Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The healing power of sleep

A one hour nap after work + 9 hours of sleep last night = feeling much better.  My congestion is almost cleared up, and for the first morning in a week I don' feel so tired.  After going to sleep at 8:30pm, I woke up at normal time, but I laid in bed and coasted until about 5:20am.  By definition, you have to sleep in at least a little bit when you are on vacation.

Our goal is to hit the road by about 10-10:30am so we can arrive in Pleasant Prairie at lunch time.  We'll eat lunch and then hit the Jelly Belly factory.  My coworker said that the tour was pretty cheezy, but the Jelly Belly store is awesome.  I have to get some of these to send to my brother.  I just can't decide between peach/barf, chocolate pudding/dog food, or strawberry jam/centipede!

Click on the link- it's definitely worth your time.  Which flavor combination would you pick?

After Jelly Belly, we drive up to Sheboygan.  Depending on the time, we may go to the Kohler Art Center .  Or just get some dinner in the Riverfront area.  Tomorrow we have the Kohler Tour and we will visit the art center if we don't have time to do it today.

All in all, I think it's going to be a fun trip with enough stuff to keep us occupied but not so much we feel like we are rushing around or have to get up super early, etc.

Well, I'm off for 6-8mi before I spend a ton of time in the car.  See you Friday!


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Vacation watch

One final work day before I start a 5-day uninterrupted string of chill.  No 4:40 am wake up calls.  One small trip planned but mostly just time to relax.  

Last night's dinner was comfort food redux.  Does this picture look familiar?

It should... it's the same picture from yesterday, but who says you can't eat the same meal two days in a row.  Especially if it's tasty.  (No Cincinnati chili from the side bar because I realized I forgot to buy tomato sauce :( ).

I did, however, make some delicious but unattractive caramel apple oatmeal cookies for our church small group meeting last night.  Maybe something is wrong with my leavening agents... my muffins didn't rise, my cookies fell apart.  I opened a new box of baking soda, but what I thought was going to be a new box of baking powder was actually opened already, too.  Still, they were popular.  This is all that's left of 2 dozen:


The other problem with the recipe was that if one of the pieces of caramel was touching the pan when they cooked it oozed and burned.  The recipe doesn't address this issue, but I think it would be better to leave it out at first, and then just stick some pieces in the top of each cookie after they are formed on the sheet.

Because we are going to be traveling on Thursday, I'm doing my tempo run this morning.  It's another progressive run, but this time I'm going to try a different course that should have less traffic and construction.  I hope it goes well.  I'm still in this not sick/not well limbo- stuffy nose, headache, coughing, and maybe a little stomach weirdness- but not bad enough that I'm stuck in bed.  Hopefully all I need is a little vacation to cure me!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Irresponsibility, what's your policy?

Over lunch yesterday D, and I were discussing our plans for the afternoon.  He was totally unenthusiastic about going in to work, and I was totally unenthusiastic about all my options at home.  Since none of that stuff was absolutely necessary, we decided to throw our lovely to-do lists out the window, and do something totally unproductive that we both enjoy: visit open houses.  House buying is a long way off for us, but we like to see what's out there.  And houses in the Midwest are pretty different than other places we've lived because many of them have these gigantic maze-like basements that are half finished.  A huge "random junk room" seems to be a standard feature of houses in Madison.  Neither one of us was crazy about anything we saw, but it was nice to do something different.  I don't always the get the opportunity to take one, but when I find myself resenting things that I normally enjoy (yoga, piano) I know it's time for a break form routine.

On the "taking care of yourself" theme, I made a simple but delicious comfort food dinner for myself before youth group.  Salad, grilled cheese, and butternut soup to dip it in.  Mmmmm.

Yesterday's 5 mile easy run was cold and sloooowwww, especially to start out.  At 2.5 miles I was ready to ask for a ride home, but at 3 miles I started to perk up and finished the run with a 9:40-something overall pace.  Not bad for a recovery/easy run.

Today I'm back in the gym but unfortunately not the normal gym because the university is on spring break, and it doesn't open until 11am.  The other gym- the Shell- is kind of ghetto.  It's just a bunch of equipment scattered around an indoor track.  No music.  It smells weird.  The roof leaks.  Nothing to watch if you are on the cardio machine except people running around the 200m track (if you are lucky enough for there to be people running around the track).   But hopefully lifting weights won't be too dull.  At least it's still open in the morning.

Last but certainly not least we're at t-2 days until vacation.  I have lots of work meetings in the next two days, but hopefully I'll be able to finish one of my projects before we split.  Wish me luck getting everything done and not spending the next two days wishing I was already in vacation land!    

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Week in review- Breakfast at Tiffany's Edition

So the movie Breakfast at Tiffany's... not very much like the book.  Well, a lot of the things that happened in the movie also happened in the book, but the tone was completely different.  When we picked up the DVD box in Blockbuster, I thought "Uh oh" because the story was neither romantic nor a comedy.  But it was a cute movie, and I see why everyone goes nuts for Aubrey Hepburn.

Running on the other hand went according to plan.
U (3/21) - 5 miles easy in 48:17 (9:40 min/mile pace) + yoga
M (3/22) - Strength training
T (3/23) - 7mi with 10 x 1 min fast in 1:04:52 (9:16 min/mile) + yoga
W (3/24) - Spinning
R (3/25) - 6mi progressive tempo in 52:57 (8:50 min/mile)
F (3/26) - Strength training
S (3/27) - 11.5 mi long run in 1:45:26 (9:11 min/mile)

Bringing the grand total to 29.5 miles run.  2x strength training, 2x yoga.

I have to say, I think I'm really liking this 5 days on 2 days off per week schedule.  I've felt energetic and ready to push myself on every workout this week, and I'm waaaay more motivated to do strength training because it now fits in my normal workout time.  

My long run yesterday went pretty well.  The weather was much nicer than last week so I was a little disappointed that I didn't run faster.  However, the pace felt relaxed and easy the whole way, and I ran a negative split, starting out around 9:20-something min/mile and finishing with the last couple miles around 8:50-something min/mile.

I am having an issue I hope someone out there can help me with.  Both last week and this week I had a side stitch for almost my entire run!  It wasn't so painful I couldn't keep going (obviously), but it made me nervous to even take a sip of water until I was done (which wasn't really a big deal because it was 30 degrees out).  I'm not going anything different than on any other day of the week except wearing a waist belt with a water bottle in it (which I have done many times before with no problem).  Any one have suggestions for preventing this?  Or helping it go away once it starts?  

Otherwise yesterday was mainly a "get everything done" day.  I was tired by the end, but we have a clean apartment, clean laundry, and apple cinnamon muffin batter waiting for us to get back from church.  As far as making bread and gnocchi goes- didn't happen.  No potato ricer to make gnocchi and somehow we are missing the little paddle that mixes stuff in the bread machine (which I didn't figure out until after the bread dough was supposed to be ready- argh!- how do you miss something like that??).

Today should be pretty chill.  Run + church + brunch + making caramel apple oatmeal cookie dough to have for our church small group meeting tomorrow + yoga and piano + maybe a little reading and/or nap time in there.  The only 2 days of work this week!!!

Hope you all have a great Sunday.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Thanks for the new weather, can I have some new sinuses, too?

Well, the weather for my long run is much nicer this week than last week.  It's not 19 degrees and windy, and  there's no snow or ice on the ground for which I am very thankful.  Unfortunately I'm really stuffed up.  I don't actually feel sick, but I'm super congested.  I don't even think it's allergies.  D is about 2 days ahead of me in the "feel bad get better" cycle, so I'm just hanging in there, waiting for it to go away.  I'm also trying to moderate my expectations for this run.  I don't need to freak out about my time.  I just need to accumulate time on my feet.  Or rather miles.  I'm planning to run 11 of them in however long it takes me.

Otherwise not much else is going on.  We had dinner out last night at Bonfyre, which was great as usual.  I had a cup of the butternut squash soup (the best thing on their menu, IMHO) and the Bonfyre rotisserie chicken salad. This place just opened up in a building below a cardiology clinic off the beltline near the car dealerships and still it has been packed every time I've gone.  I guess it's perfect for Madison because it's swanky inside but you can still order pot roast.

Today is chore day for me and tax day for someone else I know :).  I also want to make another loaf of bread and maybe some gnocchi (recipe in this month's Cooking Light)???  Last week when I made a loaf of bread I realized I had no idea what kneading meant.  So I kinda mashed on it for a few minutes, and- as you would expect- it didn't really rise.  Two YouTube videos and some reading from my King Arthur Flour book later, and I think I'm getting the idea, and I want to practice a bit.

Well, I and my nose are off to run.  Hope you all have a great Saturday!

Friday, March 26, 2010

In the beginning...

Were the sweet potatoes.

Yes, this is the unassuming start of this year's garden.  The idea actually came to me via our apartment newsletter's "science for kids" section.  Take sweet potatoes and stick toothpicks in them so they will dangle down into a glass jar.  Keep the jar filled with water, and they will start to grow.  When they outgrow the jars, transplant to the garden or a larger pot.  Our garden book actually says sweet potatoes are a good container garden crop, so we may experiment with growing these on the porch rather than the garden, depending on how much sun they need.  Hopefully we'll have a sweet potato jungle on our window sill in a few weeks.

Continuing on the "productive around the house" theme, I actually cooked something that didn't involve the microwave last night!  Sometimes I just have weeks like that.  Anyway, I made Rachel Ray's shrimp (substituted scallops) and feta bake  (see sidebar for recipe) and served it over brown rice.

It wasn't bad, but next time I'd make more sauce and serve it over linguine or some other kind of long pasta.  Tonight is dinner out night- not sure where yet- but we are talking either Southeast Asian or this wood fire grill place I've been a few times with work but D has not.

Thanks to all of you who shared your favorite blogs.  I'll be checking out some new sites/blog rolls when I'm on staycation next week!

Last, I had a great running workout yesterday.  My progressive run was supposed to be 10 min at 9 min/mile, 10 min at 8:30 min/mile, 5 min at 8:15 min/mile and 5 min at 7:50 min/mile.  Because it was easier, I set my watch to lap every 5 min.  My 5 min splits were 9 min/mile, 8:19 min/mile (kinda fast- supposed to be 9 min/mile still), 8:14 min/mile, 8:04 min/mile (the trend continues, supposed to be 8:30 min/mile), 7:52 min/mile (supposed to be 8:15 min/mile), and 7:28 min/mile (supposed to be 7:50 min/mile).  That last 5 minutes just about killed me.  It felt like the end of a really hard 5k, which I guess is what it was supposed to feel like.  It's too dark for me to see my watch when I'm running in the morning so I have to try to go by feel.  I'm always afraid that I'm running slower than I think I am so I try to push myself a little extra whenever I'm trying to hit certain paces.  Well, I guess I did that yesterday.  It's exciting that I really think I'm getting faster, and that my A goal 1/2 marathon pace (8:15 min/mile) is maybe not totally crazy (the McMillan calculator doesn't think so either).

Anyway, I've been feeling a little sick for the past couple days (I think this is why I was in a blah mood earlier in the week), so I'm glad today is an off day and I'm just doing strength training this morning.  However, that does require me to catch the bus in 11 minutes.  Have a great Friday, all!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Nice to meet you

I had a great time chatting with Jamie of Running Diva Mom yesterday.  It's kind of strange for me to see someone I only know from a computer screen appear in real life.  If only that could happen with TV... Apollo Ohno, you'd be mine.  Hahaha.  Just kidding.  Not sure where that came from.  Anyway, we talked about how we got started running and a little bit about blogging and races in Wisconsin and our upcoming vacation and their trip to Disney.  It was a great detour from normal life.  Just what I've needed lately.  

No other excitement from me.  I'm about to head out for a 6mi progression run.  The goal is: warm up, 10 min at     9 min/mile pace, 10 min at 8:30 min/mile pace, 5 min at 8:15 min/mile pace, 5 min at 7:50 min/mile pace.  I guess this will be a good first test of how well I  know what each of those paces feel like.  A heck of a lot harder at 6am than at 10am is one thing I know for sure.

So back to the title of the post.  This morning I took a minute to update my blogroll in the lower right sidebar with the blogs I read regularly.  Introduce me to a new blog you love that I'm not reading right now.  It could be a running blog or cooking blog or whatever.  Anything you think I might like or that you love but isn't well known around the internet.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Looking forward

I'm feeling kind of blah again today. I think I need a vacation infusion. But instead of going on and on about that, I'm going to share 3 things I'm excited about.

1. Meeting a new running/blogging friend! Running Diva Mom and I just figured out that we are practically work next door neighbors, and we are meeting up for lunch today at the swanky Cafe HCLC. Actually (hopefully) it *should* be warm and nice, and we'll be enjoying lunch outside. But with Wisconsin weather in March, you never know. I have another real life friend in Madison who I met through the intertubes, so I'm excited to make another.

2. Starting the garden. We got our garden plot assignments at the seed fair last Saturday, and we're planning- weather permitting- to turn part of it over next week to put in the cold weather plants (onions, spinach, etc.).

Ah yes, there's our little slice of earth, #A4. This year we know waaaaaay more about the whole gardening process, so I'm excited to get started again. Plus we have my parents' copy of Crockett's Victory Garden, which does go 70's big on the fertilizer, but is the easiest to use, most comprehensive gardening book I've ever found. Unfortunately it's out of print, so check your parents bookshelves.

3. Staycation/Factory Tour of Southeastern Wisconsin. This time next week I should still be asleep! I'm taking Wednesday and Thursday off for D's spring break (plus Friday off- unpaid-thanks, State of Wisconsin).

The first stop is the Jelly Belly factory in Pleasant Prairie.

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Then a trip up the East Coast to Sheboygan.

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Which I'm sure doesn't strike you as a prime vacation destination, but they do have- what we have heard is- the mother of all factory tours, KOHLER. (Yes, they make sinks. Yes, I'm still excited.) There are a lot of cheezy factory tours out there (pretty much every major name brewery tour comes to mind), but this one sounds like the real deal. Would I like to go on a tour that lasts 3 hours, and requires you to be at least 14 years old and wear closed toed shoes? Yes please.

Evidently, Kohler is also a major supporter of the arts so- although you might not expect it- there's a lot of art stuff in Sheboygan, which we also plan to check out.

And then a scenic drive back home.

Well, I'm out! What exciting things do you have coming up?

Edited to say: I can add a 4th thing! I got an I love Your Blog award from Alee of Love Is...

Not trying to be a narcissist here, people, I just can't figure out how to make the image any smaller! Thanks so much to Alee. I'm pretty sure I've visited your blog before, but you are now officially added to my Google Reader.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Something old

I've been struggling with what to write about this morning. I started with work (too whiny), other personal life stuff (too boring), and running (also boring- even to me), so I'm going to share two things- one old book and one old movie- that I've enjoyed lately.

Treasure of the Sierra Madre - Not to be confused with High Sierra or Sahara (we checked out all three from the library to make sure we got the right one). Treasure of the Sierra Madre is a1948 Humphrey Bogart movie (set in 1925) about 3 drifters who set off into the mountains in Mexico to find gold. It's both an action movie and explores the psychological side of greed and how much is "enough" (I'm pretty sure I wrote the second half of that sentence in an English essay once). I'd definitely recommend it if you're into old movies, or you're looking for a freebie to check out from the library.

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Wow, what a great story! This was another "oh, I've heard of this" selection at the library Friday evening. 5 pages into it and I was hooked. I can't wait to finish, and I'm planning to request the movie to watch this weekend. If you've never read/seen it, it's the story of mysterious, glamorous "socialite" Holly Golightly. It's such a short story (only about 110 pages) that I can hardly say more without giving away too much. I definitely recommend it because 1. It's very entertaining, and 2. It's one of those stories that "everyone knows about" so it's probably good to know about it, too.

Otherwise yesterday was a normal day. I made mushroom and red pepper pizza for dinner, but we inhaled it before I could take a picture.

Today is another normal day. Run 7mi with 10x1min fast, work, yoga, practice piano, cook dinner, finish Breakfast at Tiffany's, and hopefully a little bit of an early bedtime. Have a good Tuesday, all.

Monday, March 22, 2010

And back we go

The weekend always goes by too quickly. Just when I feel like I've got everything done and can chill out, it's time to go back again. Not sure how today will pan out as the big boss is back from a trip last week, but we have a collaborator coming into town, and then big boss x 2 are going on vacation for awhile.

Otherwise, yesterday was beautiful, and the rest of the week should be, too, which kind of makes up for Saturday. Yesterday afternoon I practiced piano, did some yoga, made a Target run, and went to youth group. If I haven't said it before, sophomores are a fun age. They are old enough to not be too obnoxious (for the most part), but they aren't old enough to be too cool and not listen. Well, they were kind of obnoxious at the beginning of the year, but they've gotten waaaaay better as time has gone on. We've been talking about some pretty serious "teen issues" like depression and addiction the last couple weeks, and my group has been able to maintain about 10 - 15 minutes of serious, reflective discussion each time. This is a big improvement on the beginning of the year especially the infamous Pokemon night when I couldn't get them to do anything but draw/watch each other draw Pokemon on the whiteboard.

Well, I'm off to the gym for some lifting action. Have a great Monday, all.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Week in review

Here's a recap of last week's training. It was an easy week because I ran a 10k last Sunday, and it marked my first week of replacing one of my cardio sessions with strength training and my first week of "official" 1/2 marathon training.

U- Shamrock Shuffle 10k 49:30
M- 45 min full body strength training + yoga
T- 6mi easy in 57:00 (9:30 min/mile) + yoga
W- 60 min spinning
R- 6mi easy in 56:43 (9:23 min/mile) + yoga
F- 45 min full body strength training
S- 10 mi long run in 1:31:31 (9:10 min/mile)

Which brings the grand totals to:
Strength training- 2x
Yoga- 3x
Running- 28.2 miles

I'm pretty happy with everything this week. The race exceeded my expectations. My long run ended up being much colder and icier than I thought when I left, so I was happy with the pace overall (about 55 seconds per mile slower than my "A goal" pace) and how strong I felt when I finished.

In completely unrelated news, I think dinner last night was a success! Here's the "table scape" pre-guests:

No pictures during the actual dinner because... well... I still feel kind of awkward about doing that. Anyway, we had some nice conversation and after dinner entertainment from their little girl who is perfecting the art of smiling, flailing around, and rolling over. I really enjoyed putting the meal together, and I hope they will indulge me in the opportunity to do it again. Until then... I'm on the look out for my next culinary victims.

And that's about it. It's a beautiful day out, and I'm going to enjoy it one way or another. See you on the flip side.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Where'd my spring go???

Last night we had some "snain" and this morning I woke up to this

It's actually not even cold out. I could hear the drip, drip, drip off all that stuff melting, and it's just 7am. Still, I want my 65 degrees back!

I'm headed out for 10 miles in a few minutes here. This will be my first outside long run of 2010. I did some 10 milers on the treadmill earlier, but this is my first official 1/2 marathon training run. Exciting.

Last night's dinner out at Oysy was... meh. They had a great selection of food, but if I wanted sushi, I would definitely go to Sushi Muramoto, which is one of our favorite "special occasion" restaurants. And if I wanted seafood (other than fried fish... mmmmm), I'd go back to FL.

Tonight we are having friends over for dinner. I've wanted to do this for a long time, but our dining space is somewhat limited. Right now we use our dining room table as a desk (man, I need to clean...)

and this counter thing as our dining room table.

So sadly, I'll probably never have any 12 person dinner parties ala Ina Garten, but we can fit 4 just fine. I'm planning to make Cajun Red Beans and Rice with some sausage I bought from the meat store a few weeks ago.

Last but not least, I am happy not to be at work today. I was in dire need of a break from the computer. On the upside, I got to learn about transitional modeling, which is the "new thing" our group is going to start doing for analyses. I didn't actually get my model to run (and when they run they take like 1/2 a day!), but I was getting a handle on why it wasn't running. So as much as I complain about some things about work, I do love the fact that I always have the opportunity to learn something new.

And on that note, it's off into the winter wonderland, although it's probably more like the spring slushland by now.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Brain fever

Is what I had after leaving work yesterday. Too much computer. Too much of one tedious, never-ending project.

As you can see, the annoyance region of my brain is clearly inflamed.

But it's back to computer land I go. Hopefully I'll finish up everything up today and sail into a mostly computer free weekend. Only one more work week until "spring break".

I'm going to the gym to lift this morning. I'm feeling nice and recovered and ready to do my first outside long run in preparation for the 1/2 marathon at the end of May. It's supposed to be chilly and snow in the morning, but it should (hopefully) be like snow globe snow and not blizzard snow. The temperature is still going to get up to 44 so even if it dumps a bunch, it won't stick around.

Dinner last night was spinach mushroom quiche based on the simple quiche recipe from Real Simple. Other than the fact that I think our oven cooks cool because it takes everything longer to bake than the instructions tell us it will, this recipe is tasty and easy and has endless possibilities as far as mix-ins.

The only other thing worth noting is that the geese are back. Living in Florida and New Mexico, geese were not part of my world view until last year, and, while they mark the coming of spring, they are also mean and poop EVERYWHERE. Ick.

PETA should definitely make an exception for these guys.

If I had Photoshop skillz, I'd docotr that picture to show what that goose would rather be doing- taking a big green poop while chasing someone off a side walk.

And on that note, I have to fly! Excuse the inevitable typos. I'll try to fix them when I get to work.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pretending that I can't read

that, like Jessica said, we are forecast for snow on Saturday. I just can't get over how beautiful it has been here the past few days. I guess the good thing about living through a long cold winter is that you really really appreciate the warm days (and believe me, I know the same goes for cool days after a long summer).

Lacey asked yesterday how piano lessons were going. The answer is, very good. I'm surprised at how well I've gotten into the habit (well, it's not quite a habit yet, but I've been good about it) of practicing an instrument again. I really like my teacher because he's been focusing on playing technique, which is something that you really can't get from one of those "teach yourself piano" books. We've also done some extra focus on bass clef (because I played the oboe forever I'm pretty good at trebble clef), and I think I'm improving. At least I'm not accidentally reading the notes as if they were on the trebble clef anymore.

Work is good but kind of slow. Not slow in a "nothing to do" sense but in a "this project is hard/tedious and it takes forever to get anything done" sense. I think the big boss is gone the rest of the week and for part of next week so it's going to be very quiet. It's good in some ways but kind of boring, too.

I'm planning 6mi this morning. Still running easy to recover from the race, but I'm actually feeling pretty recovered at this point. No good dinner pictures today. I met D for a quick dinner at Cosi before his exam.

Have a great Thursday, all.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Not too much to report this morning. Words can't express how glad I am to see that it's going to get up to 65 here today. I've been walking home from work every day because it's sunny and beautiful and WARM. I'm not sure when I appreciated 65 degrees more: now or after a long hot Florida summer. The only thing that could make life better is one of these living in my back yard.

I'm going to spinning this morning, then work, then piano lesson, then meeting D on campus for dinner before his midterm this evening.

We had a nice dinner last night- barbecue chicken on the Foreman grill with roasted sweet potatoes and salad. Lots of barbecue sauce and catsup were added to my plate after this picture was taken. (Mmmmm, catsup).

On that note, it's time for me to get ready to go. Happy Wednesday, all.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Feeling the love

First, I wanted to say thanks to all of you for your supportive comments about exchanging some running for cross training and for the congratulations on my race time. I feel like I look up to many of you as my older/wiser running brothers and sisters (even though some of you are younger than me), so your kind words made my day.

Awwwwwww. Wasn't that sweet.

I'm back out on the roads today for a chilly, dark 6mi. I love daylight savings time at 7pm, but not so much at 6am- at least not this time of year.

Work was pretty chill yesterday. I even got to go to the public health lunch seminar, which was on the increased prevalence of autism over the last 30 years, focusing on the last 10 years in California. And NO, it has nothing to do with vaccines (although the resurgence of whooping cough in California has something to do with people NOT having their kids vaccinated). *Steps off soapbox*

We have what will potentially be a long meeting this morning about preparing for the oversight committee, which may make the ratio of stressed to non-stressed days this week 4:1. But hopefully not.

Last night's dinner was brought to you by Trader Joe's- chicken and broccoli stir fried in Thai green curry sauce. Very flavorful with just a little heat. Sauces are one thing (of many) I am not good at, so it's nice that TJ's has a wide selection.

Well, I better run- literally and figuratively. Let's see how noisy I am trying to be quiet about getting my tights out of the dresser while D sleeps. Have a great Tuesday, all.

Monday, March 15, 2010

And there was much rejoicing

As you might guess from the title, my race went really really well yesterday. The short story is, on a tough course, on a fairly windy day, I ran a 31 second 10k PR and fiiiiinally broke 50 min for the 10k, finishing in 49:30.

Here's the long story.

Traffic was bad and we got there later than we'd planned. Packet pickup was easy, but I didn't have time to warm up before the race start.

Mile 1: We took off slightly down hill. I passed a lot of people who should have started further back in line. Then we headed up the monster hill. Going out it wasn't too bad because it's less steep. You crest one hill, have a little break going downhill, and then have one more uphill part before you start down a steep decline. Mile 1 time 8:10. Also, at this point I noticed that my GPS was going off waaaaay before we hit the mile marker. This made me a little nervous.

Mile 2: Pretty flat. We got some wind coming off the lake, but because we were running parallel to it, it didn't really slow me down. Mile 2 time: 7:25. I was a little concerned by this because I was afraid I'd blow up on the way back. I was feeling "in the groove" though so I just hung with it. GPS went off way before mile marker again.

Mile 3: Still flat. Almost to the turn around. Passing a lot of people. Some chaos at the water stop because wind was knocking the cups over and spashing water everywhere. Mile 3 time: 7:33.

Mile 4 and 5: Pretty much the same as mile 3. We got both head and tail wind as we were coming around the lake. Mile 4 time: 7:48. Mile 5 time: 7:45.

Mile 6: Back over the monster hill. This way is steep. The race got tough for me here because I got passed by a lot of people going up the hill. I just kept telling myself "even effort, you'll catch them on the way down". And for the most part I did. It's funny that as uncoordinated as I am, I pass a lot of people on downhill stretches. I felt a lot better after the downhill, but I had no idea what my time was at that point. I'd only been checking my watch at the mile markers, and I knew I was somewhere around an 8 minute mile. We turned the last corner, and I saw the clock at 49:4X. I was completely shocked that I had the chance to break 50 min for the first time, so I picked it up and finished hard, passing people right at the end. Mile 6 time: 8:24. Last .2: 2:30.

Overall official stats were 49:30min (7:58 min/mile average) finish, which I was very very happy with (not to mention surprised). My GPS tells a slightly different story. I guess I wasted a lot of time/distance passing people at the beginning, because it shows I ran 6.35 mi in 49:35 (7:48 min/mile). If that's true, I ran the same pace as my 5k PR in the fall on a tougher course. Pretty good improvement. Either way, I guess I'm not so out of shape after all.

I have one more shorter race in April, but the next big one will be the Madison 1/2 Marathon in May. I'm hoping that this is just a taste of what the running year has in store for me.

Today is a rest day from running. I'm doing some strength training in the morning and hopefully some yoga after work.

Take care, and have a great Monday! Thanks to all of you who stuck this post out to the end to share in my excitement.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Week in Review

This was a pretty low volume, low intensity training week (only 23 miles and no real speedwork or intervals) leading into my first race of 2010- the Shamrock Shuffle. Stay tuned for my race report tomorrow. I don't have any real time goal going into the race. I just want to get an idea where I'm at to start the new training year.

Here's the breakdown:
Sunday- First strength training workout in a loooong time.
Monday- 6mi on the treadmill in 58 minutes with 10x1 min fast. 30 min yoga.
Tuesday- 8mi easy outside in 1:16:38 (9:39 min/mile). Strength training.
Wednesday- 60 min spinning
Thursday- 5mi easy in 47:30 (9:30 min/mile). Strength training.
Friday- 30 min yoga.
Saturday- 4mi easy with pick ups in 36:00 (9:00 min/mile).

Some random thoughts:
1. Strength training is a good thing. So is yoga. I feel much better when I do both of these things on a few-times a week basis.
2. I ran in shorts for the first time in WI in 2010 this week. This was also the first week I went out with out my heavy coat, mittens, and a hat. It was beautiful. That picture on the lake would not be happening now. I'd be up to my waist in very cold water.

3. I'm flirting with the idea of actually cutting back on cardio by one day each week. I know it probably seems crazy to those of you who pile on the miles (and have great race times to show for it), but in the spirit of non-competitiveness, I think I'm might be able to bring some more intensity to my runs if I take an additional rest day each week.

Here's my rationale: Normally by my Saturday am run, I feel like it's the end of the week and I'm kind of dragging. Part of the reason I've been doing my longer runs on Tuesdays is that I don't feel like I have much oomph at the end of the week to knock out a good long run. However, I had an awesome run this morning after taking yesterday off. Obviously I'm coming off a fairly easy week, but I felt like I had an energy for my run that I haven't felt on a Saturday in... maybe ever. My plan would be to run Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, spin Wednesday, and be "off" Monday and Friday. An added bonus to this would be that I could make Monday and Friday my strength training days, and I could hit the gym during the morning when it's less crowded and my body is conditioned to work out, leaving more time for yoga and LIFE after work.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Whew. Yesterday was quite the workday. Because we run a longitudinal study, we are often interested in change over time. Mostly we are interested in incidence of a disease/condition, which, mathematically and from a data set-up point of view, is not that hard to do/understand. But disappearance of a condition is. Especially when you're trying to keep track of what's going on in two eyes. I worked from about 7:45 to noon trying to set up the data for one outcome. At that point I took a break because I knew what happened in the next hour or so was going to set the tone for the weekend. Either I was going to figure it out, and the rest would follow, or I wasn't going to figure it out and therefore have to stress about it and/or work on it all weekend. Fortunately I hit the jackpot at about 12:30, celebrated by eating lunch, and finished setting up my other outcomes.

I do well working for 1-2 hour chunks with a short break in the middle, so it's very taxing on my brain to push for hours straight. BUT, I feel super accomplished and able to put everything aside for the weekend knowing I'm ready to go on the rest of the project Monday. And I had something tangible to send to my boss before I left yesterday.

Last night we had dinner at Essen Haus, a German restaurant known for serving beer in a giant glass boot.

We didn't partake in that, but any place that brings you soft pretzels with mustard dipping sauce as the "bread basket" gets major points from me. It was definitely a lot of meat + lots of carbs meal, but that's what got our ancestors through the winter. I think it would be a good place to take family members when they visit. I doubt there are many places to get a good schnitzel in Orlando or TN.

We also watched The Prestige, which was a good movie, but the end kind of creeped me out. I partially blame it for the dream I had that my supervisor's daughter disappeared, and we were searching for her in a huge cargo net jungle gym with live monkeys that were pulling our hair and stealing our stuff. Def. not what the movie was about, though.

Today's plan is to get in a short run with some strides during the laundry rotation this morning. I went down to put my first load in at 6:20am, and someone already had one going! That's some dedication. It's cool and drizzly out, which always reminds me of Christmas time growing up in Florida. Fortunately the rain isn't expected to last through tomorrow.

Otherwise it should be a pretty chill day. I want to do some yoga to continue to stretch out and maybe drop by the thrift store. We have a huge St. Vinny's in town that's actually supposed to have some pretty cool stuff.

Hope you all have a productive and relaxing Saturday.

Friday, March 12, 2010


At least I think I'm glad it's Friday. I have a lot to do before I'll feel ready to disconnect my brain from work for the weekend. I haven't slept super well the last two nights- visions of the cumulative incidence of microaneurysms only were dancing in my head- so I hope I can hit a hard stopping point by the end of the day so I can truly relax. Like this

I think all my computer-related back and shoulder problems would be gone if I could stretch like that.

No run planned for this morning. I decided that, although it isn't BAMF, it would be prudent to take today off before my race on Sunday. No, it's not the Olympic Trials, and no, I probably won't PR or anything, but I still want to go into it feeling fresh, not like I'm at the end of the week ready for a rest day. So I'm just going to do about 30 min of yoga before work and an easy run tomorrow with some pick-ups.

Don't you wish you could do that? I'd hate to see what would happen if he lost his balance, though.

Last nights dinner was a tasty reheated lamb and chickpea tagine.

I actually made this in the crockpot rather than on the stove (well, everything except the couscous). It tasted great both times, and I'd definitely make it again except lamb stew meat is really expensive. I think you could do chicken or beef, though. Tonight is dinner out night. Not sure where yet.

Time to go see if I can still touch my toes. Have a great Friday, all.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


After a day of rain and temps in the 40s, almost all of the snow here is gone. I'm certainly not complaining that it's turning into spring, or that it's going to be 36 degrees out for my run. However, it seems like it takes so much "work" to get as much snow as we do, and it's here for so long, but then it all disappears in a day. Like it never even happened. I guess that's how people live up here for years and years. You get winter amnesia, and by the time you hit April, you've already forgotten how crummy February was. Unless you get a bunch of snow in April... then you remember.

Anyway, on to other things. I'm planning to get in 5 easy miles before it starts pouring (eta of that is 8am according to the Weather Channel) so I should be fine and hopefully a de-stressing lifting session after work.

No pizzas were made last night. I had a stressful day at work + we were late getting home because of D's talk and my piano lesson + we needed to go to the grocery store so we went out to our old standby Tex Tubbs.

So the work stress thing... and this is the reason I would not be a good doctor/lawyer/police officer/etc... When someone is stressed out, I pick up that vibe and I become really stressed out. Because our group is on an NIH grant, we have to present to an oversight committee every year. This year's meeting is in June, but the group needs all our materials ahead of time, so we are starting to prepare now. And the boss is starting to stress now (actually I think he's been stressing since after last year's meeting) and that stress is trickling down to the rest of us. I don't think I truly have more to do than normal, it's just that on a regular day everything at our office is very relaxed, and right now you can feel tension when you interact with anyone. So I'm taking some deep breaths and preparing myself to stay late/whatever to make sure things get finished soon and fitting in exercise after work, which always helps me calm down. I don't know how those of you who deal with acute job stress on a daily basis handle it.

Well, gotta run. I hear birds chirping!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The spell has been broken

I am officially out of love with the treadmill. I jumped on it yesterday morning for my run, but it only took 30 seconds for me to decide that whatever the weather was like, I wanted to be outside. And yeah, it was foggy and mud city, but it was warm (31!!!) and wonderful to move forward for a change. It's supposed to rain the rest of the week, which will be fun. Rain + melting snow = everything turns into a lake. But it means winter is almost over. And that makes me so.very.happy. Ah.

Strength training day 2 was good. It was kind of fun to be back at the gym in the afternoon with the regular cast of characters including tattoo guy* and everyone getting ready for spring break, including the guy who was walking around drinking out of a gallon jug of OJ. I am much less sore than on Monday.

I had a fun history lesson yesterday at work learning to use the VAX, which is the original computer network our office started with back in the 80s. It was like I was in Back to the Future, although instead of going back to 1955, I was going back to 1985. D (who is a computer guy and thinks it's hilarious that we still use that thing) told me I should ask our computer guys if its circuits are made from narwhal bones.

Last night's dinner was pan grilled pork chops with pineapple salsa. I made this one a little "semi-homemade" by subbing canned pineapple salsa for fresh stuff (you aren't going to see a fresh pineapple in WI in March). I also added a side of cole slaw and couscous.

We don't have pork very often, so it was a nice change. Seems more like a summer recipe so I'm not sure why it ended up in Cooking Light this month, but it was tasty all the same.

* Tattoo guy has a picture of a Jessica Rabbit-style sexy nurse on his arm that he says is a picture of his wife, "Well, not her body... but her face."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Pumping Iron

Here it is. My new strength training plan. Because let's face it, coming up with the plan is more fun than actually doing the workouts. I'm going to add this as a page over in my new Pages sidebar. It took me a couple hours to get that sidebar set up so I plan to use the heck out of it.

My general strategy is to do 3 full body workouts (I'd actually be thrilled with two, but I'll start out ambitious). Most of the exercises I picked came from the book Strength Training for Triathletes (just another way I'm a triathlon poser)

I can do some variation of most of these exercises at home if need be, but I think I am going to try to get to the gym to do most of my training. It's a lot easier to focus on getting in that last rep when you're not thinking about water boiling over on the stove or what someone is doing with your laundry because you left it in the dryer too long.

Without further ado

3 sets of 15 of each:
Chest press
Seated row
Overhead press
Tricep pushdowns
Bosu ball squats
One legged deadlifts
Calf raises
Bird dogs
Bosu crunches
Side leans

3 sets of 15 each:
Chest fly
Lat pulldown
Upright rows
Hammer curls
Quad extensions
Hamstring curls
Seated calf raises
Hip abductor
Hip adductor
Ab machine
Bosu oblique crunches

3 sets of 15 each:
Inclined press
Bent over rows
Front and side shoulder raises
Barbell curls
Skull crushers
Leg press
Regular deadlifts
Squat into calf raises
Supermans on bosu ball
Bosu crunches

It took me about 40-45 minutes to do the Sunday workout, which is what I was going for. We'll see how it goes on school/work days, but I have easy dinners planned for tonight and Thursday, and I got all the laundry done last weekend (woot) to give myself some flex time.

Last night's dinner was roasted salmon with potatoes and mushrooms.

I actually tinkered with this a lot because I realized I didn't have the ingredients to make the sauce. Instead I made the salmon with tahini and honey (ala HEAB) and sprinkled the mushrooms with garlic and the sweet potatoes with paprika (and later catsup). It was pretty good, but not great. I'd like to try it again, following the directions this time. It takes awhile to cook, but most of that time is hands-off.

And... oh yeah... that running thing. I'm doing 8mi this morning. My last longer run until the 10k on Sunday.

Have a great Tuesday, all.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Walking on water

Yup. I did it. I walked out on the lake. Actually, I did it a couple weeks ago with a coworker, but now I have photographic evidence.

I have to admit, even though it feels solid, it was still a bit disconcerting- especially because it was 45 degrees out. But hey, people were driving ATVs out there, so I figured it had to be fairly safe. However I fear(hope) that it will be thawed out before we have another photo op so I made D stop on the way home from the gym so we could take advantage of this one. Plus, it lets me check off another of my 101 in 1001 goals.

Now that the snow is melting, we are entering the nasty part of winter.

The part where you start to find things that have been buried under the snow for months.

Like old Halloween decorations. Ewwwwwww.

But winter won't be officially over until this bad boy has melted.

Yes, that is a mountain of snow. Yes, a dump truck can drive up the side of it. No, it won't be melted until June.

On a completely different note, I'm am pretty darn sore from lifting weights yesterday (detailed post about what I'm doing to come tomorrow). The heaviest thing I've curled in the past few months is a double scoop waffle cone, so I'm feeling the burn. But it's a good burn. And I know things can only improve from here.

The workout plan is 6mi with pick-ups and some yoga after work. I'm planning to run inside because I'm doing some speed stuff, and it's really foggy outside right now. I'm definitely going to get out again at least one day before the the race.

Alrighty. I'm channeling EE, and I'm ready to get pumped up for Monday! Have a good one, all.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I love outside again

I do. I do. I do.

My run yesterday was wonderful for several reasons.

1. I confirmed I'm not crazy and I'm not as slow as my treadmill wants me to think I am (no an 8:30 mile is not a sprint for me).

2. I confirmed that I can still run up hills (which is important because next week's race involves 2x a monster hill).

3. I confirmed that 20-something degrees is not in fact cold (unless you are by the lake or the wind is blowing).

4. I confirmed that people in Wisconsin are nuts when I saw a man ice fishing on a gigantic frozen lake in shorts.

5. I confirmed that I am ready to get the heck off the treadmill (but slowly so I don't injure myself like I probably did last year).

So yes, outside = good. So good that I went to the outdoor mall and walked around and had a 45-minute conversation with my parents sitting in the sunshine. So nice.

I feel like I've shed a layer of winter blegh. I went into the new Title 9 store that opened near us (Take that places that have and Ikea. Now we have something YOU don't.) I thought their clothes were cute, but I'm not sure that Stacy and Clinton would have approved. Then, after having read so much about it on the Shu Box, I went into our Anthropologie for the first time. Lots of cute stuff... Some frankly weird stuff... I tried on a bunch of adorable dresses. Unfortunately (probably fortunately) nothing I tried on fit my budget or my temperature comfort zone so I left alone.

Well, not completely alone. I left with the new knowledge that- after looking in a full length mirror for awhile- I need to start strength training again. It's funny that I didn't notice before, but when you are constantly dressed in pants, a long sleeved shirt, and a sweater for 5 months, you don't really know what your body looks like under all that. But, le sigh, now I know. So I'm taking action.

Armed with great resources like Jess Lifts and MarathonMaiden's BAMF strength training regimen plus a library of running books and magazines

I'm going to put together a plan that I can do for about 30-40 minutes 2-3 days a week. We have some adjustable dumbbells and a fitness ball thing so I think I'm going to design it so I can do everything at home. It's just easier on my schedule that way. I'll plan to do a post tomorrow about what I come up with.

Well, I've gotta run so I can throw on some make up and we can leave for church.

Catch ya' later!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Side note

I'm going to be playing around with the template/layout of the blog this weekend. If it looks kind of crazy, be patient with me.


It's 8am, and I'm still in my pajamas. In fact, I was just getting up an hour ago. Almost 2.5 hours later than my normal rise. I looooove weekend days like this when there's no pressure to run out the door for anything. I can wake up naturally, take my time blogging and getting ready to run. Oh yeah. That's good stuff.

My weekend began at 2pm yesterday (thanks, State of Wisconsin for allowing us to take our unpaid time of in 2-hour chunks) getting my hair cut and feed pedicured. I'm not normally a girly girl, but I absolutely love having my hair washed and my feet scrubbed and softened. When D finally invents something cool, and we become rich and famous, I'm going to buy a monkey and train it to wash my hair and give me a scalp massage every day. (I said this to my coworker yesterday and she got agitated and said, "No! Monkeys make terrible pets- pay a person to do it!). So yeah, I don't actually mean that if anyone is truly concerned.

To celebrate the thaw I decided to go with BRIGHT on my toenails.

My hair looks pretty much the same as it has for the last 18 months. My only specifications are 1. Short, 2. Not so short that I can't pull it back at all, 3. Easy to style (since I don't have arms growing out of my back or that trained monkey I was talking about earlier). I am considering doing something a little bit different next time, but we'll see. Only 6 more weeks until my next hair appointment!

What else? Pizza at Roman Candle = Good. Second City = funny. What words can you say at the Overature? = All of them. Any topics off limits? = Don't think so. The two women who performed are in some of the Sonic Commercials ( Katie Rich and Sayjal Joshi- they are mentioned at the veeeery end of the article but aren't famous enough to have their own Wikipedia entries yet).

Plans for today? I'm going to run OUTSIDE. Yes. I'm going to do it. It's 23 degrees and getting warmer all the time (it was 17 when I checked an hour ago). It's sunny and so I can tell the difference between shadow vs ice (don't get those confused!). I'm pumped up. It's going to feel great.

Then maybe some walking through the mall? We're going back to Overature for a concert at 4pm (poor planning on my part, I guess, although I'm looking forward to it). And probably dinner out. Guess I need to do some chores in there, too.

Hope you all have a great Saturday.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Heat Wave

Yep. Madison hit 40 degrees for the first time in 2010 yesterday. My piano teacher said he was planning to wear shorts. Soon enough it'll be 50 and we'll have to get this baby out:

Hahaha, yeah right. In July maybe.

(Note: This is not actually a picture of our air conditioner. I have never taken a picture of our air conditioner. It's stashed down in the storage locker of horrors right now. But this gives you an idea).

While we're on the subject of the storage locker of horrors, there's one other point about it I forgot to mention. When the heat is on (October to May- yeesh) the boiler for the radiator, which lives in the basement, makes this mrrrrrm mrrrrrrrm mrrrrrrm humming noise that I call the building's life force. It definitely adds to the overall creepiness of the basement. During the summer, when the heat is off, the dead worms pick up the slack in the creepy department.

Wow, I think I've written more about the laundry dungeon in the last few days that I have about running in the last month. Maybe I need to change the focus of the blog.

Speaking of changing the blog... I have good intentions of trying out some new templates soon and tinkering with the sidebars. Not sure exactly what I want to do, but I really dislike the current template (no theology or geometry).

Last but not least, 5 important things will happen today:
1. I will run 6 miles
2. I will go to work, and not let S-Plus make me cry/turn up my music so I can mutter swear words at it under my breath.
3. I will take 2 unpaid hours (thanks, furlough) and get my hair cut.
4. We will eat pizza at Roman Candle.
5. We will see The Second City at the Overature.

And that's it. Get our our suntan lotion, we're headed for 40 again!

PS- Anyone (besides D) who knows the theology and geometry reference get's a free Halloween night's stay in my storage locker! Just leave a note in the comments.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I guess I'm a good liar

Because no one guessed the correct answer yesterday. Let's go through the answers.

1. I let a katydid loose in study hall in high school. Yep. You couldn't actually get anything done in study hall because the "teacher" spent the whole class period gabbing with students and watching The Crocodile Hunter at full volume. At one point he mentioned hating katydids. I enjoy catching cool bugs. The rest is history.

2. I'm afraid of shower curtains. Yep, but I was purposely tricky with the wording on this one. I'm afraid of walking into a bathroom with a closed shower curtain because in my imagination, there is always something/someone scary lurking behind it.

Do not want. (As a side note, don't you love our very institutional looking bathroom with the kitchen cabinet stuck to the wall (our ONLY storage space in the bathroom as evidenced by my retainer case sitting on top of the toilet.))

3. I sent my brother to the emergency room playing a game of "baseketball" when the basketball I pitched to him bounced of his bat and slammed into his eye. Yep. Biggest black eye I've ever seen. My dad was afraid he'd broken his cheek bone.

4. The best hot shower I ever took was after a three day hike to Machu Picchu. This one is actually the lie. I have never (in two trips) taken a hot shower outside the US.

5. Every time I walk down to our laundry room, I imagine the storage area is actually a creepy mental institution filled with deranged patients who want to escape and grab me. YES. It is so. creepy. down. there. I'm not sure a picture can convey how scary it is, but I'll try.

Yep. Other than being blurry, that's true to life.

6. When I was little, I thought the Christmas song Gloria in Excelsis Deo was about me. Also true. I thought "in excelsis deo" sounded like "It is Chelsea's day-oh", and because I was an only child at two or three, Christmas was all about me.

So there you have it. I'm off for another treadmill jaunt. How is it fair that it's supposed to get up into the high 30s in the afternoon (not that I'm complaining about that- I'm going to put on my bathing suit and sunbathe), but it's still in the teens in the morning? Booo. I told my friend yesterday that because I signed up for a race on the 14th, I guess I have to get outside to run one of these days. I haven't run outside since my trip to Orlando, which was Jan 8-12. Ooops. Oh well. I've gotten in some good training runs, and I'm not injured from falling on ice or otherwise, so I guess it's all good.

Hope you have a great Thursday. I want to see some more truth/lie posts. These are fun!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

5 truths and a lie

I've enjoyed these on other blogs so I'm going to one of my own.

Part of the reason I didn't post yesterday is because my life is not super exciting so it took me awhile to come up with 5 strange but true facts. One of these is a lie. Guess which one.

1. I let a katydid loose in study hall when I was a senior in high school.

2. I'm afraid of closed shower curtains.

3. I sent my brother to the emergency room playing a game of "baseketball" when the basketball I pitched to him bounced of his bat and slammed into his eye.

4. The best hot shower I ever took was after a three day hike to Machu Picchu.

5. Every time I walk down to our laundry room, I imagine the storage area is actually a creepy mental institution filled with deranged patients who want to escape and grab me.

6. When I was little, I thought the Christmas song Gloria in Excelsis Deo was about me.

Alright, friends, guess away!

Monday, March 1, 2010


I'm happy to report that skiing was a success- at least as much of a success as I could have hoped for. First off, both of us had fun. Second, I felt a lot more in control of what I was doing than last time. By the time we left on Sunday I could kind of turn and kind of stop. I only fell down a couple times, and I didn't run into anyone (hard).

Perfect form! (Note that one of the ski patrol workers thought it might be better for me to not use the poles- for my own safety.)

I so look like I know what I'm doing. (This picture was taken 2 minutes before a member of the ski patrol had to come over and show me how to take my skis off.)

Things that still need to be worked on are 1. Doing that side to side thing so you're not aimed straight down the hill the whole time and 2. Stopping quickly without spinning around/falling down. Accomplishing these things will mean I can get on the chair lift and not have to use the cable tow. Because, yes, I did the cable tow for the entire 3+ hours we were there. My arms are so. sore.

Otherwise Saturday afternoon and yesterday were filled with all the normal stuff- cooking, cleaning, etc. I'm gearing up to get on the treadmill for 6ish miles. Have a great Monday, all.