Wednesday, August 31, 2016

An Update About My Mom

An update about my mama, previously posted on the page she created to keep people up to date on my dad and her health journey:

I apologize to everyone who is receiving this information for the first time via this message. My mom has touched so many lives so deeply that it would take me a few lifetimes to call everyone individually that deserves to hear the sad news.

My mom left us Wednesday night, August 24th. She fought a battle harder than anyone could, for much longer than anyone should. She knew it was the end, and was ready to go, but I think she waited around a little bit longer to make sure that we were ready to let her. Because that's who my mom is, stubborn and bossy, but the most self-less person the world has ever seen. If we had asked her to wait forever, she would have.

That day was filled with a lot of communication that I couldn't quite understand, but she did have some moments of real clarity. When I first saw her yesterday morning, and was upset, she woke up, hugged me and told me “It'll be okay.” And she's right, as always. It'll be okay because she's finally pain free and at peace. It'll take awhile for the rest of the world to truly feel okay, but it is comforting to know she was so at peace with the end so near.

My mom didn't want to have a funeral. And because she's bossy, we're going to go with her wishes. Instead she wanted us to have a giant party. At the moment I don't feel like celebrating, but we'll honor that in the near future as well.

In the meantime, honor her and her life in your own way. Go to the beach, put your feet in the sand, strum a guitar and sing at the top of your lungs, laugh so uproariously that other classrooms have to shut their doors to keep out the “distraction”, snuggle your pets, love a loved one.

It's such a beautiful life to live to be so dearly missed by so many people. She loved all of you so much. Thank you for all of the prayers and kind words, comfort and help you have offered and given over the last year.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Weekly Reads: Been Here All Along

There was quite a bit of buzz about the new teen book Been Here All Along, so I was excited to pick up a copy of it. It's a awesome realistic fiction novel with LGBQT themes. Some of my book buddies are over these kinds of books, but I'm just obsessed. I just think back to the time that I was a teen and there were NO BOOKS discussing LGBQT themes/issues/etc. so everytime there is a new, well written one, I'm like "YAY! This might help a reader who's struggling with their identity, or give insight to an ally" So here we are with another well written teen book.

My rating: 4 stars

Summary from goodreads:  

Gideon always has a plan. His plans include running for class president, becoming head of the yearbook committee, and having his choice of colleges. They do NOT include falling head over heels for his best friend and next door neighbor, Kyle. It’s a distraction. It’s pointless, as Kyle is already dating the gorgeous and popular head cheerleader, Ruby. And Gideon doesn’t know what to do.

Kyle finally feels like he has a handle on life. He has a wonderful girlfriend, a best friend willing to debate the finer points of Lord of the Rings, and social acceptance as captain of the basketball team. Then, both Ruby and Gideon start acting really weird, just as his spot on the team is threatened, and Kyle can’t quite figure out what he did wrong…

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Race Report: 605 Race Series 8 Mile

This summer I signed up for the 605 Race Series. It was $20 per race, or $50 for all three races, no frills (or so they claimed!) with 4, 8 and 12 mile races on alternating Sundays leading up to the Sioux Falls Half. This race was the morning of the Olympic marathon, so I sported my best red white and blue for the occasion. I also put a screenlock image on my phone that said "DO NOT OPEN, MARATHON SPOILERS." I had friends over for brunch and a delayed viewing of the race.
My plan for the race was a modified version of my game plan for the upcoming Sioux Falls Half: first 2 at 10:30, second 2 at 10:00, 3rd 2 at 9:30 and last two at 9-9:15. It was a pretty nice morning for a run, despite being mid-August.
I did a pretty good job sticking to the race plan for the first half of the race.
1. 1024
2. 10:25

3. 9:54
4. 9:52

Quite a few of my running friends were volunteering along the race course, and were heavily stacked at the turnaround. Hence the mega smiles and THUMBS UP! hah.

The later miles weren't quite as speedy as I had hoped, but I was running as hard as I could muster.

5. 9:26
6. 9:37

The course ended up coming up just a little short, but I had a really strong finishing sprint with a 6:43 max pace. Whoa. Where did that come from?
7. 9:38
.75 9:01 pace 6:43 (short course)

 I had a final time of 1:16:03 for an auto PR. Whoop!

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.