Monday, November 30, 2009

I'm back

But I don't have much time to post right now. I have a project at work that needs to be done ASAP. Minneapolis was fun, and I will post about it soon.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Berbee Derby/ Thanksgiving recap

I had a really nice Thanksgiving yesterday. Of course I missed seeing my family, but it was nice to have a peaceful day with D by myself. It was just the right balance of relaxing and productive that I enjoy when I have time off.

The morning started with a COLD 5k race. Not too much to report. My finish time was 24:51, which put me in the "happy" outcome for my race goals. I think that's a pretty good description of how I felt about the race. I pushed myself hard the whole way and was able to give a kick and pass people at the end (which has been a problem in the past). I totally smoked two 10-year-olds right before the finish line, haha. But it just wasn't a PR day or a PR course, and I'm fine with that. The more I race and push myself the faster I'll get. Overall I think I'm ending the year on a positive note.

Then we went out to lunch and had a delicious meal. We came back, chilled out for awhile, and then canned marinara sauce. I can't believe how many tomatoes it takes to make just a few jars of sauce (also, freezing tomatoes is not a good idea). I am thankful for mass production and grocery stores. After canning, we watched Up and I ate my leftovers from lunch.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and will continue to have a good long weekend. We are off today (unpaid for me- Thanks state of WI :( ). We are avoiding all retail establishments and will hopefully enjoy a relaxing day exploring the Twin Cities.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Good news right before the weekend

First I'll start with the running stuff. Thanks to all of you for your input/kind words. I did an easy run yesterday and an easy run today with some strides, so I'm feeling pumped up and ready for the race tomorrow. I left my watch at home so I wouldn't be temped to freak out about the pace. What I'm nominally freaking out over is the fact that it's supposed to snow tomorrow morning, but snow's better than rain. I seriously doubt it will be heavy, and it's way too warm to stick. So here are my race goals: sub-25: Happy, sub-24:30, Very Happy, sub-24:11 (making it a PR) Extremely Happy, sub-24: Ecstatic. I'm not sure how realistic it is to think I'll take those 11 seconds off tomorrow, but I've had some good runs in there. A 23:59 5k is a 7:43 min/mile pace and my current PR is a 7:47 min/mile pace. I do remember the "out" part of the course being really fast last year, but I ran the 10k rather than the 5k so I'm not sure how the "back" part will be. Wish me luck!!

Warning: Weight loss navel gazing ahead!!

Second, I had my final body comp testing done today for the online-weight loss program I've been doing. It's had it's ups and downs, but it was pretty cool to get a sense of the overall change between the beginning of June and now: down 8lbs (from 130lbs to 122 lbs at about 64 in) and 4% body fat (from 25%-21%). It's not a huge amount of weight or fat, but I definitely feel like I went from "too heavy" back in the summer to "normal me" now. Part of me wants to try to lose a bit more weight so I can feel like "lean me" again (which is in the 115-118lbs range) but most of me is happy where I am. Now I just need to keep it off as I move into winter hibernation mode.

End weight loss navel gazing.

I hope you all have an awesome Thanksgiving. I'll be back on tomorrow sometime for a race update.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday, Monday

Thanksgiving countdown: 2 days

Tonight we're having a Thanksgiving potluck with our church group, which should be a good time. We are bringing salad, drinks, and pumpkin bread, and there will be ham and all kinds of other goodness.

I was afraid this week was going to drag by, but it looks like I have quite a bit of work to do at work, so it makes the time go by quickly even though there aren't many people in the office. Still, I'm super excited about the holiday and our trip to Minneapolis.

Thanks to everyone for the feedback on my slow long run post from Saturday. I feel like I need to clarify a few things, though.

1. I didn't feel fatigued on my run. I just ran really slow. If I had felt bad and ran slow I wouldn't have been too concerned, but because I felt good and ran really slow, I was wondering what was going on.

2. I think I overstated how difficult my workouts were. I do a FIRST-type workout schedule where I do 3 days of "hard" running, plus one easy run, plus two days of cross training. It's just that my cross training is spinning, which is a code word for intervals, but it's not really the same as running intervals, ya know? Also, I don't do as many intervals as most of you do. I might only do 2x 1mi or 4x800, so my workouts aren't really though from that standpoint, and my daily runs are usually around 5 or 6 miles with a long run of less than 10 miles- so again, not that tough. I want to work on building up endurance again, but I want to focus on speed first because I'm SO SLOW it takes me FOREVER to do a long run.

And maybe it was just a flukey thing. Again, thanks for the input. This is actually an easy week until my last race of the season on Thursday. I did spinning today, but it was with the easy instructor :).

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday in the park

I think it was the 21st of November??? Just doesn't quite have that ring to it. Anyway, no parks for me. I did drag myself out of bed at 5am (normal weekday time) to run so I could get to our high school service event at 9am.

The run was not so great. Actually my pacing was great. It was a progressive run where I did 4x15 minutes, each set progressively faster. And I did that part right. The only problem was that my pacing was an entire minute/mile slower than I would have liked it to be. When I reviewed my run at the end I was totally shocked how... well... bad it was. I didn't feel bad, but I'm afraid these cruddy Saturday runs are becoming a regular thing.

I'm not sure what the best thing to do is. Maybe I need to take Fridays completely off. My Monday-Thursday workouts are all interval-type workouts (MW on the spin bike) so maybe my body just has too much built up fatigue at that point. I do a super easy short run on Friday, but maybe even that is too much. I guess it couldn't hurt to try it for awhile. But you guys know how it is... it feels so good to get up and run in the morning. I'm open to other suggestions if anyone has any.

My other workout for today was coring apples for 3 straight hours. Well, not a complete 3 straight hours. I took a 20 minute break in there to chop apples before I went back to coring. This was for our service project today. A local neighborhood center has a huge pie sale every year at Thanksgiving to raise money for their programming, and the need slave labor to assemble and bake 1000 pies. Well, that was us today. Also, somehow coring apples seems to have aggravated my IT band. Explain that one to me...

Anyway, hope all of you are having a restful and/or productive Saturday. I admit to having done very little useful since I got home from apple time, but we are due for grocery shopping tonight. Tomorrow will be chore and errand time.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fun Friday

Sorry I was lame about posting the last two days. It wasn't that I was even super busy or had absolutely nothing to say... I just didn't get my act together to post.

I did spinning Wednesday, 4mi easy today, and 5.5 mi with 2x1 mile hard yesterday. I don't know what the deal is with my pacing/where I'm running. I really felt like I was giving even effort- maybe even a harder effort on the first mile- but I finished the first on in 7:59 min and the second in 7:41 min. Don't get me wrong, I was super happy with the second mile, but what's up with the first one??? I warmed up, did drills, focused, and pushed myself hard all the way through to the end. I just don't know. I usually run pretty even splits when I race. Meh. Someday I need to suck it up and do an interval workout on the indoor track to see if the problem is with a) me or b) the ground. I'd like it if it were the ground, but if it's me, I need to figure something out so I don't "waste" my first interval running slow. A longer warm-up? Hmmmmm.....

Otherwise my only excitement was lucking into what I hope is a really cool Christmas gift for my parents. I actually put it in the mail yesterday because I was too excited to wait, and I wanted them to have it before the holidays. Can't say what it is because I know they occasionally read this.

This will be another somewhat busy weekend. We're having dinner with some friends this evening, and I have to go help bake pies at a neighborhood center with some of our church high school kids tomorrow morning. I doubt the FIU game will be televised out here so I don't have to worry about missing football.

I'm getting excited about Thanksgiving weekend. Hope you all have a great Friday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

They're baaaaaaack

The lady bug invasion has begun again. Actually it's been going on for the last few weeks, but fortunately it's not as bad as it was last year (so far). Last year they completely covered our windows and door, and you couldn't get inside without carrying 10 or so with you. This year they've mainly been sneaking in, and last night one decided to join us for dinner.

We tried to feed it some meatloaf, which it seemed interested in for a few minutes. I don't know if it was actually trying to eat it, or trying to lick the katsup off, or trying to live in it, or it has a 3 second memory and kept thinking it was discovering it for the first time.

Special note to say that yes, we do clean our apartment. It is not filthy and infested with insects. However, we live in a fairly old building, and we know that trying to prevent every insect from coming in is a losing battle. Plus, we wanted to see if it would eat meatloaf.

Running-wise, I did 5mi with 4 x 1/2 mile. My paces were all over the place- ranging from 8:30 min/mile to 7:23 min/mile. It's a little annoying because I can't really tell if the problem is uneven terrain or uneven effort or wind coming off the lake. I mean, during my fastest interval I had to make a u-turn and I almost got hit by a guy riding his bike on the pedestrian path. Makes no sense. I wish I had access to a track, but alas, the only one near me is inside, and I'm reserving that particular boredom for when it's below 0.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Surviving Spinning

Whew. We had another tough spinning workout this morning. Actually it was a repeat of the killer workout we had a few weeks ago. We got to pick if we wanted to do something new from the regular Monday instructor or an old workout from the regular Wednesday instructor who was covering today. We chose old. Big mistake. I recognized the first song and knew we were in for a world of tough. At least there was no race pace, but I think 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off is my new least favorite phrase to hear.

Yesterday wasn't super exciting. I feel like I spent the whole day at church between the actual service, a training I had to attend in the afternoon, and high school youth. At least I had a chance to start playing around with my Christmas ornaments this year. It's not my favorite ever, but I think they will be pretty easy to knock out. I can't tell you what they are because some people who read this are getting one (whether they like it or not), and I want it to be a surprise.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mmmmmm, brownies

Quick post from my while brownies bake in the oven (mmmmmm). We're going to have pizza and play games at some friends' house this evening, and I felt like baking so we could bring something along. The Gator game is on in the background, but I don't get the impression it's going so well.

I did have a good run this morning. I did 9mi with 4x15 min at tempo pace. The tempo parts weren't as fast as I'd have liked them to be, but I felt strong the whole time, and the 9 miles went by really fast. I guess I'd rather have a strong but slow run than a fast but cruddy run (although strong and fast would be the best, obviously).

Good luck to Jess, who is running the San Antonio Rock N Roll Marathon tomorrow!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Fun Friday

I don't know about fun so far, but it is Friday. I did an easy 4mi + a mad dash for the bus this morning. It's starting to get chilly out there- I broke out my tights and heavier gloves for the first time today- but the weather is kind of freakishly mild. We're lows in the 30s, highs in the 40s and 50s through the Sunday before Thanksgiving. I'm not complaining, but my understanding is that is HIGHLY unusual. We definitely had some serious snow before last Thanksgiving.

Dinner last night was my fourth dish for my "Cook 4 things from each Cooking Light before I get the next issue" goal.

We made stewed pork and squash:

The only difference is that we cooked it in the crock pot rather than on the stove. It turned out pretty good and we have enough left over for another meal. Plus, I didn't use the entire squash for this dish so I'm going to try roasting the rest for dinner on Saturday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


It's another Take it and Run Thursday.

This week's question is from Yummy Running:

What is your favorite race? Do you live for the marathons or crave a 5k? Would you rather race in the morning, afternoon, or at night? Do you like big races with tons of people and encouraging crowds or do you prefer the smaller hometown races?

This has actually changed for me over the past year. Before I probably would have said the 1/2 marathon, but now I'm really enjoying doing 5ks. I like to feel fast (even though I'm not), and I like the fact that, because the distance is short, there's a lot less pressure on any individual race. Have a cruddy race? Do another one next month. The only distance I'm really not that fond of is the marathon. I like the idea of running a marathon, but I don't really like the training, and I don't like the fact that you spend weeks and weeks building up to ONE RACE on ONE DAY when so many things that are completely out of your control can go wrong.

As far as big vs small and local vs destination, I'd probably say small (but not so small it's poorly organized) and local. I love the ability to get up one Saturday or Sunday morning and decide I want to race that day. Or decide I don't want to race. As far as time goes, I think you can't get much better 10am on a Saturday.

Speaking of running, I did 5.5 miles this morning with 2 miles with the goal of running a little slower than 5k goal pace. Unfortunately I ran MUCH slower than goal pace (ave pace 8:13 min/mile vs the 7:55-8min/mile I was going for). The good news is that I felt much more peppy than I did yesterday (thanks, homemade pizza for dinner last night), but the bad news is that it didn't translate into speedy legs. Oh well. I guess these things happen.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Quickie Post

Hi all,

Thanks for the moral support about the frustrating day at work yesterday. Today has definitely been better. I've been able to buckle down and get some stuff done/figured out that will hopefully allow me to go forward with my project more quickly.

I had kind of a cruddy spinning workout this morning. The workout itself was good, but my body just wasn't into it. My legs did not want to go fast on the sprints, and I felt kind of blah. My average watts at the end of the workout was about normal, but that's more a testament to the fact that our Wednesday leader puts together some great workouts than anything I did. Doing a half-way job on one of her workouts will still kick your butt.

Part of the reason for the cruddy workout was probably just that it was a random cruddy workout (we all have 'em) and part is probably because I'm back on the weight loss bandwagon. I kind of backslid this last month. I thought I was happy with my weight and ready to move into maintenance land, but at the end of the month I decided that no, I wanted to keep working on it. When I decided to lose weight I made an A, B, and C goal (A is the lightest) and I'm 2 lbs over my C goal. Even though being in weight loss mode kind of stinks, it seems silly to stop now- especially because losing weight so far has helped me look/run/feel so so so so so much better.

Enough of that, but I know some of the other ladies who read this are trying to lose some weight, and I want you to know I feel your pain.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I'll start by saying that I did run 6mi this morning, and I did have Chinese food for lunch with coworkers, so my day has a had some pretty good parts but dang... the project I'm working on has just been one frustration after another.

I'm caught in this place where I want to procrastinate on doing it because I know it's going to annoy the heck out of me, but on the other hand, it's taking forever, and I just want to be DONE for a little while. Yeesh.

Part of my problem is that I don't really know how to use Access, and I don't want to start messing with people's queries, although that might be the easiest way to fix some of the issues I've been having.

Anyway... enough negativeness. I'm going to try to push though here and get a little bit more done before it's time to go. I just keep telling myself that I'll feel so much better if I have everything resolved and ready to go when I get here tomorrow morning.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Squidtacular Sunday

So we did it. Yesterday we broke open the squid. And it was kind of a let down. I was expecting to be grossed out beyond belief, but really it was just salty, kind of fishy jerky. I think D even kind of liked it. Anyway, D is going to take it to school and leave it in the break room because there are almost certainly people in his department who will want it.

I ran 7 easy miles yesterday morning and have done no other exercise since unless you count wandering through Walmart. Today is my rest day, and I'll probably do some more errands and house cleaning stuff. I guess I'm still a little tired from the trip because I went to sleep at 8:30 last night and woke up at 6:30 this morning. What can I say? The combination of the sun setting at 4pm and the Gator game being insanely boring (sorry, Gators) knocked me out.

Also, we got hotel reservations (thanks, Dad M) and tickets to see A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater for our Thanksgiving Weekend trip to Minneapolis. I also made reservations for us to have Thanksgiving dinner at Quivey's Grove, my favorite fancy place in Madison. Yes, yes, we could make our own Thanksgiving dinner, but we're doing a Thanksgiving pot luck with our Bible study group the Monday before, and thats enough holiday cooking for me.

Friday, November 6, 2009

YAY Friday

I had a warmer but windier easy 4mi run this morning. My legs are a little dead from intervals + strength training yesterday so this short, easy workout "hit the spot".

In other news, I've been doing some cooking this week. In keeping with my goal to make 4 recipes from each of my Cooking Light issues, I made orange-soy glazed salmon and roasted Brussels sprouts with apples on Tuesday evening.

The fish was good, but I'm not sure I'll ever like Brussels sprouts. Nearly everything tastes good roasted with oil and honey, but not those guys. Palatable, but not good.

I also made spaghetti squash for the first time last night. No pictures, but it was so easy (20 min in the microwave- don't forget to poke holes), and we both liked it. Spaghetti squash FTW.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


It's Take it and Run Thursday, and guess what?!? It's my week. Here's my question:

You’re on the selection Committee for the Nobel Prize for Running. Who would you nominate for the winner and why?

It could be an elite or a beginning runner....a courageous ordinary runner in your community who inspires you.... or the local running club leader, race director, or running store owner who gives tirelessly back to running. It could be the senior runner in your community who knows no age limitations.

You decide. Who do you think deserves to be recognized for enriching and advancing the experience of running for others?

Without a doubt, I'd nominate Usain Bolt. I watched him run the 200m world record race in Berlin (on TV of course- I missed the 100m but saw it on YouTube). So. incredibly. amazing. I don't have much more to say that that; although I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else writes.

As for running, I did 5.5 miles with 3x1 mile at 5k pace. The first mile was slow: 8:13, but the second two were dead on at 7:50. I'd love to run a sub-24 5k at the Berbee Derby this year. If I'm running that fast at 6am, maybe it's a possibility... I have to run 7:43 min/mile to run a 23:58. It would be tough, but it's a maybe.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Terrors from the deep

After going to bed around 7:30pm last night, I'm feeling much more awake and alert today. I know I'm not completely caught up on sleep, but it definitely helped. I was only my normal 5am groggy when I got up to go to spinning. The class was tough as always, and I'm planning to do some kind of weight training this evening. I don't have conversation partner tonight so I have more time on my hands. I actually may stop doing conversation partner- at least for the foreseeable future- because two out of the three in my group are taking the TOEFL in the next few weeks. If they pass I doubt they'll want to continue, and to be honest, I'm kind of ready for a break from it.

That may have been the most poorly written paragraph ever. Topic sentence with supporting sentences following it? Not on this blog, haha. At least I don't have too many commas (you know who you are ;) ).

On to the title of the post. Our next door neighbors are a pair of Taiwanese brothers and the older brother has always been very friendly toward us. Their mother is visiting from Taiwan and brought some food over for them and as a gift for us.

Part of it was these pineapple cookie/candy things that I liked but D didn't.

It was basically a cookie on the outside with pineapple jelly in the middle.

Like I said, I really enjoyed them so they are all gone now. What is still sitting on our counter, daring us to try it is

Squid jerky.

We are going to try it, but we haven't been brave enough yet. Maybe tonight right before dinner so we can use the pizza as a chaser if we have to. Our neighbor says it's one of his favorite things so maybe it's not too bad, but it's still kind of scary. None of my favorite things have tentacles.

I will definitely let you know how that one goes.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

New York, New York

I'm back, my e-mail's been cleared out, stuff is mostly put away, my pictures have been loaded, and I'm ready to give a New York re-cap.

We left Madison on Wednesday evening at about 6pm, drove through the night, and arrived in the city in the early afternoon. After unpacking, we were let loose on the city. My group consisted of me, another leader, and about 10 kids (this fluctuated a little bit day to day). The first evening we went down to Times Square and Rockefeller Center and then took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.

Unfortunately none of my Statue of Liberty pictures turned out, so you'll have to settle for this one from above the ice skating rink in Rockefeller Plaza.

The next day we hit China Town for knock-off purses and had lunch in Little Italy. Then we went back uptown to Central Park and walked down 5th Ave to see FAO Schwartz and the Apple Store.

Here's a picture of our group in Central Park

And me with some toys.

That night most of the kiddos went to Phantom of the Opera. I hung out with another group that wasn't going, and we went back to Times Square.

Our last day we went to The Natural History Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and finally to Waverly Place (from a Disney Channel show?) which was right off the NYU campus. We spent the remainder of the time before we had to catch the bus watching NYU students parade by in their Halloween costumes. My favorite was Tinkerbell riding a mountain bike.

We got back on the bus at 9pm and drove through the night, arriving in Madison at 12:30pm. I was gross and exhausted, but had a great time. Will I do it again next year? Not sure. But I definitely want to go back with D. Very fun trip.

Oh yeah... and that running thing... I did 6 chilly miles this morning. The Weather Channel said it was 29. Brrrr.

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm baaaack

Hi all,

I'm back from NYC, but I have so so so much to catch up on that I'm going to have to save my recap for another day (perhaps tomorrow?). Suffice it to say that I had wonderful time, survived the bus ride, came back with all the kids, and can't wait to go again with D.

No workouts over the trip, but I did plenty of walking around. This morning was a 60 min spinning class, and I'm planning to do some weights after work. It was hard to get up this morning, but I'm actually feeling pretty good right now. We'll see how far that lasts into the week.

Sorry for the wimpy post, but hopefully I'll make it up to you with a great one full of NYC pictures.