Saturday, May 30, 2009

YAY! For No More Heat

So they fiiiiiinally turned the heat off in our apartment building, so now instead of being insanely hot at night, it's kind of chilly. Oh well. I'd definitely rather put on a pair of socks than sweat all night.


I did an easy 4 miles yesterday and a 6 mile "long run" this morning. Yesterday afternoon was also lower body strength training day, and D met me at the gym to work on my squat technique. I'm trying to work on my hip and ankle flexibility and get down to a true parallel squat. Anyway, I'd been having trouble keeping my torso upright, and I wanted to get some feedback. D's suggestions were to move the bar farther down my back and to get my stance a little wider, both of which helped a lot. I'm still using a very light weight (only 65 lbs) but I think my form is getting there, and I'll start being able to add more weight soon.


We had gyros for dinner in the rooftop garden at Parthenon Gyros off of State St yesterday. Calling it a rooftop garden was a little bit of a stretch because I think the only plants out there were fake, but it was a nice evening to eat outside.

RW people- I think I have almost all of you added to my blog roll and my sage feed. YAY! I love spying on people, and this is even more intrusive than Facebook. Haha, just kidding... you think.

This is going to be a fairly boring weekend. We'll just be doing a lot of errands and normal stuff. Weeding the garden. D needs a hair cut. But that's okay because we're leaving for FL in a week for my brother-in-law's wedding, which is going to be a lot of fun.

I do have a question for all of you out there- especially now that there might be quite a few RW people reading. Do you ever feel weird/bad about choosing to do sedentary activities? Maybe not the college students because you are up and walking around a lot, but now that I have a sedentary job, I feel kind of bad/guilty if I'm not doing something active all the time after work and on the weekends. I do run, ride my bike back and forth to work, and climb stairs with co-workers at lunch time so I don't sit alllll day, but sometimes I want to sit and work on my cross stitch or read after work or on a weekend afternoon, and I feel guilty for not being outside biking or walking or whatever. Anyone else get this way? I know it's irrational, but it's alway nice to be irrational with others.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grocery Shopping Adventure

So these things aren't exactly daily, but whatever ;).

Got in an upper body workout yesterday and a 4mi run with 2mi tempo this morning plus a little yoga here and there. Tomorrow will be lower body after work. I'm going to be really glad when the gym is open in the morning again. I love to have my workout done first thing.

I think I may have some insight into what's bugging my hip, too. I think it's doing the stairs. Monday I felt a twinge right in my trouble spot when I was on my second round of stairs. I did a double round today, but I think I should stick with just one set from now on to see if that improves the problem.

I'm not sure if I've posted about it before, but I have a conversation partner who I meet with each week so she can practice English ask questions about American culture. She also tells me a lot about China and Chinese culture, which I think is really cool. Yesterday she was asking about the English word for some foods so we took a trip to the grocery store. It was neat walking up and down the aisles and talking about all the different foods and seeing a grocery store from a completely different perspective. Actually, it was kind of strange for me because we usually shop at Trader Joe's so I'm not used to that much variety. There's some pretty crazy stuff in grocery stores these days.

It's been neat to see all these RW forumite blogs. I'm going to do my best to add all of you to my Blogroll and Sage feed reader. Feel free to add me and make comments!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Little Norway

We all need a little enchantment every now and then, don't we?


Just an easy 4 mile run this morning. My has been doing much better these last two runs. I can only hope it's really on the mend and not just fooling me. Tomorrow afternoon will be upper body lifting. I'm counting down the days until the gym is open in the morning again. It's sooo much more convenient.


D and I managed to eat an entire watermelon in two days. That's way healthier than what I want to eat right now, which is a vending machine pack of peanut MnMs. Fish is on the menu tonight. Maybe with some lemon pepper seasoning???


We went out to Little Norway yesterday. I'll let you read about it if you're interested, but here's a few pictures:

This is a Norwegian church that was not built on or for the area but was given a home here.

Dragons on top of the church just in case it needed a little extra protection against evil spirits.

Nice view of the valley and one building with a sod roof.

Guest Post and Giveaway

Hey everyone!

Here's a snippet of what's going on in the blog world as it pertains to me:

I've got a guest post over on the blog See Jess Run.

And Zesty Cook is giving away a blog make-over. I'd love to personalize this blog more, so it would be super cool if I won.

The real update will come later.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Monday

I'd like to take a moment to remember all the men and women who have died in service to our country, including my cousin Chris who was killed in Iraq in 2007.


I ran the Madison Quarter Marathon yesterday. I got there early enough to see the marathoners start, which was exciting. Way back when we moved to Madison, my goal was to run that marathon, but between the winter and my hip problems, it just wasn't to be. But it was a beautiful morning, and both of those things seemed long ago and far away.

Anyway, I'll start with the good things about the race. The shirts were nice. It was very well organized. There was plenty of parking, and it was very easy to get in and out of the parking lot without having to pass through runners still finishing the race. The course was very nice, flat, well marked, and full of spectators. Both the marathon and the 1/2 marathon had pace teams. All in all, a great, smaller race.

The negatives pretty much all had to do with me, haha. I went out way too fast and kind of died at the end. The fog at the start of the race burned off, and it was much warmer by the time we finished. I think part of my problem, too, was that I had an apple and peanut butter in the morning before the race, and those aren't really quick energy foods.

I finished the race in 54:17 (it's 6.55 mi), which is an 8:14 pace. Not great, but not awful. My 10k time was right under 52 minutes, which again is not great but not awful. Really that race was too long for the training I've been doing. I just don't have enough endurance to knock out a more than a 10k right now considering the longest run I do each week is just about 10k. I still want to race, though, and I'm going to look for some more 5k options this summer.


Brat Fest

Yes, that is a semi converted into a giant grill.

And that wasn't the limit to the excitement. Here are some of the other highlights:

Budweiser Clydesdales

Guy from the UW marching band balancing a trombone on his face.

The Weiner Mobile.

There was also a carnival.

We didn't buy any brats, but it's a huge charity fundraiser, and a big part of Madison culture, so it was my duty to take D. Plus it was 1/2 a mile (or 8 miles! according to D) from the race expo.


D bought a bike this weekend so we've done a bit of riding around. Here's a picture of me in my natural habitat: Babcock Ice Cream.

Today we're planning to work in the garden and go out to Little Norway in the afternoon if the weather stays nice.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Rainy Saturday Update

Got in a nice, easy 4 miles this morning in some light rain to get my legs loosened up. Tomorrow is the 1/4 marathon. Not sure how that will go at all considering I haven't run 6.5 miles at once in quite a while, but I'm just glad to go and be part of the festivities. I don't know a lot of people who are running in any of the races, but I hopefully will get to watch one friend finish the 1/2 marathon.

I also had a good leg workout yesterday. One of my major goals is to develop my leg strength and flexibility by working on getting into a full squat. I'm not there yet, but yesterday I think I was getting to parallel or maybe even a little below. I still have a hard time keeping my upper body upright, but I think I'm figuring out the movement. I'm going to try to get with DH one day so he can watch my technique and give me a few pointers.

We had a great dinner at this place last night

Note, I did not actually take that picture, but that's what the sign looks like. The restaurant looks like a bar from the outside- and it pretty much is one- but they had wonderful food. I haven't had a steak in a very long time, so it was a nice way to celebrate our anniversary.

Also, I think I'm going crazy because it smells like someone is making apple cinnamon muffins right now. My neighbors- all of them- are nice people, but their tastes run more toward curry and garlic than apple cinnamon. Maybe someone taught the turkeys how to bake.

After dinner we walked down State St.- the main drag near UW Madison- up to the capital building.

That one I did take, which I guess is why it's blurry. Awesome. I also took some pictures of a duck swimming in a fountain, but they didn't turn out. And a picture of a duck swimming in a fountain sounds kind of lame right now, anyway.

Well, I need to get it together and get to the grocery store. We're also going to the race expo, Brat Fest, and shopping for a dress for my brother-in-law's wedding. I think this is going to be a fun, busy weekend!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Mega Post

I was going to post yesterday, but I finally got all my camera stuff together, so I thought I'd hold off until today to bring you... pictures! Pictures of things in my real life! Not one's I've downloaded because I'm terrible at remembering the camera and all it's necessary parts!

Let's see what's been going on in...


Upper body weights Wednesday, tempo run Thursday, lower body weights today. I've been pleased with all my workouts lately. I think I'm going to try to up the weights on a few of my lifts next week. I've been able to it 4x8 on some of my work sets pretty consistently for the last few weeks so I'm going to add on 5lbs to those (knowing I won't be able to do as many reps) and try to get back to 4x8. My 2 mile tempo was right about 8min/mile pace.

I'll probably hold back a bit on squats today because I don't want to be too sore for my race on Sunday. It's not a huge race for me so I'm not really changing my schedule around for it. However, I don't want to feel like I'm running through mud the entire time.


I finally tried my first Green Monster!

It's actually a Red Monster because it has berries it it that mask the color of the spinach. I think it not actually being green helped me get the first one down. But it really didn't taste like spinach. I used the tip from the anonymous poster and used some juice for sweetener.

Tonight we are going to Smokey's- a fancy pants steakhouse- for our anniversary dinner (our actual anniversary was Wednesday). I'm planning to get a steak because I can't even think of the last time I've had one. Normally I go for seafood for fancy dinners, but I think I should take advantage of this being a steak place.


How about some cute baby animals!?!

That's actually kind of hard to see. Geese don't really like it when you try to get all up on their babies to take pictures.

Hmm... these pictures are kind of disappointing. I'll have to try again this afternoon.

We have so many cute baby geese around these days. Too bad the adults are mean and poop everywhere. And they aren't afraid of anything. I had a whole family of geese cut me off when I was riding my bike home from work yesterday. The nerve!

I also had a nice time eating lunch with a friend yesterday. She's a triathlete and has a huge year ahead of her- a 1/2 marathon Sunday, a 100 mile hilly bike ride coming up, and an Ironman Tri at the end of the summer for a cherry on top. I really admire her dedication to training and also her healthy attitude about rest and balancing her school work.

Taking some time off has made me realize that I do want to get back into distance running and maybe triathlons sometime in the future, and it's sort of a carrot out there for me to focus on having a healthy diet and getting my leg back to normal and having a healthy attitude toward working out so I can truly balance my hard workouts with rest and recovery.

I'm excited for this weekend because there's lots of fun things in store! And more pictures!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Okay, so I'm back.

I tried out being Reformed Runner for a little while, but I think that blog was a little too serious. My posts over here are a more lighthearted, plus I think Wordpress is kind of a pain to use, and more people have this blog address.

I still like having the Food, Fitness, and Finding Balance labels because they give me direction, so I think those will stay.

On that note:


Leg day yesterday and 4mi with intervals this morning. I used the Smith machine to practice doing full squats, and I'm thinking about using it for my warm-up on leg day from now on. I don't want it to become a crutch so I'm not planning to do all my squats using it, but it does help me with the balance part of getting into the full squat.

My run this morning went really well, too. I did 10 x 1min fast, 1 min recovery. Most of my "fast" minutes were between 7min/mile and 8min/mile pace depending on if I was going uphill, into the wind, etc. However, I hit one interval at a 6:5X pace, and I was super excited. I know there are people who can easily run a marathon at 6:5X pace, but for me it was pretty awesome to just see a minute there.


I need to go out and water the garden today. We were practically swimming in April, and now the ground is quite dry. The good news is that all our plants are still looking... alive... after the freeze scare Saturday night.

Finding Balance-

I risked life and limb yesterday to take pictures of the baby goslings out by the lake (geese are mean), but I forgot the camera-to-computer connector thingy. Because I don't like getting on the computer when I'm not at work, I probably won't post them until tomorrow, but they were super cute. Actual geese are mean (as I mentioned before) and poop everywhere. I have a picture of that for you, too.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Up and running

I've started running again! YAY! I'm mostly, but not completely, pain free. Doing some serious dynamic stretching like sun salutations before I start seems to help a lot. I'm going out of town for a conference tomorrow, but hopefully I'll still be able to do some running in the mornings.

I'm still struggling somewhat with the decision to back off running so I registered for the Madison Quarter Marathon (about 6.5 mi) so I could still feel at least a little like a "real runner". But I'm committed to trying this plan for 3 months. If, at the end of it, I don't like it, I can always build back up and start serious running training next year.