Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to all!!!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sunlight is highly underrated

I just got back from my first warm, sunny run in what feels like a very long time. I'm at my in-laws in TN, and, I can say that run was worth the 14.5 hour drive down here yesterday. I was only planning to do 5mi and ended up doing 7. Since I'm restricted to a loop that's slightly less than a half mile, that's saying something.

Otherwise we're just relaxing here. We'll do church at 5pm, dinner, and then gifts!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Last day of work. Woot!

It's snowing pretty good outside right now, but "snow showers" today should turn into "scattered snow showers" tomorrow, and we should be in TN before the "wintry mix" hits on Thursday. Hopefully we won't have much trouble with the weather on our drive.

I'm hopping on the treadmill this morning for 5mi??? Something like that. Running and all other exercise will be on a somewhat irregular basis for the next week and a half. I definitely will run and continue with some yoga and push-ups, but I'm looking forward to taking a little break from working out first thing in the morning, every morning.

That's my thing... I'm just so ready to chill out for awhile. I have a couple odds and ends to do at work today. We got page proofs for a paper yesterday, so I spend the entire afternoon checking numbers in tables, one by one. Glad that didn't come today! Then it's packing and sushi to celebrate the end of a very tough semester for D.

Posting will be sporadic over the next week and a half, but hopefully I'll get some year-in-review, new year's resolution, running entries up.

Safe travels to all.

Monday, December 21, 2009


Two more days of work before Christmas vacation!!!!! For better or worse, I have a ton of stuff to do so the time should pass quickly. Aside from a little bit of wrapping and some last-minute ornament assembly, I'm done with all our Christmas gifts. The apartment is (reasonably) clean. All that's left is for D to finish his exam Tuesday afternoon, pack, and leave. Can you tell I'm getting excited?

Yesterday was a nice mix of productive and relaxing. On the productive side, I got the apartment cleaned up, did a bunch of laundry, and put away a few things we still had outside. On the relaxing side, I worked on some ornaments, cleaned out my in-basket, and updated my address book while watching some of Season 1 of 30 Rock that I checked out from Blockbuster. I love that show- especially the doctor. So funny.

Saturday I went to my first hot yoga class in a long time. A yoga studio near us offers community classes on Saturday afternoons, and I've been meaning to check one out. I took Inner Fire Flow, and it was great! I was a little worried about it being too hard, but it wasn't. I mean, there were a lot of things I couldn't do... or couldn't do well... but it was "I could work toward this" hard rather than "I hate this, I want to go home" hard. I definitely want to try to go regularly after the break.

I'm gearing up to do some elliptical and treadmill running at the gym. Next Monday I will not be awake and blogging at 5:51AM. Woohoo!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fun, fun, fun

First I want to say I'm sorry about my bad attitude about Christmas cookies yesterday. That was a pretty dumb thing to go on and on about. Life's too short, right?

In fact, Thursday's ugly sweater party was fun. This was the Christmas party for youth group leaders. We didn't wear ugly sweaters, but some people did. Mostly it was guys who borrowed something from their mother's closet. So they weren't necessarily ugly... just sequins are out of place on a man in his late 20's. It was catered by Qdoba (mmmmm) and held in the house of the Badger's Women's hockey coach (who was also on the Miracle on Ice team in 1980). It was pretty cool to see all their sports memorabilia up on the walls. Both he and his wife are hard-core triathletes now.

The funny thing I found out at the party was that my sophomore group actually won the gingerbread house decorating contest. This makes us undefeated (as far as I can tell) in youth group competitions this fall. We won the song lyric contest with "Going to Aunt Claire's" (to the tune of Livin on a Prayer), the Amazing Race competition (with some generous help from me at the event I was running), and now the gingerbread competition. We tried to make a real house, but the roof collapsed, and the kids decided to make it a gingerbread mobile home. They used icing lids for wheels, and I think one got a satellite dish on the top. Pretty funny. I guess it was creative enough to win the contest. There were a lot of other teams that had much nicer looking products.

Last night we went over to a friend's house to play games and drink Christmas-themed adult drinks. I had a candy cane martini that immediately had to be diluted with an equal part of water so I didn't spend the evening asleep in front of the Christmas tree! In any case there was good conversation and it was a lot of fun. The couple who hosted the party are also into singing/playing bluegrass music and want to play with D sometime, which would be nice for him because it's not often he gets that opportunity.

We didn't leave until 11:30 and I didn't get to sleep until 12:30 (had to finish Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, haha) and wake up until 7:30 this morning. Unheard of for me. I feel like I'm in high school again. I feel a little guilty for sleeping so late, but really, I don't have that much to do today. Just run, finish wrapping presents, and clean up the apartment.

The last point of business for today is that I finished reading the New Testament this morning. One of my 101 in 1001 goals is to read the Bible (+notes). Now that I've finished the NT, I'm what?, a third of the way done? I'm not sure if I can get through the entire OT next year, but we'll see.

I'm going out for 6mi in a few minutes. It's much warmer and less crazy out there than last week. Hope everyone has an awesome Saturday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

No... more... cookies... please

There are a lot of deserts out there, but the two that really tempt me are ice cream and cookies. Fortunately ice cream has largely been out of the picture lately, but it seems like I can't go anywhere without delicious cookies in front of me. I can turn down a Chips Ahoy any day, but homemade cookies... oh man. And the problem isn't having a cookie. The problem is that once I start, I can never eat just one. Which was definitely the case at our HS ministry leader party last night.

Tonight we're going to a game night (love games + socializing) with drinks and treats (kind of scary after yesterday's eating), and I hope I can stay away from the sweets. Drinking too much alcohol isn't a temptation because in my hands it might as well be called Ambien, but one drink can soften my resolve to steer clear of the chocolate chip cookies.

I'm sure I'm making too big of a deal about this, but I'm so afraid of gaining back the weight I lost over the summer and fall because I have zero self control in some situations. Okay... deep breaths... I didn't know I was going to go on that long about this topic.

Now for something completely different...

I think the treadmill run on a different treadmill was successful. I put the speed where it was supposed to go, and it was hard but not really fast (which I guess is what a tempo run should feel like). We've really come to the point where (at least for me) doing speedwork of any kind outside is not going to work. Although the sidewalks and roads are much better, there are a lot of places where you have to be careful about footing, and it's hard to do that when you're trying to haul it. I do plan to do my 6 mile loop outside tomorrow.

Hope everyone has a happy Friday. Only 3 more days of work for me before Christmas vacation. Woohoo!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Treadmill Experiment

My plan this morning is to try an experiment in treadmill tempo running. I have found that running on the treadmill (definitely my home treadmill and the treadmills at the gym I went to in NM) was way harder than it would be outside. HOWEVER, I think the treadmills at the UW gym seem a bit easier. This could be because it's cooler at the gym than at home or I'm more awake when I use them or any number of things.

Last week I was supposed to do 4x12 minute tempo intervals at a set pace that would have been a little difficult to do outside but definitely achievable. On my treadmill, not so much. So I'm going to see if I have a different experience on the gym treadmill. It's not that I want to make it way easier on myself and delude myself that I can run faster than I can, but I want to give myself a fighting chance on workouts where I'm trying to hit certain paces.

So anyway, we'll see how it goes.

Tonight we are going to my youth group leader Christmas party. It will be catered by Qdoba or Famous Dave's (BBQ) so it should be pretty good. It's an ugly sweater party (is anyone NOT having an ugly sweater party this year?), but we don't have ugly sweaters and are not going to buy something dumb like that. We entertained the idea of D wearing one of mine and me wearing one of his, but he will definitely not fit into one of my sweaters without ruining it so that won't be happening tonight.

Whew... wish me luck... 2 more busy days at work this week and 2 more next week. The end is in sight but I have SO MUCH to do before then (although, woot, we got almost all our Christmas cards finished last night).

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

You know it's cold when the digital thermometer stops working

Our digital thermometer stops working when it's somewhere less than 10 degrees. I would have thought 0 degrees, but I just checked the Weather Channel and it's 5 (feels like 5) so we know that thing likes being outside in cold weather as much as I do. I'm pretty sure I spent less than 2 minutes total outside yesterday. I should probably start taking vitamin D.

I did a treadmill run yesterday with 10 x 30 sec fast, 30 sec easy. Today will be some elliptical.

Actually this winter has been much easier on me so far, even though we've had monster snow and really cold temps. I think I've made peace with being inside in the dark all the time. I think my inner lazy child is enjoying all the sitting around.

One of the things that's seemed to help this year is doing yoga DVDs at home after work. It allows me to de-stress and move around after sitting all day, and it seems to work better than walking on the treadmill. The ones I've found that I like are Power Yoga for Flexibility (Rodney Yee) and Yoga Shakti (Shiva Rae). Some of the poses on Yoga Shakti are totally impossible but she's got some good beginner stuff on there too, and I'm moving into being able to do some of the "regular" series. My mom also sent me a Denise Austin (the one selling potatoes on TV) video called Mind, Body, and Soul. I tried it out last night (not the "soul" part because D got home and I didn't want to dance around in front of him, although I totally would have if I had been alone) and it was pretty good. There's a bunch of good balancing stuff like dancer pose and warrior 3, and a bunch of stuff where you lift your leg forward or backward. I swear I do not possess the muscle that allows you to do that.

I've asked for a couple other yoga DVDs for Christmas this year to round out my collection, and I'm also thinking about getting 30-day Shred. Anyone have opinions about Shred? It seems to be pretty popular on the internets. Or suggestions for other good DVDs?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Quick one


I have exactly 9 minutes to get this post done so I can hop on the treadmill for my run. I really don't have time to sneak in a post at work this week, and with all the holiday preparations/events in the evening I don't have time for one then either! This is why procrastination = bad.

Anyway, I did get a run in outside on Saturday. I was considering staying in on the treadmill, but then I looked at the weather forecast and remembered, "Oh yeah, this is the first day of the next three months of my life." So I bundled up big time- really too much- and set out to do my 6mi loop. I hesitate to call what I did a run. It was more like an all-terrain winter adventure. The conditions on the roads and sidewalks were mixed. I had everything from fallen tree limbs to packed snow to dry sidewalk (why UW are the sidewalks nicer than the roads after a snow?) to sidewalk glaciers. It probably took me an hour and a half to get all the way around, but I did it and was happy for that.

Yesterday I did 45 min on the elliptical and then hopped on the treadmill to do 20 minutes fast. When I set the pace, I thought, "There's no way...", but actually I hung on and made it the whole 20 minutes. I had a minor crisis of faith at 6 minutes to go, but by the last minute I was able to bump the speed up. Yeah, the calibration was probably wrong because this treadmill was way faster than our treadmill at home (although I'd had 45 minutes to warm up so that couldn't have hurt), but I felt pretty awesome after I was done. I've felt a little bit down about all things healthy eating and fitness wise lately and this run really gave me a boost.

Also on the bizarrely good at a sport front, I bowled 124 in a game last night. We had our church small group end of the year outing last night, and I gave away our gifts and ornaments (still not being disclosed because there are a few people who read this who will be getting them) and people seemed to like that.

Anyway, I'm now one minute over my time limit! I must fly! 10 days to Christmas!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Wowee it's cold out today. We're up to a balmy 5 degrees (feels like -10), which is a real improvement compared to -2 (feels like -28) this morning. Today I was very thankful for the treadmill, the bus, and lots of warm clothes. I came into work wearing socks and sheepskin boots, jeans with heavy running pants over them, a tank top, a long sleeved shirt, a heavy sweater, a hooded sweatshirt, my heavy jacket, heavy mittens, the hood of the sweatshirt pulled over my head, and a hat on top of that. And I wish I'd had my scarf!

Tomorrow should be slightly better and then we're back up to the 30s over the weekend. Whew. I've only done 3 treadmill runs this week, and I'm already ready to get back on the roads. I'll do an easy elliptical tomorrow since I missed spinning yesterday (gym was closed) and *hopefully* a run outside on Saturday.

Not much else to say except that I thoroughly enjoyed my snow day yesterday and wished that I'd woken up to another blizzard (if I could guarantee it would be a wussy one like yesterday's).

I'm planning to do some laundry and some yoga when I get home. I think I'm ready to move up to doing one of the more advanced sequences on my yoga DVD. We'll see how that goes. Have a good afternoon, all!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow Day

I've definitely been neglecting the blog lately. Sometimes I feel really motivated to the post and sometimes not so much. Anyway, I'm feeling nice and relaxed after a surprise day off.

When I say the university never closes, it's pretty much true. The last time non-essential employees were told to stay home was 1978. So we were expected to get really terrible weather today.

We did get a lot of snow (15 or so inches)

But the weather was actually quite mild. While D was busy doing this

I was working on this

Otherwise I didn't do much of anything today, and it was awesome. I worked on my ornaments a little bit, I read some Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I did a bit of yoga, and I took a nap. I also got in a 6mi run on the treadmill. Very grateful for the treadmill. I'll be back on there tomorrow as it is going to be COLD. Like high of 7, -20 windchill cold. I kind of wish we could have had tomorrow off instead! It's miserable to be outside in that kind of weather... even for a few minutes.

Oh! The other highlight is our latest Trader Joe's find. Gigantic pears that taste like grape Flav-o-ice pops!

If you have someone to share it with, I would highly recommend these because they are HUGE.

Anyway, it's back to real life tomorrow. Hope everyone stayed safe and warm today. Even though we got off easy, I know some places really got hammered by the wind.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


Well, so much for posting about Minneapolis yesterday. I was 1/2 way through it when I had someone come in to my office and I had to do actual work. It was very sad. But I have good intentions about finishing it. Thanks, auto save.

I got in a pretty good run this morning. 6mi in around a 9:35 min/mile pace. I'm feeling less bad about my paces because I checked out the McMillan running site, and I'm actually right where I should be based on my last 5k PR when I'm doing my long and steady state runs. Tempo and some of the fast stuff is another story, but it's COLD out there, and sometimes it's hard to get moving when you feel like a popsicle.

Today is errand day and the SEC Championship, plus we have some more Christmas gift making to do.

Hope you all have a great Saturday. Now let's see if I can finish that Minneapolis post.

Friday, December 4, 2009


... was a very cool place. I hope we get back sometime soon.

We arrived in town on Friday afternoon and visited The Art Institute. It was a huge museum and they had a ton of paintings. Not as cool as the Art Institute in Chicago (my favorite art museum to date) but pretty cool nonetheless. The best part about our visit is that we found out about tours of a cool prairie-style house owned by the museum that gives holiday tours on weekends during the season.

So Saturday morning we got up early and toured the Purcell Cutts House. This was one of the only historic homes (maybe the only) I've ever wanted to live in (they had a modern bathroom). It was beautiful and open and sunny and they had a window by the front door that had Peek A Boo set in the glass.

When I get rich and famous I totally want one of those.

Here's a view from inside:

The outside:

And one of the art glass windows:

After touring the house, we had lunch at a Malaysian restaurant down the street from the art museum. They had a durian smoothie on the menu. Fortunately for all the smoothie machine was broken. Our waiter said it smells like a combination of baby diaper and gasoline. Ew.

Afterward we drove/walked around the UM campus and got milkshakes at Annie's Parlour- a local burger and milkshake place that was recommended to me by a friend from youth group who went there for undergrad.

After UM we went down to the riverfront to the Mill City Museum where we learned about the history of Minneapolis and the milling industry that was thriving there around the turn of the 20th century. Here's a view of the Mississippi River from the museum observation deck.

That evening we saw A Christmas Carol at the Guthrie Theater. You wouldn't think it, but Minneapolis is actually a big theater city.

Sunday morning is always hard to plan because few things are open. We went to the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden and walked around until I froze and it was time to go home. A couple cool pictures from there (Click to see the whole thing. I don't know why Blogger is chopping the side off):

And there were so many things we didn't get to see! If you're in the Midwest and want a good long weekend trip, I'd definitely recommend Minneapolis. This also helps me to check off one of my 101 in 1001 items.


It's Friday and the BIG PROJECT I've been working on is done, so it's time for a little blog updatification.

As I said yesterday, we had our first snow of the season. It was going pretty good yesterday and has stuck around in the cold weather today. Here's a picture from this morning:

It was time to bust out these babies:

I wore these boots pretty much every day for 6 months last year, and I was a little sad to have to get them back out. Say goodbye to normal shoes until May!

I decided to take today off running as an experiment in making my Saturday am runs feel a little more peppy. (SpecialK- You are so right that I shouldn't make judgments about my running pace like that. The most important thing is that I got out and enjoyed a beautiful cool morning, and I shouldn't forget that). At first I felt a little bad about making this a 2 rest day week, but I've been snooping around and have found at least a few zippy people out there who do more XT-ing and resting. I KNOW I shouldn't compare myself to others, but... what can I say?... It's human nature.

One thing I'm super excited about is my increased levels of flexibility. I've been doing about 20 minutes of yoga a day for the last week or so, and I've noticed so much difference in my hips and hamstrings. I've done yoga before, but not as an every day thing, so I'd never seen it work for me. I only have two yoga DVDs right now, but I've got some on reserve at the library and have asked for a few for Christmas. I think I've finally found my cure for the winter antsy stay inside blues.

Stay tuned for a separate post about our trip I'm planning to write after I grab some lunch!

Thursday, December 3, 2009


It's here!

Another busy day

I don't have much time to post, but I hate to let multiple days go by without any updates. I had a good run Tuesday and an okay run today that should have been faster but wasn't. Trying not to get too bent out of shape about that.

Just lots of stuff going on at work, which makes me not want to get on the computer when I get home. I have time to take mini breaks and read/comment on blogs, but I haven't had time to create an actual post before now (I'm waiting on some data). Hopefully I'll have a chance to share some details and pictures of our trip to Minneapolis soon.