Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Half Marathon a Month 2017?

During a long leisurely walk this past weekend, I started thinking of my race plan for 2017. Somewhere in the middle of that thought process I had the idea of a half marathon every month in 2017. Would that be insane? I asked myself. No slash maybe. Would that be expensive? I then asked myself... uh... probably. Definitely.

I already have half marathons planned for January, March, May, June, September and October. There would be a local-ish race in April I could add, as well as some Ortho race$$$ in the Twin Cities for July and August. Which would cause me to travel for November and December. Dallas half in December is always a good excuse to head down south to see the family. If Milwaukee stays in November, I'm already planning to head out there to see Renee and my other lovely Wisconsin runner friends.

Hmmmm......

Anyone want to sponsor a Jerbear to make this goal possible?!! [insert cry/laughing emoji here please]

But seriously if you have a local race in one of my "off" months and flights are magically cheap from Sioux Falls, I'll be planning to stay on your couch or spare bedroom. Thaaaaanks!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Weekly Reads: Love Warrior



I don't usually pick up Oprah's Book Club picks, mostly because once they are announced, the hold list at the library is a million people long. But one of the book podcasts I follow was talking about this Love Warrior and it sounded interesting to me. I put myself on the monsterously long hold list. And then one evening I was looking at our digital audiobook library and saw it was in, no holds! I noticed the author narrated the book, and was a little nervous about that, but she's lovely to listen to.

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her speak about her life and her struggles. When her and her husband were dealing with their marital issues, it was hard to listen to. I'm sure it would've been hard to read, because that sort of honest portrayal of real relationship issues is difficult. That was the one point I wished I had been reading a print copy instead of listening.

My review: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:

The highly anticipated new memoir by bestselling author Glennon Doyle Melton tells the story of her journey of self-discovery after the implosion of her marriage.

Just when Glennon Doyle Melton was beginning to feel she had it all figured out—three happy children, a doting spouse, and a writing career so successful that her first book catapulted to the top of the New York Times bestseller list—her husband revealed his infidelity and she was forced to realize that nothing was as it seemed. A recovering alcoholic and bulimic, Glennon found that rock bottom was a familiar place. In the midst of crisis, she knew to hold on to what she discovered in recovery: that her deepest pain has always held within it an invitation to a richer life.

Love Warrior is the story of one marriage, but it is also the story of the healing that is possible for any of us when we refuse to settle for good enough and begin to face pain and love head-on. This astonishing memoir reveals how our ideals of masculinity and femininity can make it impossible for a man and a woman to truly know one another - and it captures the beauty that unfolds when one couple commits to unlearning everything they’ve been taught so that they can finally, after thirteen years of marriage, fall in love.

Love Warrior is a gorgeous and inspiring account of how we are born to be warriors: strong, powerful, and brave; able to confront the pain and claim the love that exists for us all. This chronicle of a beautiful, brutal journey speaks to anyone who yearns for deeper, truer relationships and a more abundant, authentic life.

Monday, November 28, 2016

My Next Goal Race

I have been itching to get on a plane going anywhere. A couple of months ago, I had the crazy idea that I should go down to Dallas for the Dallas Marathon, take my dad along with me so he could see the family, and I could have a race weekend, see my fam and spend some much needed time with Dom! I'd priced out flights and was all ready to go, until I realized that the Dallas half registration fee was $130 this late in the game. Uh... what?! That's almost $10 per mile. Pass.

I put the idea out of my mind until I thought of the Cowtown Marathon, knowing that was one that Dominique had done previously, and it fell on the weekend before my nephew's birthday! But then I realized that race was ALSO over $100 for registration. WTF Texas. I guess everything really is bigger in texas, including race fees. Give me my $35 South Dakota half marathons any day I guess!

I accepted defeat on my southern race plans until I was bored one day and started looking through more halfs in the Dallas area. And that's when I found the Too Cold to Hold half the end of January. The flight was really reasonable, and when I approached my dad with the idea, he didn't completely turn me down. Wahoo! And the coolest part is that a good portion of the race is on White Rock Lake which is walking distance from my brother and family. Instant spectators!

Having a race in the middle of winter really helps my running motivation in the cold. Bonus points for a weekend getaway, and time with friends and family!

My fastest half in Dallas (09).
My slowest half in Dallas (12).


Friday, November 25, 2016

Green Chef

Shortly after Kyle and I moved into our new house, I started trying some food delivery boxes. Blue Apron is the subscription box that everyone has heard of, and probably tried, but honestly I wasn't that blown away by the options.

I received a free week of Green Chef and was instantly excited that they had options for omnivore, vegetarian, carnivore, vegan, paleo, and gluten free (and varying pricing for the different dietary options). Thus far, I've only ordered the vegetarian meals because I don't really like meat, and I hate having to cook it (aka touch it. eew.). I love trying new, incredibly flavorful vegetarian meals.

I was able to pull out all of our new pots and pans from our wedding and feel like a regular ol' chef! There were even meals that Kyle enjoyed!!! Kyle who only likes meat and potatoes, was enjoying my vegetarian meals.

Some of the dishes I had include:

Indian veggie rice bowl. I made this meal shortly after my mom passed, and brought some of the leftovers to my dad when I went home to visit. Needless to say, my tastes are more outgoing than his. :p More for me I guess!


Creamy corn farro risotto. I had never had farro before, but it is freaking DELICIOUS. This pic is not super beautiful but the taste made up for its level of unphotogenic-ness.


Korean noodle bowl. This meal has been, hands down, the best of all that have been delivered, and not just because I made the most amazingly beautiful sunny side up egg of my entire lifetime. Vinegary vegetables, black noodles, a runny egg. GAH! So good.

For the vegetarian subscription, it is $10.49 per portion, so for three meals for 2 people it ends up being around $64. Which is a lot. But then I think about Kyle and I going out to eat and realize that one meal plus two delish beers is easily $64 with tip. I also think the portions are larger than 2, so I tend to get at least 3 if not 4 meals out of each. Kyle isn't always a fan of what I order, so I have lots of leftovers for lunch. I don't order the meals every week, but if I could afford it, you'd better believe I would!

If you want to try this for yourself, feel free to use this link to get 4 free meals. If you order a second box I do receive some money off of a future box order, so technically this needs an ad disclosure. So there it is. Let me know if you have any questions, and share your favorite recipes!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hair Cut

On November 17, 2014 I saved a photo of a gorgeous long bob/lob from Kristin Ess' instagram page. I was obsessed. Obsessed enough to keep it on my phone for the last two years, but not obsessed enough to do anything about acquiring said lob. Until a couple of weeks ago.


I scheduled my hair appointment with my friend and fellow yogi, and as the date got closer I decided just to chop it off. She was shocked but was totally on board with the idea. She started by chopping off a ton so she wasn't wasting her time and color highlighting and coloring hairs that were just going to get hacked off anyway. And immediately there was a medium sized dog's worth of hair on the floor. Blech.

She colored my hair, finished the cut, styled me, and I was obsessed. Full disclosure: I've had my hair short twice in my whole entire life. I hated it BOTH TIMES. Both times were done by less than stellar hairstylists, and both times I had no clue how to style my hair. Both variables led to hair hatred. I knew that Kaitlyn would make me look as cute as she could, but if I didn't like it, my hair grows uber fast, so I wouldn't have to put up with it for long.

Luckily for me, I love it. It's super fun and such a change.


Surely I'll be finding mega long hairs all over the house and my clothes for decades to come though..... :/

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Weekly Reads: Still Life With Tornado

Still Life with Tornado is the newest book by teen author extraordinaire, A.S. King. Every book I've read of hers is pure gold, and the same is true with this one. King weaves in bits of magical realism to this coming-of-age story about a teen artist, while uncovering truths about her family dynamics, and abuse. The pov toggles from the daughter to the mother and your heart tears open as the story unfolds.

My rating: 4 stars.

Summary from goodreads:

“I am sixteen years old. I am a human being.”

Actually Sarah is several human beings. At once. And only one of them is sixteen. Her parents insist she’s a gifted artist with a bright future, but now she can’t draw a thing, not even her own hand. Meanwhile, there’s a ten-year-old Sarah with a filthy mouth, a bad sunburn, and a clear memory of the family vacation in Mexico that ruined everything. She’s a ray of sunshine compared to twenty-three-year-old Sarah, who has snazzy highlights and a bad attitude. And then there’s forty-year-old Sarah (makes good queso dip, doesn’t wear a bra, really wants sixteen-year-old Sarah to tell the truth about her art teacher). They’re all wandering Philadelphia—along with a homeless artist allegedly named Earl—and they’re all worried about Sarah’s future.

But Sarah’s future isn’t the problem. The present is where she might be having an existential crisis. Or maybe all those other Sarahs are trying to wake her up before she’s lost forever in the tornado of violence and denial that is her parents’ marriage.

“I am a human being. I am sixteen years old. That should be enough.”

Monday, November 21, 2016

Race Report: Sioux Falls Half Marathon 2016

The Sioux Falls half marathon was hard. Physically, yes, but emotionally even more so. My mom is my biggest cheerleader and spectator and the SF half is the race she never misses. Ever. During her last day on the planet, I told her she needed to start training as soon as she got to heaven, because I'd need her with me for my races. She responded that she'd be there (meaning at my races). Cue all the tears.

The week of the race I had a horrific cold, brought on partly by all the stress of the previous couple of weeks plus allergies, but there was no way I was missing my twelfth consecutive Sioux Falls half.

I got to the race start insanely early to take a group photo with my SFWR ladies. Look at that monster group! I remember when there was like... ten of us!


Going in to this race, I didn't have any real goals other than to finish. And then I stopped at the 605 Running Co. booth that were giving away a sweet prize for whomever could predict their race time the closest. So I wrote down my absolutely A++++ time prediction.


LOLZ.

When the race started, I was happy that it had a new start and route this year, because I would've completely lost it running around Howard Wood without seeing my mom there cheering for me. As it was, I still started the race crying all through the starting chute and out on to the street. Woof. This might be a rough day.

The first few miles were around the park and the historic district. The first two miles are nice and flat and then we start a decent climb in mile 3. I was taking in the miles, ignoring my pace (other than to make sure I wasn't starting too fast) and was just thankful to be running.

1. 10:29 
2. 10:37 
3. 10:38

Miles 4 and 5 were mostly downhill with some uphill stretches. Mile 4 has the longest downhill in the course (this year with the added benefit of running UP it at the end of the race, uff) and the one I'm always extra careful to take it easy on so my quads don't sieze up on me. At about 5.5 miles in we started our gradual way back up up up! This is also the spot that my mom is always at, and luckily the only part of the course that didn't change, so I knew there would be tears here and I was prepared for that. I'm sure this year she was there and was thrilled now to have to deal with the traffic of the race spectators. :P

4. 10:19
5. 10:28
6. 10:47


With about five miles to go, I was spent. Drained, emotionally and physically and just ready to be done. I put on some music to help tune out the world, and started to implement some walk breaks to bring my heart rate out of the scary zone. Uff. There was a decent hill in mile nine, and since I'd taken a little walk break earlier, I made myself run up 90% of it. Uff da.

7. 10:48
8. 10:42
9. 11:21 
Somewhere in this stretch I started to do "finish line math" to see what my finishing time was. I realized I was nearing my half marathon PW. And even that couldn't keep me from taking walk breaks. I was done-zo and if I had to walk the whole way to the finish line, so be it. (Spoiler alert: I didn't, but it sure felt that way!)

10. 11:22
11. 11:08 

 
Mile 12 was the slowest of the day and I remember being hot and ready to be done. Somewhere in mile 13 there was a lovely breeze at my back that was cooling and pushing me along, so I dug in and ran as hard as I could.

12. 12:22
13. 9:58
.26 2:05

I finished 13.26 miles in 2:22:59, just a mere 10+ minutes from my race prediction time. Ha. So close. 

The finish line was inside the arena, so my friends and family had a hard time finding me, as I didn't run with my phone. Emily and Megan found me as I was going to grab my phone at the bag check and told me that Kyle got yelled at by security for trying to bring the pug into the arena, thus missing my finish. 



It was a really hard day to run 13.1 miles (or 13.26, but who's counting) but I'm really thankful that I did it. Sometimes it's nice to prove to yourself just how capable you are of doing something that is hard.

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Favorite Long Run Workout

I tend to be a self-proclaimed long run hater. Identifying as a sprinter for much of my life growing up, long runs have always been hard. Endurance... not my strong suit. The last couple of marathons that I have trained for, I have loathed the long runs (why, you may ask, do I keep signing up for marathons? good question....).

During my last training cycle, I actually enjoyed my long runs. Shocker, I realize. Ten miles has, and probably always will be, my favorite running distance. It's double digit, so you automatically feel like a bad ass, but it's not a long run that takes all morning to prep for, run, and recover from. *cough* 20 milers *cough*

While training for the Monster Dash Half, I had a lot of fun training for my long runs. When I train for a marathon, I'm all about that long slow distance for my long runs (see above: not a strong endurance runner, always trying to increase that ability). But when you train for half marathons, there is an option to add in a wee bit of speed to spice things up a bit! (Less injury prone runners are certainly able to add in some speed to their long runs, but it just breaks my body, so I've learned not to.)

One of those long run strategies is the 3:1 long run. The specifics for this is to run the first three-quarters of the run at your regular long run pace, and then pick up the pace for the last quarter of a mile, perhaps goal race pace, to simulate those final miles of the race where you're running hard on already tired legs.

My favorite long run workout is to include three minute pick ups after every 20 minutes of running. This breaks up the monotony of the long boring run, plus by picking up the pace for a few minutes every couple of miles, it reminds my muscles how to run strong instead of relaxing into my poor form that I tend to take on during LSD runs. During this run, when I picked up the pace, I landed almost exactly in between half marathon race pace and 10k pace, which is typically the goal when I do this workout. This workout is especially great when training for a race that has a hillier profile. The surges cause your heart rate to surge, and then your body has to work to recover after the three minutes, similar to bounding up a hill in a race.

I will say that there are times to not do these workouts. When you're just getting started doing longer runs, just getting in the distance is the best thing you can do! I have had a horrific long run more times than I can count by trying to add in 3 minute pickups when I just wasn't in good enough long run shape to do the long run distance + tax my body with some extra speed workout. In fact, I did zero of these types of workouts leading up to the Sioux Falls half, because my body just wasn't in great long run shape at that point.

When training for a half, I tend to do three weeks of long runs, followed by a cutback week with shorter overall mileage and long run mileage. I will do one of these workouts in a three week span. I'm sure some would/could have success doing an additional workout within their long run 2 out of the 3 long runs, but again, I'm overly cautious because of my tendencies to break!

What's your favorite long run workout? What should I be trying?


Thursday, November 17, 2016

Purple Hair for World Pancreatic Cancer Day

November is National Pancreatic Cancer month, and November 17th is World Pancreatic Cancer day. I have always wanted to dye my hair purple, last year I donned a gorg purple wig for my Facebook profile picture to raise awareness for pancreatic cancer. This spring when I got my hair done, I asked my hairstylist to make it lighter juuuuuust in case I decided to dye it purple.

One Friday at work this summer, I finally got the bug, and ran to the mall to pick up some purple hair dye.

I asked Kyle to help me, but somehow that meant he would sit on the couch, downstairs while I tried to paint my hair strands. Poorly.


As I was dyeing, it occured to me that my hair stylist was getting married the following morning. Meaning if it was a DISASTER, I was stuck with it. No pressure.


Clearly I didn't have the proper tools for this project. 

Purple top knot while the color sets.



And a terribly lit "after" photo. I adore our new house, but the lighting after dark blows.


So you throw on a flower crown snapchat filter to mitigate the crappy light problem.


And wait for the next day and some better lighting!


I dyed it a second time a month or so later, this time with proper tools, and loved it just as much! It washed out super fast, but I kept a few lavendar strands that hung on for longer than a week and a half. The first time I dyed it I took extra care to wash it with really cold water, sparingly, but the second time I dyed it was right before my mom passed, so I DGAF about my hair. Not surprisingly. Still glad I got a few pictures before it completely faded!



I considered doing it green for my fall marathon, but then that didn't pan out. That might be for the best. :)

Pancreatic Cancer Facts (taken from ECPC.org):
  • Pancreatic cancer has the lowest survival rate of all cancers – just 3-6% of those diagnosed survive for five years.
  • Pancreatic cancer is nearly always diagnosed too late with 80% of pancreatic cancer patients having terminal disease with an average life expectancy of a mere 4-6 months.
  • Symptoms of pancreatic cancer can be very vague and depend on whether the tumour is in the headbody or tail of the pancreas. Abdominal pain is a symptom in about 70% of pancreatic cancer cases and jaundice (also known as icterus) occurs in about 50% of cases.
  • Early diagnosis is key: If patients are diagnosed in time for surgery, their chance of surviving 5 years or more increases ten-fold.
  • Pancreatic cancer has been underfunded for decades and receives less than 2% of overall cancer research funding.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Weekly Reads: Carry On

Carry On is the most recent book that Rainbow Rowell has written. It is the story is fan-fic'd in her story, Fangirl. I read this book over a year ago, and didn't get around to blogging about it. I recommend this book over and over to teens and adults at my library. Love story, fantasy, intrigue, magic, what more could you want?

My rating: 5 stars.

Summary from goodreads:


Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.

Monday, November 14, 2016

October in Review



October in Review


Total Miles: 98.2 up from 53.8 last month.  Up from 6 last October.

Total Time:  17:30:20 up from 10:58:42 last month. 

Total Runs: 19 for an average of 5.17 miles/run.

Highest weekly mileage
10/10/2016 – 10/16/2016:28.3 mi4:48:18

Favorite run: Twelve mile long run. Steady, strong splits with my HR lower than it has been for similar long run efforts. Any time a long run is a favorite, you know that you're running is going well!

Most hardcore run: Ten mile long run with 3 minute pickups every twenty minutes. Felt so strong!

Favorite race: Monster Dash Half, 14 minutes off of my time from September!!


Bike Miles: 0


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


November goals:

  • Group runs with friends, new and old
  • 100 miles
  • Daily water consumption!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Race Report: Monster Dash Half Marathon

After deciding to defer my entry for the Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon, I knew I needed a race on the horizon to train for. I convinced Kyle to take a quick weekend getaway with me to the Twin Cities to run another half before the end of 2016.


The race profile showed a net downhill course. Wahoo! The weather forecast early in the week showed perfect race weather 42-46. As the week went on, it warmed up to high 40s, low 50s and 90% humidity. Meh. Still could be worse, for sure.


After a few key workouts leading up to the race, I had a pretty firm race plan going in to the race: 1st 3 miles at 10:15, 2nd 3 miles at 10:00, 3rd 3 miles at 9:45, and the final four miles all out. I had thought the all out pace would be 9-9:15 pace if I was running my absolute best. I also could've swore that miles 9 to the finish were all downhill. Spoiler alert: no.

The race started and it was so gorgeous, I almost couldn't handle it. All the trees' leaves lining the route were on fire. So insanely pretty. People started complaining at .83 miles about how warm they were, and started shedding layers of clothes. I started having a weird intense pain in my foot at a mile in to the race, and that freaked me out. I focused on my form, and eventually the pain went away. Thank goodness.


Mile 1 10:06
Mile 2 10:06
Mile 3 10:23

I purposely slowed down the third mile to reign back to the race plan slightly. I took my first GU at mile 4.5 of the race. Most of the first half of the race was a slight downhill. I knew the course was net downhill, so whenever we ran some rollers or up a hill I thought it would be the last one until "it was all downhill from here."

Mile 4 10:00
Mile 5 9:54
Mile 6 10:02

We had a decent climb during mile 7. I was feeling really good, and shocked at how well I was sticking to the race plan. Usually around the 7 mile mark I start to s-t-r-u-g-g-l-e in a race and the walk breaks because necessary. I took my second GU at mile 9 and was ready to start running all out.

Mile 7 9:58
Mile 8 9:39
Mile 9 9:33

I swear when I looked at the elevation map, the final 4 miles were all downhill. So where in the hell did the two hills in mile 11 come from? And the monster climb in mile 12? And a couple more in Mile 13? Good question. I wanted to know that same information as I continued to go up up UP! But I knew I was on pace to run a really strong time, so I kept pushing and counting down the minutes of running to meet my time.

Mile 10 9:22
Mile 11 9:21
Mile 12 9:40
Mile 13 9:13

.22 1:41 (7:39 pace)


I crossed the finish line, stopped my watch and was thrilled to see a 2:09:05 for 13.22 miles (we were already off almost .1 mile at the one mile marker... grrrr....). This time was almost 14 minutes faster than my half in September. And even better, my legs weren't broken upon finishing! Is this what racing feelings like?! It's been so long I don't even remember.


Even my HR data was better than September's race!
Avg HR 160
Max HR 177


Kyle and I went out for a delicious lunch after to celebrate, and have a celebratory beer. Mmmm.



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Milwaukee Running Festival Marathon

This past Sunday I was supposed to run a marathon. I didn't.

After my mom passed away in August, I wasn't sure what I would do about my upcoming marathon. On one hand I thought I might enjoy training for it, and give my brain a break from all the emotions and grief. On the other hand, I thought the stress of marathon training on top of the stress of my grief might kill me. I looked up the transfer policy and realized I had to the end of October to make a decision. Phew.


After marinating on it for a few weeks, I ultimately decided not to run the race. I knew I could do it. Complete the race. Likely in a 5+ hour time. But that wasn't my intention when I signed up for the race. When I signed up, I was falling back into l-o-v-e love with running, my mom's health was looking up, and I was ready to put in the work to run a decent marathon time, 4:20s-4:30s. I did NOT want to slog through another 5 hour marathon that left me hating running and marathons in general.

And so it was decided. No marathon in 2016. Meaning my last one was over two years ago. If i sign up before the end of the year, I can get my deferred entry to Milwaukee for $10. I'm still not sure if I want to run a fall marathon next year; Kyle kindly suggested that maybe I don't even do marathons anymore. To which I replied, "Yeah if I could just run ONE GOOD ONE, I could retire....."

26.2 TBD.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Weekly Reads: This is Where it Ends



Wow. This Is Where It Ends was intense. I put off reading this book for a long time, because everything in my life was far too stressful to read a book with such intense subject matter. Once I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. AMAZING.

My rating: 5 stars


Summary from goodreads:

10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.

Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
 

Monday, November 7, 2016

2016 Mileage

A little over a month ago, I was logging my mileage and I happened to glance at my annual mileage for 2016. I was shocked when it showed 400 miles for the year. I didn't really start running this year until April/May, so I didn't realize I had that many miles. I was having a good month of running in September and October, so I decided I would try to hit 700 miles for the year.

Eeps.

I was just shy of 700 miles in 2013, and just over 700 miles in 2014. In 2015, I ran less than 200. Miles. Total. For the year. Whoa.

I sent a text to my new running buddy in town and asked if she'd be willing to keep me going during November and December after my October half to help me get in the mileage. I planned to take the week after my race off, which left me with 190 miles to run in 8 weeks. I recovered a little better than I expected, so I was able to get in about 10 miles, so now it's on. 180 miles in the next 8 weeks.

Totally doable, right?!