Friday, February 28, 2014

Seen on Team Green: Vol 3

Vol. 3 equals adorable flats edition. 
Get excited.

I've been coveting these green owl-y beauties for far too long for them to not be residing on my feet currently. Of course now they're out of my size. Sniffles.

$35 from Modcloth here

So my favorite color is kelly green, hands down. But my second favorite color is mint green. So cutesy, and I love it. These flats would be adorable with jeans or any cute dress. I could probably wear something to match them (or in my head it'd "match") daily for a month.

$54 from Modcloth here

Keeping up with the mint theme, these would be a really cute everyday pair of work shoes for me. Sensible (minus the price tag, geez) librarian shoes AND they look cute??? Yes please.

$100 from Modcloth here

I was deprived of having a pair of saddle shoes like every other child on the planet had. Because of this, I covet almost every saddle shoe inspired flat I see. These are so cute!

$55 from Modcloth here

Now someone be sure to alert me when the price point on all of these shoes hits the $25 range. kthxbai.

**I'm not getting any money or discounts for posting any of these links, these are just cute items I wanted to share!**

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Half Marathon Training Program Recommendations

Including March's half marathon, I will have trained for and ran nineteen half marathons. I've used Hal Higdon's Novice and Intermediate training programs, as well as a number of programs for Runner's World. My best half marathon was during a marathon training cycle.

When it comes to marathon training, there are a lot of great plans out there: Pfitz, Hanson, are two favorites but there are many others. But I don't feel like a half marathon training program stands out as prominently as these do. 

For my April and May half marathons, I'm planning to do a similar program to the one I'm currently following (Runner's World Smart Coach plan), but I'd be curious to hear what other people's favorites are. I like Runner's World because they allow for two hard workouts a week, which make it easier for me to switch around training runs as necessary. I usually have to space speed work and long runs 3 days apart to keep from breaking.

So what do you use for half marathon awesomeness???

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weekly Reads: Out of the Easy

Out of The Easy is the last book I read as a Printz potential title. It is set in New Orleans in the 1950s, and while I don't normally like historical fiction, I found this easier to follow than most historical fiction. Seventeen year old Josie is the daughter of a prostitute in a brothel that Josie maintains for the madam who acts more as Josie's mother than her actual mother ever has. Josie has dreams of leaving the Big Easy for higher education, but it seems that everything and almost everyone is out to keep her around. When a murder is committed, Josie is compelled to look in to the mystery further. This was a fairly fast read with a full host of compelling characters.

My rating: 4 stars

Goodreads Summary:

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. 

She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street. Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Week 8 of Spring Training

I had a couple of crunchy spots in my IT bands after Monday's 13.1 so my next run wasn't until Thursday. I hit the treadmill all excited to watch some Olympics (ok I totally retract my statement about not being in to the Olympics. Watching the Olympics makes running a few measly miles at a pokey pace seem like child's play, also they're INSANE!). Naturally when I got to the gym, the tv wasn't working. Whyyyy world whyyyyyyyyy?

Luckily I brought my iPod and a Runner's World magazine. Which I proceeded to read cover to cover while I covered 6 miles. I felt like I could run forever, my HR was super duper low, and it was just a great effortless run. I probably could've bumped up my pace since my HR was quite a bit lower than it needed to be, but I tend to think that a recovery run can never be done too slow. Also I knew that I was either running a tempo run or a long run on Thursday and I'd rather have fresh legs for that.

Friday I woke up actually excited to run long. Normally I loathe long runs. The weather was decent--20 degrees with a feels like temp of 10, 20-30 mph winds. Possibly one of the nicest long run days I've had this winter. I worked on my wrestler skills and tucked in my shirt to my running tights to see if that would keep my belly from being BRIGHT RED when I finished. Spoiler alert: it worked. I even did a wrestler pose in front of the mirror and laughed at myself. Kyle would've enjoyed it had he not been off fishing for the day (*grumble grumble*). 

The first five miles of the run flew by. Looking at my data I realized why, I was practically running at a recovery pace for the first five miles with the wind at my back. Derp. When I turned around, I was miserable. The wind was intense, and I was hungry. Not starting my long run until 1pm and eating breakfast at 9am didn't really *work* for me. I inhaled the Honey Stingers I brought along but I was still starving. I made myself suck it up the last mile to have a strong finish. My plan was to run for time, because I wasn't sure how the bike bath was, and I wanted to hit 2 hours. 

Mission accomplished.

Immediately after finishing the run, I got on the phone to see if I could get a vet appointment for Ollie. She has had a really bad cough the past couple of days and I was starting to freak out. Luckily she's ok, but going straight from the run to the vet's office meant I almost perished before I got to eat at 7pm. Uff.  Also Ollie's vet bill was like 2 months worth of groceries, so I guess I'll be really skinny by the time my next race rolls around.

Saturday I had planned to run a few miles for recovery's sake, but my legs were super duper tight. I stretched and foam rolled and finally resigned to another rest day.

Sunday I woke up with the intention of beating my legs in to submission to dominate a tempo run. I spent a considerable amount of time foam rolling. I had three different spots that were super painful. Then I attempted some self massage on my hip flexors, along with some hip flexor exercises. THEN I found some videos online for additional things to do. I dug up a tennis ball and almost died. Ok, that's a spot my foam roller doesn't hit. Got it.

As soon as I got the final alert for Dom finishing her ultra I hit the gym. I've decided my yellow Lululemon shorts are my speedy shorts. I always seem to wear them for my speed sessions, and I'm thinking they might be my speedy luck charms. For your retinal pleasure, I only wore a black tank top instead of another wild and bright shirt. You're welcome.

I did a mile and a half warm up super slow since I didn't get in a recovery run after my long run on Friday, and after about 8 minutes my HR dropped to where it should be. My tempo pace was supposed to be 9:17, and I hit 9:15, 9:12, 9:13, 9:10. Which clearly means that I lied on my photo below, now that I'm re-doing the math. Oops, that's what I get for doing math on a oxygen deprived post-workout brain. Average tempo pace: 9:12. I'll still take it! Then I did a half mile cool down. This was one of the strongest runs I've had in quite some time (also one of my first tempo runs I've had in awhile, those seem to be the ones I've ended up skipping... oops). I felt strong, and my HR really didn't jump up to the tempo zone until I had ran about 2.5 miles. Since I've done very little (=no) running at this effort level, that's pretty darn good for now.

The filter on this pic makes my legs look super weird, but at least it hides the small layer of fur on them. Oops. Filters, the new faux leg shaving!

Technically for the week, I hit 36.1 miles, my sixth highest weekly mileage over the past 52 weeks of running. But I consider Monday's run to be tacked on to last week, so that drops me to 23 miles. Regardless, I spent a ridiculous amount of time stretching, foam rolling, and doing various dynamic stretches and exercises to make sure my legs didn't fall off this week.  Success! (So far.)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Classics on Audiobook

I like to listen to audiobooks while I'm driving. My commute to work is only about 15-20 minutes, but it still helps me pass the time (I hate driving). Last month, I decided to throw in a classic book in to the listening rotation and listened to The Great Gatsby. Most people see that I work in a library and assume I've read every classic book there is. Spoiler alert: not true. I've only read a handful. I figured this would be a great way to get more classics in.

Let me know which classics (and who narrated them) I should listen to in the comments. The narration is so so so important to me. I don't know how many books I've stopped listening to and decided to just pick up the print version because I can't handle the narrator.

And speaking of great narrators and audiobooks, I just finished Dad Is Fat by Jim Gaffigan, comedian, narrated by Jim Gaffigan, and it's just hilarious. Seriously LOL funny.

My rating: 4 stars.

I have The Lord of the Flies waiting on standby as well as The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

I'm also planning on supplementing my listening by throwing in some past Newbery award winning audiobooks, so feel free to throw those in as suggestions too!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Week 7 of Spring Training

Week 7 started off with a bang. I hit the treadmill to do a HR test (more on that later) and was on a monster running high from there. I spent all day Wednesday looking forward to my run. And then I got home, got on the foam roller before my run and realized I should take a rest day. I had a super ouchy spot up high near my hip flexor and one down low by my knee. Running when these spots are tight, for me, almost ensures an injury.

I didn't end up running again until Sunday. Uff. I could've run on Saturday but I had a serious case of the lazies and madsies at the weather. It was supposed to be high 30s and then magically that changed to 30 and 30-40 mph winds.  Eew.

Sunday I hit the treadmill for an easy 3 mile shakeout run.

Monday I was one of the lucky ducks to have the day off from work, so I gave the sun a chance to do its thing and melt the new snow and ice that was dumped on us last night, and then headed out for a long run in the early afternoon. I had planned for 13-14, but after seeing how messy the bike trail was, and how slowly I was running to compensate for the poor conditions, I told myself I'd be happy with 12.

Once I got about 4 miles from home, the conditions on the trail got better, so I decided to keep running, dreading when I'd have to turn around. I decided a half marathon would be a great way to spend the day. I hit my turn around point and for the first time in the history of my running career, the wind that was at my back for the first half HAD ACTUALLY DIED DOWN for the second half. Usually it doubles while I'm running with it at my back. Also a couple of the super slick and icy spots had melted so that was nice too. I ran out of water with 4 miles to go, drank some snow, but was still super thirsty when I finished up. I need a new Nathan's quickdraw because my straw got super moldy and nasty, blech. I only have my tiny little 12 oz. handheld for the moment. That's not going to cut it in a month or two when it's actually hot out.

22.1 miles for the week (Tuesday-Monday). Who else is ready for spring??

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Weekly Reads: Reality Boy

 My co-worker has been begging me to read anything and everything by A.S. King for quite some time, and I know with her high regards, I will love everything she has written and have to read everything. immediately. So I've put off starting for awhile. Until now. Reality Boy is A.S. King's most recent YA novel and if it's any indication as to the craziness of King's books, it's safe to say I'm hooked.

Gerald is a child messed up by reality television. And not just because of watching reality television, but because of appearing on a program when he was only five years old. He has incredible rage issues and retreats into his happy place, Gersday, on a regular basis.

This title was not on our Mock Printz list, but I think it is a stronger contender than some of the titles that were on the list. I'll be interested to see if this picks up an honor award.

My rating: 4 stars

Review from goodreads:

Gerald Faust knows exactly when he started feeling angry: the day his mother invited a reality television crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth—which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle—and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school.

Nothing is ever going to change. No one cares that he’s tried to learn to control himself, and the girl he likes has no idea who he really is. Everyone’s just waiting for him to snap…and he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that.

In this fearless portrayal of a boy on the edge, highly acclaimed Printz Honor author A.S. King explores the desperate reality of a former child “star” who finally breaks free of his anger by creating possibilities he never knew he deserved.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Getting Back to It

When I started running again in 2009, I vowed to never stop again. It was so hard to get back in to it, and I never wanted to go through that again. Enter grad school. Here I am, still trying to get back to where I was in 2010-2011. I feel live I've spent almost nine months (at times half-heartedly, or brokenly) trying to get back to where I was, and while I've made some progress--marathon in 2012 was 5:38, and in 2013 was 4:55, half in 2012 was 2:22, and in 2013 was 2:14 (on a horrifically hot day) I still have a long way to go.

Yay progress.......but boo, that's still a far cry from the 1:50-1:52 and 4:12 times that I posted in 2010-2011.

At times it seems easier to just throw in the towel and just be a casual runner.

But I'm not a casual runner. I'm a competitor. Against myself.

So I'll continue to slowly creep up my weekly mileage, and slowly push myself to creep up my speedwork paces.

My current goal for the half in five weeks (FIVE WEEKS!!) is a sub 2. And as of right now, I still have at least five weeks of work to put in to make that a reality, which is just crazy because once upon a time there were many, many 13.1 mile long runs that were done casually at a sub 2 pace. *shakes head at self*

I have two more halfs five weeks after NYC and if all goes well, I think 1:55 could be doable. Again, this will take a lot of work to make that happen, but I know I have it in my legs, I just have to work at it.  I just can't wait to get back to the times I was posting before my hiatus and start the work to finally crush those PRs. But it's pretty clear that none of the work will be easy.

And I think I'm ok with that.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Seen on Team Green: Vol. 2

I purchased a pair of heather gray gapfit running tights a couple of months ago after a price drop, and I had a coupon. I landed a cobalt blue pair of GapFit capris on super duper sale after Xmas for $16, and they're probably the most butt flattering pants I've ever seen.

So when I saw a pair of green GapFit running tights and had some Gap Cash burning a hole in my pocket, I had to get them.

You'll likely be seeing me in these for the NYC half! (Unless it's not as cold as I'm planning because then I'll definitely be in shorts, obvs.) Get them here for $39

Speaking of running clothes, I've now (since purchasing my green pants) put myself on a clothes spending freeze (dang you student loans, taking all my moneyz!) I have set up incentives on mileage for myself. So I can snag some new stuff when I hit 250 miles for the year. Only ~ 130 miles to go!

There are some other adorable green things on the Gap site:

This is on sale for $37 here. i already own a similar half zip, so I can't have this one (unless it's still around in 130 miles... then... we'll see)

And I think these would be the most flattering capris, ever. Snag these asap if they have them in your size. Get them here.

This is not a sponsored post in any way FYI.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

NYC Book Festival

While I'm in NYC, I learned that a 90 second Newbery festival will be going on. Folks submit 90 second videos that depict various Newbery stories. I was absolutely thrilled! And quickly snagged myself and Susan tickets.

Last week, I got a frantic facebook message from my co-worker Emily with a link to the Teen Author Festival in NYC also while I'm there! I had seen information about past years' events, but there wasn't anything publicized about 2014 back in January, so I assumed it just wasn't happening this year.



So my new goal is to try to read a book by most of these authors in the next month before I go to visit. Let me know which ones are must-read to add to my list!

I'm unsure if I'll go to Friday's events. For one, it's the day before the half, and for two there's only a couple of authors I'm familiar with. Feel free to change my mind though if there's someone I def need to read/see!

Friday March 21, Symposium Day One (42nd Street NYPL,Berger Forum, 2-6)

2:00 – Introduction

2:10-3:00: When I Was Young…

Coe Booth
Aaron Hartzler
Barry Lyga
Diana Peterfreund
Mindy Raf
Natalie Standiford
Melissa Walker

moderator: David Levithan

3-3:40: Sorry You’re Lost – Writing About Grief and Loss

Matt Blackstone
Elizabeth Scott
Jeri Smith-Ready
Courtney Stevens

moderator: Jon Skovron

3:50-4:40: The People Who Get You Through -- Navigating Love and Friendship in High School

M. Molly Backes
Crissa-Jean Chappell
Heather Demetrios
Corey Haydu
Amanda Maciel
Julie Murphy
Tiffany Schmidt

moderator: Adrienne Maria Vrettos

4:40-5:30: Literary Matchmaking, Round One

(Half of this group will go today, half on Friday.)

E. J. Abbott
Tara Altebrando
Jen Calonita
Jennifer Castle
Gina Damico
Jocelyn Davies
J. J. Howard
Amellia Kahaney
Stewart Lewis
Alex London (Friday)
Mari Mancusi
Lindsay Ribar
Victoria Schwab
Jessica Spotswood
Stephanie Kate Strohm (Saturday)
Laura Toffler-Corrie


Friday March 21, Barnes & Noble Reader’s Theater/Signing (Union Square B&N, 7-8:30)

Matt de la Peña
Brendan Kiely
Sarah Mlynowski
Julie Murphy
Lauren Myracle
Marie Rutkoski
Jon Skovron

moderator: David Levithan


Saturday:  EEPS!  I'm most excited for the Teenagers in love session, because OMG RAINBOW ROWELL, right?!?!?!?!??  I also adore David Levithan, and just finished Gayle Forman's book Just One Day. It was awesome. Of course the 90 second Newbery festival is from 3-5pm, so clearly I'm going to miss something. Grr.

Saturday March 22, Symposium (42nd Street NYPL, Berger Forum, 1-5)

1:00 – Introduction

1:10-2:10 – What’s the Worst Thing That Could Happen?

Jessica Brody
Frankie Brown
Sarah Beth Durst
T. M. Goeglein
Jeff Hirsch
Emmy Laybourne
Alex London
Cristin Terrill

moderator: Lucas Klauss

2:10-2:40 – Summer Reading

Jen Calonita
Gae Polisner
Morgan Matson
Jessica Verdi

moderator: Melissa Walker

2:40-3:20 – Walking the Tightrope: Finding the Way Through Secrets, Lies, and Other Treachery

Jacqueline Green
Alissa Grosso
Alexandra Monir
Elisa Nader
Rebecca Serle

moderator: Aaron Hartlzer

3:30-4:20 – What We Write About When We Write About Teenagers in Love

Gayle Forman
David Levithan
Lauren Myracle
Rainbow Rowell

4:20-5:00: Literary Matchmaking, Round Two

(Half of this group will go today, half on Friday.)

E. J. Abbott
Tara Altebrando
Jen Calonita
Jennifer Castle
Gina Damico
Jocelyn Davies
J. J. Howard
Amellia Kahaney
Stewart Lewis
Alex London (Friday)
Mari Mancusi
Lindsay Ribar
Victoria Schwab
Jessica Spotswood
Stephanie Kate Strohm (Saturday)
Laura Toffler-Corrie

Saturday night:

Saturday, March 22 (McNally Jackson, 7:00pm):
The Blurry Line Between YA and Adult

Patrick Flanery
Rainbow Rowell
Eliot Schrefer
Jennifer E. Smith

Moderator: David Levithan

And Sunday:

Sunday March 23: Our No-Foolin’ Mega-Signing at Books of Wonder (Books of Wonder, 1-4):

J.J. Howard (That Time I Joined the Circus)
Mari Mancusi (Scorched)
Elizabeth Scott (Heartbeat)
Stephanie Kate Strohm (Confederates Don’t Wear Couture)
Alexandra Monir (Timekeeper)
Ellen Jensen Abbott (The Keeper)
Tara Altebrando (Roomies)
Ruth Baron (Defriended)
Matt Blackstone (Sorry You’re Lost)
Kate Brian (Hereafter)
Jessica Brody (Unrforgotten)
Jennifer Castle (You Look Different in Real Life)
Crissa–Jean Chappell (More Than Good Enough)
Susane Colasanti (All I Need)
Zoraida Cordova (The Savage Blue)

Gina Damico (Rogue)
Jocelyn Davies (A Radiant Sky)
Heather Demetrios (Something Real)
Elizabeth Eulberg (Better Off Friends)
Alison Ashley Formento (Twigs)
Claudia Gabel and Cheryl Klam (Elusion)
A. C. Gaughen (Lady Thief)
T.M. Goeglein (Flicker & Burn)
Jacqueline Green (Truth or Dare)
Kit Grindstaff (The Flame in the Mist)
Alissa Grosso (Shallow Pond)
Aaron Hartzler (Rapture Practice)
Corey Haydu (OCD: A Love Story)
Amelia Kahaney (The Brokenhearted)
Emmy Laybourne (Monument 14: Sky on Fire)
David Levithan (Two Boys Kissing)

Stewart Lewis (The Secret Ingredient)
Barry Lyga (Game)
Bennett Madison (September Girls)
Andy Marino (Uncrashable Dakota)
Julie Murphy (Side Effects May Vary)
Lauren Myracle (The Infinite Moment of Us)
Elisa Nader (Escape from Eden)
Gae Polisner (The Summer of Letting Go)
Mindy Raf (The Symptoms of My Insanity)
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner’s Curse)
Leila Sales (This Song Will Save Your Life)
Tiffany Schmidt (Bright Before Sunrise)
Eliot Schrefer (Threatened)
Victoria Schwab (The Unbound)

Rebecca Serle (The Edge of Falling)
Jon Skovron (Man-Made Boy)
Jennifer E. Smith (This is What Happy Looks Like)
Jeri Smith-Ready (This Side of Salvation)
Jessica Spotswood (Star Cursed)
Natalie Standiford (The Boy on the Bridge)
Courtney Stevens (Faking Normal)
Amy Talkington (Liv. Forever)
Cristin Terrill (All Our Yesterdays)
Laura Toffler-Currie (My Totally Awkward Supernatural Crush)
Jessica Verdi (The Summer I Wasn’t Me)
Melissa Walker (Ashes to Ashes)

And then my exhausted legs will crash for the rest of my NYC visit. :)

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Weekly Reads: Grasshopper Jungle

I was ecstatic to get my hands on the newest book by Andrew Smith, Grasshopper Jungle, and was super exciting when I got an advanced reader copy of it to review. I'm familiar with his somewhat vulgar writing style, as I recently read Winger and was blown away by it (review here). Both books were told from a teenage boy's perspective and both did an excellent job of reminding me how gross a teenage boy's mind can be.  :)

There were moments while reading that I was outwardly disgusted by the words I had read, and the imagery the words created in my mind. I'm getting grossed out just typing this remembering some passages. So with that being said, I could see this as a book that just isn't appealing to everyone. But the actual story was great, and unpredictable, and had a really interesting interconnectedness of Austin's life and history intersecting others histories.

Overall, I'm really happy that I didn't put the book down for good when I was grossed out. Prepare yourself for some squeamish reading moments, and then get to reading this book!

My rating: 4

Summary from goodreads:

Sixteen-year-old Austin Szerba interweaves the story of his Polish legacy with the storyof how he and his best friend , Robby, brought about the end of humanity and the rise of an army of unstoppable, six-foot tall praying mantises in small-town Iowa.

To make matters worse, Austin's hormones are totally oblivious; they don't care that the world is in utter chaos: Austin is in love with his girlfriend, Shann, but remains confused about his sexual orientation. He's stewing in a self-professed constant state of maximum horniness, directed at both Robby and Shann. Ultimately, it's up to Austin to save the world and propagate the species in this sci-fright journey of survival, sex, and the complex realities of the human condition.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Week 6 of Spring Training

Monday I didn't have to go in to work until 6pm because I was scheduled to work both Saturday and Sunday (#weekendbrarian, whoop!). It was sunny and almost 20 degrees so you'd better believe I was heading outside for my recovery run. Due to some new information from one of my friends, I learned that the terrible turkey has been relocated because he was chasing so many people. YIPPEE! Unfortunately that bit of news was accompanied with a snapchat video that showed three turkeys crossing the parking lot. Hmm.... I decided to take my chances.

Oh how I missed my little recovery run route, turkey free! I even got in some miles on the gravel. That counts as trail running right??  jk.

Wednesday I hit the treadmill for mile repeats. Eek. Mile repeats have always been my least favorite and most stressed about workout. ALWAYS. I was actually pretty excited about them, however, because running has been going pretty well, my body has been holding up (everyone knock on wood along with me, please!), and I wanted to see how they would go.

I did a mile warm up, than 3x1 mile repeats with an 800 jogging recovery in between them, followed by a one mile cool down. There was a guy on the treadmill next to me, and when he was done I thanked him for keeping me company. It almost felt like I had a running buddy! The intervals were hard, and I was definitely counting down the last two minutes of each one but I was able to run strong and keep proper form throughout which is a major win for me. Interesting fun fact: I almost ALWAYS count down from 120 with speedwork and in races. Two minutes seems like a really long time, but 120 seconds seems like NBD. Also, I count along with the cadence of my feet and breathing, so it's actually slower than a second and I'm done long before I hit zero. This is weird, I realize. I'm ok with that.

Pouring sweat? Check.

Bright red mug? Check.

Full on swass? You bet (and you're welcome for no photo #proof)

After logging my run, I went back through my log to see when the last time I ran that fast was. I had to go all the way back to January 2013 to see mile repeats at similar paces. 13 months! Getting back there.

Friday was my scheduled long run. Due to working Saturday and Sunday and Friday being the "warm" day of the week (high of 12), that was the plan. Unfortunately that means that my long run buddy Jenn, was working.

I sent this text to Kyle at 10am when it was -5 and -16 which chill. Come on winter, get yo act together!

Somehow I laid on the couch all day and finally threw the towel in on my LR when I realized I was starving and needed some food. Of course, as soon as I stepped outside to go grab some food, I realized it wasn't nearly as bad as the forecast was projecting. #fail

Saturday night after work it was a balmy +10 because of the snow fall we got. Thanks snow for bringing the temps in to the bearable range! On my drive home I noticed that a few sidewalks were cleared on a hill repeat spot I've been wanting to try (once the threat of turkey chases disappeared). Of course by the time I got out there, I realized that it was 95% covered in a thick sheet of ice. Luckily it's a fairly low traffic area with two lanes, so I was able to hop on the road to complete my repeats. I did a 1 mile warm up, followed by 6x800m hill repeats, and a quarter of a mile rest/recovery in between. I walked for about a minute and jogged the rest of the recovery. Then I ran home. This is the strongest I've felt on a speed work session! My hill repeat averaged to 4:10, or 8:20 pace.

Since I didn't do my LR, I tried to push two runs fairly back to back to at least try to simulate the time on my feet. Sunday morning I hopped on the treadmill for a 4 mile recovery run. I wanted to go another mile longer, but I had to get ready for work. Womp.

Monday, February 10, 2014

To Chop or Not to Chop

.... that is the question.

I've been obsessed with blogger Kendi's new hair cut since she hacked it off, and have multiple screenshots of it saved in my phone.

Three weeks ago I was ready to make the hair appointment and do the hack, and then I had a few random days where I actually did my hair and remembered how much I loooooove my long hair, when I have the time and actually care how it looks.

But still.... I'm considering...

I've chopped my hair 2x, and hated it both times. But also didn't know how to style it, so that probably didn't help....

I'm guessing it won't be a tough decision once I'm no longer using my hair as a second scarf to keep me warm and the hot and humid season is upon us.

And the nice thing is, my hair should be long enough to donate to locks of love, which has always been a goal of mine. So even if I absolutely loathed my hair, at least I would know that it was for a good cause! And my hair grows like a weed, so it'd probably be down to my butt in two months anyway.....

Friday, February 7, 2014

Winter Olympics

I've been obsessed with the Summer Olympics for as long as I can remember. As a little little kid I thought I was just a few years away from my own Olympic berth in gymnastics. And would spend hours and hours and HOURS cartwheeling around our giant yard "practicing." Interesting fun fact: I can't even do a round-off, thank you parents for not squelching my dreams of greatness.

When I got in to junior high I was 100% obsessed with track, so of course I was obsessed with the track and field events on the Olympics. New Olympic dream, and go!

But the Winter Olympics... I've never really been obsessive over. Perhaps it's because I hate the cold. Hmm.... I used to love watching ice skating, but again I think that was because the girls who were amazing were my age and that just seemed SO COOL to a young Jerbear.

So what am I missing? Which events do I need to DVR to get in to the Olympic spirit? Which Winter sport should be my new Olympic dream?? LOLZ.

(Awesome image from Pug Life blog, little Eloise reminds me of my Ollie!)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

January in Review + February Goals

January in Review

Total Miles: 60.5 up from 18 last month. 
Total Time: 11:00:48 up from 3:12:43 last month.  
Total Runs: 12 runs, average of 5 miles per run.
Highest weekly mileage:  1/6-1/12 24 miles
Favorite run
Gorgeous 10 miler that felt pretty effortless.

Most hardcore run

6.45 fartlek in questionable footing, including almost being struck by a car.

Favorite race: NA
Bike Miles
: 0, but I did have a dream about my bike and it made me want to ride it. 
Favorite Jam:  Christina Perri's Human. 

February Goals

At the end of my 101 in 1001 challenge, I looked at my list daily to see what I could accomplish. With that idea in mind, I'm going to attempt to implement some short term goals for myself, utilizing some of the items on my 101 in 1001 list, some things to make me a better runner, etc.
  • Hit 100 miles for the month. This should be easy peasy if I don't get lazy/injured/sick. 
  • 12 ab sessions. I've been trying for 3/week.
  • Finish a classic novel. Currently listening to The Great Gatsby on audiobook. The narrator is pretty amazing.
  • Have one super stellar long run.
  • Have one speed session that makes me feel like I'm a speedy runner again.
  • Get a few pounds closer to my racing weight.
  • Run 3 of 3 scheduled long runs.
  • Run 3 of 3 scheduled speed work sessions.
  • See one Oscar Nominated best picture movie.
  • Read Printz award winning book 2014--Midwinterblood
  • Try one new recipe
Happiest of birthdays to running BFF Jenn! Wish I could spend your day with you!

Can't wait for our next excessively humid and muddy LR together! Love you. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Weekly Reads: Twisted Sisters

I put in a purchase request at my library for Jen Lancaster's newest book, Twisted Sisters as soon as I heard its release date, so I was the first one to get my hands on it at the library. 150 pages in, I was wishing I didn't pick it up at all. Lancaster's memoirs are pretty hilarious, but her last three works of fiction have fallen miserably short IMO. The only funny parts of the story were pieces of current pop culture rewritten in a humorous way. The main character was deplorable, which was the intention, but it was so hard to give a $#!+ if she righted her ways in the end. And don't even get me started on the body swapping crap. Ugh.

Oh! And my super nit-picky complaint about the book--the main character is a runner, and spouts her Chicago Marathon PR as 4:28 (or something close to that) and that her goal is to make it sub 10 minute miles. And then she goes on her usual five mile training run and runs it in 29 minutes. Um, nope.

My rating: 2.5 stars

Summary from goodreads:

Reagan Bishop is a pusher. A licensed psychologist who stars on the Wendy Winsberg cable breakout show I Need a Push, Reagan helps participants become their best selves by urging them to overcome obstacles and change behaviors. An overachiever, Reagan is used to delivering results.

Despite her overwhelming professional success, Reagan never seems to earn her family’s respect. Her younger sister, Geri, is and always will be the Bishop family favorite. When a national network buys Reagan’s show, the pressures for unreasonably quick results and higher ratings mount. But Reagan’s a clinician, not a magician, and fears witnessing her own personal failings in prime time. (And seriously? Her family will never let her hear the end of it.) Desperate to make the show work and keep her family at bay, Reagan actually listens when the show’s New Age healer offers an unconventional solution…

Record Nielsen ratings follow. But when Reagan decides to use her newfound power to teach everyone a lesson about sibling rivalry, she’s the one who will be schooled…

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Winter Long Run Options

I've trained through 2.5 winter seasons for marathons in the past--Green Bay in 2010, Fargo in 2011, and Brookings in 2012 (where I decided mid-March that I COULD NOT RUN ANOTHER G.D. LONG RUN IN SNOW AND FREEZING TEMPS, and let the following weekend's weather determine if I was dropping to the half or not. True story. Well that and the hardest semester of grad school smacking me in the face.

During those training cycles, the longest long run I did on the treadmill was 16 miles. I did several 2+ hour long runs. AND I HAVE NO IDEA HOW I WAS CAPABLE OF DOING THAT. One 16 miler I ran through snow halfway to my knee, at a pace two minutes per mile slower than I was typically doing.

This year, we've been lucky in that our precipation levels have been really low. We haven't had a single massive dumping of snow. We've had a lot of snow, but nothing excessive. But this has been the coldest winter in like 40 years. The temps we were seeing in December are what we're used to seeing for about 10 days in the depths of December. There have been days were only 5 minutes outside would leave you with frost bitten extremeties. Uh, nope!

Since I'm training for a few halfs this spring, instead of a full, my mileage is lower, and my training schedule is a lot easier to flip flop around based on weather. Each week I take a look at the weekly forecast to see the nicest day of the week to get my long run in. This week is as follows:

Uh... Brr.

Friday might be ok, but if there's our regular 10-20 mph winds, that 17 will feel pretty frigid, and push our windchills sub-zero pretty darn fast.

Currently my options include:

  1. Running my 13 miles outside. (yippee!)
  2. Running part outside, and then move in to the treadmill when I'm freezing to death. This would require a wardrobe change prior to the treadmill portion of the run and it may be too convenient to not leave my apartment again....
  3. Run 8-9 on the treadmill in the morning (90 minutes is probably my max sanity level on the TM) and then attempt the remaining 4-5 in the evening on the treadmill.
  4. Forego the LR for this week, split the long run in to two runs, and turn one of them in to an additional speed work for the week. For now, I'm able to do two hard runs per week with (knock on wood!) injuring myself. Long run, and speed work. If I take out the long run, I could get in two speed sessions.
Last weekend's long run was awesome the first half when the wind was at my back. I had such a sweat worked up that by the time we flipped around to head for home, the wind cut right through my coat and layers and froze me to the bone. Wearing my face mask caused condensation to build up inside, and the wind and cold were so bad the last two miles that the inside fibers of the balaclava froze to my cheek. Ouch. 

Can someone just send my 2010/2011 motivation and speediness back to me? kthx

What option would you choose and why? Am I missing something? Will you just come and keep me company on Friday's outdoor long run so I have something to think of other than being freezing? Without Jenn this past Sunday I probably would've called it quits a few miles in!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Week 4 and Week 5 of Spring Training

Monday morning I hit the treadmill to run an easy shake out run. My legs were super heavy and pretty sore from my long run the day before. I don't know if I could've done further than 3 miles. The gym was ROASTING. I thought I was going to die. Luckily I didn't.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I could NOT get out of bed. I went to bed at or before 10am and my 5:30 alarm came and went every single morning. I think my body is still fighting off my cold/sinus crap from last week, because I'm normally a-ok with 6-7 hours of sleep a night. Thank goodness my weekly mileage is still low and easy to swap around training days at this point.

Thursday I hit the grocery store on the way to work to grab some healthy snacks so I wouldn't be STARVING when I left work Thursday night. Starving Jeri = grabbing crappy food for dinner and then feeling like crap and not being able to run.

I got home played with the pug for a few minutes and then hit the treadmill. Still crazy hot in there. Wasn't able to pry the window open for some breeze, frozen shut--NEAT! The temp in the hallway is set at 72* and it feels FREEZING out there compared to the gym, if that gives you an idea of the temp.

I was supposed to do a general aerobic run, but my HR ended up being in my recovery range. After the first 7-8 minutes my heart rate dropped dramatically, so I spent the remainder of the run bumping up the  speed on the treadmill and being excited as my heart rate would settle back down immediately after. Whoop. Fitness. Orange shirt, green hat, purple shorts, yellow shoes, running eyesore. Sorry.

Friday's long run didn't happen. So I convinced myself to do my tempo run instead. I ran my 1.5 mile warm up, half mile at tempo and was GASPING for air. Ugh. Long run turned tempo fail.

As of Wednesday I was still planning to run the Frostbite 4 on Saturday, so with a slight heat wave (above zero) I attempted my long run after work. Around the 1.5 mile marker, I was making my way across a street when a car came barreling through a stop light. A car was obstructing my view, so I had about half a second to react and did some high knees/sprinting combo so the car didn't take out my left leg. After I made it out of the way, I turned around, and the vehicle hadn't even slowed down. WTF. I was wearing my glow in the dark (practically) hat, white coat with reflective strips, and black tights with reflective strips. I also had my handheld which has reflective strips. Scary scary scary. Clearly I need the bright pink nike tights I've been eyeing lately for "safety purposes."

After this encounter, I was obviously pretty shaken up, and then was treated to ice upon ice upon ice. I kept going thinking that the residential area I was en route to would be better, but I was wrong. I know our city has a 48 hour sidewalk snow removal law, but clearly people aren't following it. So since we'd had a warmish day, but it was now cold again (see: bright red face in the photo) the sidewalks had frozen over to super uneven ice. Grumble grumble. I decided to turn for home around 3 miles. To keep it interesting, on the back half, I ran hard on the clear sidewalk parts, and then teetered/tippy toed on the super ice parts.

Friday after work I hit the treadmill for a 3 mile shake out run. No photos because there were people and I can't bring myself to do the gym selfie in "public."

Saturday I had planned to run an hour easy, because Sunday looked the nicest for my 2 hour long run, but my stomach was super wonky all day long. Instead I watched season 1 of Homeland for the majority of the day, and finished a pretty terrible book (ugh, review to come in a bit). I scratched the race completely because the windchill was -15 at race time. LOLNOPE.

Sunday I woke up, and for the first night in a REALLY long time, I hadn't slept with a hooded sweatshirt on OR under my electric blanket with the heat turned up to HIGH. HEAT WAVE. Jk, the weather said it was -2. But a windless -2. WHOOP. I was planning to do my LR around noon, where it was going to be +10. My running friend Jenn (non-purpleshoe Jenn) texted me to let me know she wanted to come run with me, AND IT'S HER BIRTHDAY. So of course I said yes. BIRTHDAY RUN!!!

I dug out my balaclava to save my face, and Ollie wanted to try it on. I also dug out my yaktrax, but those don't come in pug sizes.

The run was pretty great. Some areas of ice, and holy wind on the back portion of our out and back. I was so thankful I brought my balaclava along for it. I did 3 minute pick ups every twenty minutes for the first half, and then kind of forgot about them/got tired/was sick of running in the wind for the second half. I did pick up the pace the last mile to have a strong finish.