: Holding Up the Universe

Holding Up the Universeis the newest book by Jennifer Niven. I loved her previous book so I was excited to dive in. This was the second or third book I've read about facial blindness, but had never even heard of it prior to the first book I read two years ago. Is this the new *it* teen plot point? I liked the duel perspective and enjoyed how the story wrapped up.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

Everyone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

Friday, December 9, 2016

November in Review + Goals

November in Review

Total Miles: 55.8 down from 98.2 last month.  Up ZERO from  last November.

Total Time:  10:25:35 down from 17:30:20 last month. 

Total Runs: 12 for an average of 4.65 miles/run.

Highest weekly mileage: November 21-28 18.3 miles

Favorite run: Six mile "long" run with some newer runners from 605 Running Co. I got to run with someone on her longest run EVER. Too fun.

Most hardcore run: Eight mile long run in a whole lot of cold when my body felt like garbage.

Favorite race: Yet again, I slept in and skipped the Thanksgiving Day Run for Food. Maybe 2017?

Bike Miles: 0

Favorite Jam: Panic at the Disco's Hallelujah and Miss Jackson. On repeat, non-stop. This, still.

November goals:
  • Group runs with friends, new and old--YES! Didn't miss a Wednesday group run and met up for long runs two of the weekends.
  • 100 miles--Nope. My legs took a little longer to recover from the half than I wanted them too. And I got sick and had a tiny back ouchy. #alltheexcuses
  • Daily water consumption!--Getting a lot better at this. If I could just kick my morning latte, I'd be a water champ again.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Yoga for Runners

For the past year and a half, on Wednesday evenings, I can be found teaching an hour long yoga class at a local running store. Most of the participants are runners in need of an extra stretch, but some yogis are there just for the yoga and are thankful that the store has a free class for them to enjoy.

This class alternates from a vinyasa flow (think breath to movement, faster paced), to a yin class (long slightly uncomfortable stretches, probably the BEST yoga for runners imo), and some restorative (truly relaxed, supported, magical unicorn yoga) thrown in for good measure. In the past 18 months I have seen my students progress so much in their practice, and some more injury prone runners have stayed injury free as well. Surely that's not all yoga's doing, but it certainly helps.

My favorite poses for runners:
  • Pigeon.  We do pigeon every single class. Holding for 1-3 minutes on each side depending on how much time we have left. Magic. Happy, happy hips.
  • Malasana. Roll up your mat to slip under your heels to bring the floor closer to your feet. 
  • Seated forward fold. Runners tend to have tighter hamstrings. I love the variation to start with knees bent, wrap your arms under your knees and hug your chest to your thighs. If you have tighter hamstrings, always feel welcome to have a bend in your knees any time you're doing any sort of hamstring stretch.
  • Plank. I hurt my shoulder many many months ago, and have been living a chaturanga free existence since then. Many of my students are newer yogis, so I've been throwing chaturangas out the window completely. Holding plank. Engaging lower body. So strong.
  • Navasana/Boat Pose. Best core pose for runners imo. Core+psoas work, so very necessary.
What are your favorite yoga poses to counter balance your running?

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Tuesday Date Night Sanford POWER

This November, I've started a new addition to my training schedule: Tuesday night dates with Sanford POWER. Myself and about 20 other women runners in the area meet for an hour and are taken through runner-specific drills and lifts to help with injury prevention and increase running efficiency and form. 

It's SO MUCH FUN! The first night I was so incredibly nervous, but by the time the hour was up, I felt like an athlete again leaving practice for the night. Shocking fact: you can't push yourself as hard as someone else can push you. The trainers are all incredibly knowledgeable and do a great job of demoing the moves and explaining what they'll help with.

I had to coerce co-workers into swapping many many evenings with me so that I could make this work into my training schedule, and I'm so thankful that they were flexible so I could have this opportunity! I'm excited to see how it helps my running this spring.