Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Weekly Reads: Solo

Solois the newest novel in verse from Kwame Alexander. I loooooove him. And full disclosure: I loved this book. It was a super fast read, despite its large page count, but it is done in verse so it reads very quickly. It was lovely, and sad, and was the second book this fall to bring me to tears while reading it on my lunch break. Must read.

My rating: 5 stars

Review from Goodreads:

Solo, a YA novel in poetic verse, tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret, Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Memphis Trip Recap Part 1

We had, what felt like, a very long travel day to get to Memphis. In reality it wasn't, but it sure felt that way. We were on the way to the airport at 5am for our 7am flight, with a long layover in Dallas. 

I coped with cute snapchat filters, as one does.

We finally arrived around 1:30pm and were ready for FOOD. There were a few breweries I wanted to visit, so we headed to Memphis Made Brewing Co. for some beers, with plans to order Aldo pizza from next door. 

When we walked in the door, I was super excited to see pinball machines. My dad is a pinball master, and when I was in Kindergarten, he would pick me up every day at lunchtime (we had half day K), and take me to a little lunch spot where I had a grilled cheese sandwich and then we played a couple of dollars worth of pinball. And by that I mean, 5 year old Jerbear would get to shoot one or two of big Jerbear's pinballs and immediately lose the turn, because she was barely tall enough to see over the glass.

Starting at 4pm, it was $7 for all you can play pinball for 3 hours. SIGN. ME. UP. I had so much fun that I only got around to drinking one beer. ONE BEER! ME! AT A BREWERY! And Kyle had to go pick up our pizza because they wouldn't deliver and I didn't even notice he had left, because, PINBALL. I racked up two high scores before we left and have been subtly hinting to Kyle the rest of the trip how badly we need a machine at home.

Additional note: Monday afternoon I started having some horrific pain and soreness in my hands, forearms, wrists, etc. I assumed it was from carting around my carry on through the airport, etc. NOPE. It was from the hours of pinball. I was sore from playing pinball. I think I just hit the Mecca of nerd status.

One of Kyle's business associates took us out for dinner at Soul Fish Cafe, and it was probably the best meal I had the entire trip. Fried green tomatoes, fried catfish, mmmmmm.

Monday morning I woke up with a full day ahead of me as Kyle had convention stuff until supper time. I ran to target for some forgotten items, picked up a latte that was so terrible I threw it away, and then finally set out for my run. The plan: to end up at the local running store via a beautiful running path north of where we stayed. The actual run: I took a super beautiful road with no sidewalks, no shoulder, and some super steep ditches for 1.5 miles while traffic was zipping by me at 40+ mph. It was gorgeous, so I was fine with it. Then I reached the running path and I was psyched not to have to be dodging traffic and could finally shut down my google maps to conserve phone battery. Until I ended up at the end of the path, at a landfill which seemed like a really great place to ditch a dead runner's body. Somewhere along the way, I had taken a wrong term,  and my phone battery was rapidly dwindling. I opted to turn around and hope that I could find my way back in the instance that my phone died completely.

The traffic was even heavier on my way back, but it was so beautiful I almost didn't care. Almost.

After the run I headed out for some sushi at Sakura. It was good, not great, and despite the website saying their hours were 11am-10pm, they greeted me at the door with "we close at 2m to get ready for dinner." So I felt super welcome and inhaled my food to get out of there.

My next stop was the Memphis Botanic Gardens, which was just a mile and a half from the sushi spot. Except that again, no sidewalks. So I took the loooooooong way and that helped contribute to my million step count for the day. Once I finally got to the gardens, the last thing I wanted to do was walk around some more. Eeps. I found some nice shade to sit in and cool off, until the sprinklers turned on to drench me. I'm starting to think that maybe Memphis doesn't love me so much.....

I was super excited to check out the Big Bugs traveling exhibit. I really love bugs, minus mosquitos, and the sculptures were just amazing. There were 7 in total.

Daddy long legs

praying mantis

Spider, which I couldn't get a good picture of for the life of me.

Ahhhhh another bench. No sprinklers this time!


assassin bug


damselfly (which looks just like a dragon fly to me, but I learned that they differ in how they hold their wings when they're at rest. Dragonfly = open, damselfly = wings together).

And the ant. One of 3. There was also a picnic basket. So clever.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Trick or Treat Trail Run Race Goals

I went back and forth for quite a few weeks about running the 5k or the 10k for the Trick or Treat race. It's the weekend before my half marathon, and it's in costume, so both were weighing on my decision making. On one hand, I thought I'd be better suited for a 10k, given I've been training for a 10 mile and half marathon this fall, but thought that maybe my legs would still be recovering into race week and I didn't want that. Toni had planned to do the 5k, which swayed me slightly, and once I found a costume, I was all in on the 5k train. Plus the fall "5ks" I've been running are more 3 milers, so I was curious what I could do for a legit 3.1 miles.

My best legit 5k (only) of the year was the Purple Stride 5k in June in sweltering heat and humidity. I ran an 8:40 pace for a 25:41. My best 3ish mile this year was the last one of the Parks and Rec series, which was a 7:57 pace for 23:04 on a 2.91 mile course. Most of my 3 mile efforts have been in the 8:20s 24:58-25:08.

A goal: If it's a nice cool day, I'd really like to see if I can maintain a sub 8 pace for a full 3.1 miles. I was able to do it for 2.91 with zero people running near me (Toni finished 90 seconds ahead of me, so I was 100% pushing myself). I'd like to think that the competitive part of my brain can pull me through for another .2 miles, right? A 7:59 on an exact course would be 24:48.

B goal: This one doesn't give me much wiggle room from A to B, but I would like to be under 25 minutes. Back when I was racing 5ks a lot, it was such a huge deal the first time I went under 25, and I even won a 5k in a low low 24 once. It'd be awesome to be in this time range for having been working on longer distances and nothing specific to 5k speed training.

C goal: Earlier this summer, I had written down a goal for a 25:30 5k time. And then the 2 legit 5ks I raced were in the hottest of hot days so I wasn't anywhere close. I think even if it's a warmer late October day, I should be able to do dig for that sub 8:15 pace.

Stay tuned for my costume!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

What I’m Loving Right Now: Goodr Sunglasses

A month or two ago, I saw a post that Kara Goucher had posted, and she was wearing these awesome green sunglasses. I clicked on the picture and found out about Goodr sunglasses. Super cute, SUPER affordable. NEED NOW.

I immediately put the company on 605 Running Co.'s radar because I wanted to buy them asap, and obviously wanted to buy them from my favorite running store. As it crept closer to the Twin Cities race weekend, I got impatient and snagged a couple of pairs directly from Goodr because I lost my Raybans over a year ago and needed some sunnies!

Unluckily for me, I didn't get any tracking information, and they were delivered to my house when I was at the car wash en route to pick up Toni. Grrrr. BUT when I got home from the weekend, I was stoked. They were SO CUTE and looked adorable on.

I have about 3 more colors that I need to buy, and I think they make a perfect gift. Like $25 isn't outrageous, but it's also a good gift, and they're freakin' adorable so that's nice too.

Additional colors needed:
  • Falkor's Fever Dream
  • Gardening with a Kraken
  • Flamingos on a Booze Cruise
  • Vincent's Absinthe Night Terrors

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Ocean View Half Marathon Training Week 3

Week of October 16-22

Monday Planned
General aerobic 7 miles
Monday Actual: Sick day, no running. All the sleep and rest. And an epsom bath.

Tuesday Planned: General aerobic 7 miles
Tuesday Actual
Rest, my left hip was bothering me. :( Foam rolling helped!

Wednesday Planned: VO2 Max 8 Miles, 2 sets 2x1200, 1x800 @ 3k-5k
Wednesday Actual: We moved around the speed session because Toni had Wednesday night commitments. I did an easy 3.5 miles before a nice relaxing yin/restorative yoga class. My hips were happy with the yoga!

Thursday Planned: Rest

Thursday Actual: Toni couldn't make it for the track session, so I was on my own. Eeps! I did a 1 mile warm up than attempted the workout of VO2 Max 8 Miles, 2 sets 2x1200, 1x800 @ 3k-5k. I shocked myself with the paces I ran, but ended up cutting the second 1200 in set 2 out. I was starving, and I could feel my form start to suffer, so I opted to cut it short. I ended up with 6.5 miles for the day and enjoyed the heck out of a long epsom bath after the run.

Friday Planned: Recovery 4x100 strides
Friday Actual: 4 Miles recovery. 0 strides. Coffee run! I got to run with Elizabeth and Wilbur. Toni overslept. Do you guys remember when I had a BRF? Because it's been 5 days. Dear Diary, I miss my running buddy.

I love fall running. I do not love that this sunrise pic was 75 minutes AFTER we had finished our run.

Saturday Planned: Endurance 12 Miles
Saturday Actual: Fail. No miles, all the wind, and a wussy Gerber.

Sunday Planned: Rest/Travel Day
Sunday Actual
Rest/Travel Day

Total Mileage Planned: 36 miles
Total Mileage Actual: 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Weekly Reads: Slider

Slider is the newest middle grade novel by Pete Hautman. I have never picked up a book from Hautman, but the description of this book plus the PHENOMENOL COVER drew me in. I'm obsessed with competitive eating, and even think I could've made a good competitor back in my day! This book was cute, clever, quirky, and made me really hungry (which I don't think was the point, I will surely be in the minority on that front). It's a great book for 5-8 grade kids, or adults who are young at heart!

My rating: 5 stars

Review from Goodreads:

Competitive eating vies with family expectations in a funny, heartfelt novel for middle-grade readers by National Book Award winner Pete Hautman.

David can eat an entire sixteen-inch pepperoni pizza in four minutes and thirty-six seconds. Not bad. But he knows he can do better. In fact, he'll have to do better: he's going to compete in the Super Pigorino Bowl, the world's greatest pizza-eating contest, and he has to win it, because he borrowed his mom's credit card and accidentally spent $2,000 on it. So he really needs that prize money. Like, yesterday. As if training to be a competitive eater weren't enough, he's also got to keep an eye on his little brother, Mal (who, if the family believed in labels, would be labeled autistic, but they don't, so they just label him Mal). And don't even get started on the new weirdness going on between his two best friends, Cyn and HeyMan. Master talent Pete Hautman has cooked up a rich narrative shot through with equal parts humor and tenderness, and the result is a middle-grade novel too delicious to put down.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Dream Marathon Schedule

It's been a long time since I've had dreams and aspirations to do a marathon, but now that it's struck, it's done so in a MAJOR WAY. I've said a few times, if I could run a marathon time that I was proud of, maybe I could just retire from the distance. I LOVE half marathons, and marathons are hard. But as I've been looking at races, and all of my running friends have been DOING all the fall marathons, I've had some serious race envy.

Here is my dream marathon schedule:

Twin Cities Marathon October 2018: This one is already decided. Barring any catostrophic injuries or burn out (knock on wood), this one is happening.

Grandma's Marathon June 2018: I I know I've said that I will NOT do a spring marathon, because it just doesn't work to train through our horrendous winter and then run a spring race. Even a cool spring day is way warmer than what I'm acclimated to run in, and just NO. BUT Grandma's is mid-June, so technically we could get in 6-8 weeks of warmer training prior to race day, for acclimation purposes. And if it's a nice cool day, it's a very fast course. If it's a hot day, holy shit, get ready for a mental battle.

Philly November 2019: Billions of years ago, running friends and I had talked about using Philadelphia as a course to attempt a BQ on. If all of the possible stars align and I improve immensely from race to race and stay healthy, this would be a perfect time of year and race to do it on! I loved it in 2011.

NYC November 2020: I've wanted to run for Project Purple since my mom was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I've wanted to run the NYC Marathon since before I started running marathons. I think it would be awesome to train for, and raise money for a cause that is so much larger than me running 26.2 miles.

Boston 2021: If we/I magically BQ in Philly, this would be our first year that we'd be able to run since the race is in November. If Toni makes it and I don't, than you'd best believe I'll be there cheering her on. And then maybe I'll retire from marathons.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Race Report: Sioux Falls Parks and Rec 5k

October 9th was the last week of the Sioux Falls Parks and Rec 5k series. But if you would've asked me, I was certain it went through October 16th. So much so that I wasn't even planning to go on October 9th, because I felt like my legs should spend more time recovering from the 10 mile. But then I skipped my long run the day before and thought, why not? It was only once I was at the race that I realized that this was the final week. Womp.

I met Toni there early for a little warm up. We had planned to do 2 but she was running a little late so we had time for 1.5. The crowd was teeny tiny because it was cold (aka perfect racing weather). I told Kyle before I left for the race that I was running for 24 minutes tonight. The course is almost always 3 miles, so I really thought I could run right at 8 minute pace in the cool temps.

The race started and Toni took off in the lead, I was trailing her and before I knew it, a guy flew by me. NBD, I'm quite content taking 2nd for females, thank you very much. I didn't look at my watch much to start because sometimes the quicker pace freaks me out and then I slow down too much. About a quarter of a mile in I passed the dude and just tried to stay as close to Toni as I could. About a half mile in I checked my watch and saw that I was running pretty comfortably sub 8, and I was shocked and thrilled and hopeful that I could keep it up for the rest of the race!

I started feeling like I was losing speed toward the end of mile one, but when I looked down at my watch, it told me I was speeding up instead. Ok, I'll take it.

Mile 1 7:52

I always ALWAYS slow down in mile 2 of a 5k. Like disastrously so. Typically 25 seconds slower than the first mile. So goal #1 was to not fade too much. I hit the turn around and realized that the course was going to be short for a 3 mile, so I stopped focusing on my overall time completely and only looked at my average pace. Now that I'm typing this, I wish I would've noted what my time was for the halfway point, because I'd like to know if I negative split.

**Edited to add: Hey guys, just remembered, there's this super cool thing called a GARMIN that I wear on my wrist for 99% of my runs that can actually TELL ME my time at the turn around if I look at the DATA it provides. Derp.

I hit the turnaround in 11:29.

My pace was all over the place after the turn around, because I basically came to a dead stop and then restart in the same direction. It did give me an idea of where the guys behind me were, but I also lost Toni during this portion. COME BACK AND CONTINUE PACING ME PLEASE!! I thought I must've been really fading, but after the race we talked, and her second mile was even speedier than her first! So we do have differences, good to know. I'd catch a flash of her pink/orange top every once in awhile, but really just kept focusing on getting mile 2 as close to 8 pace as possible.

Mile 2 8:02

A 10 second slow down is not bad at all for me. I was pretty pumped. Especially because at points of that mile I was at 8:36. Uff. I knew the final mile wasn't going to be a full mile, but I wanted to give it all I had. I tried to speed up to catch Toni, knowing that would help me finish strong, I tried countdown games in my head, I wished really hard that I had remembered my iPod because I could desperately use some extra motivation and distraction as I was developing that super fun iron/metal back of my throat taste that typically only comes out in really hard effort runs. When I was at my 90 second countdown, I saw Toni cross the finish line, and I tried to pick it up the best I could, but I definitely didn't have my sandbagger sprint for this finish. I had worked hard the rest of the race. For once. :|

Mile 3 7:11 (.91, 7:55 pace)

So I finished the 2.91 race in 23:04 for a pace of 7:57!

I have not run a race at sub 8 pace since a 3k I did in 2014, which was a 7:58 pace, so I ran 2k further at a faster overall pace! AND that was the last time my running times were semi-decent.  Additionally, I didn't run a sub 8 5k since 2011, including my 3 mile PR (short 5k course, grumble grumble) which was a 23:09, 7:43 pace. I just love being able to see progress and having a race where you're on 100% mentally and physically. WAHOO!!

So Toni and I took 1st and 2nd overall and then ran off into the sunset (literally) for our cool down run.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Things I Desperately Want But Don't Need

I love my Garmin watch. I've been a Garmin loyalist since 2009. I told myself if I ran a good 5k race in April 2009, I could splurge on a Garmin 405. I wore that watch for 98% of my runs. I even received a refurbished version at some point when my sweat killed the computer inside the the watch. Ooops.

The watch lasted until April 2014 when the watch broke for good and I got a new one. I love my watch but sometimes it does things that drives me nuts. And then I was looking on Instagram this past summer and I saw the most beautiful running watch my eyes have ever seen.

The Garmin Fenix 5S in rose gold. *drools* I had almost talked myself into buying me when I compared it to the cost of my MacBook and realized it was the same. Woof.

I've ruled out this beauty as my next running watch, but not for lack of attempting to justify it in my head. Kyle even thought I should get it. I know it's only a matter of time before my watch finally dies, so I am doing a lot of research and comparison in the mean time so I can make an informed decision when the time comes.  Until then, I'll be dreaming in rose gold.