Sunday, March 27, 2011


I have a yin yoga DVD that's 70-minutes of hard core hip stretching.  You hold the poses for several minutes each.  It's intense, and I feel like it helps my recovery after a long run, but... it's kind of boring after you do it a few times.  So yesterday I turned it on with the volume on just high enough that I knew when to change the poses and did the routine while reading a book and drinking a Diet Mt. Dew.  I actually liked it a lot better that way.

I'm also trying to ignore the fact that the weather has gone all winter on us again.  That rain I was complaining about on Wednesday?  That turned out to be a mini ice storm.  And yesterday there was the following exchange at the computer science welcome weekend pizza party I crashed:

Prospective Student:  So is there anything bad about Wisconsin?
Me: Um... the fact that it's snowing on March 26...

Despite the fact that it was 10 degrees with the wind chill when I left for my long run yesterday, it went really well.  I upped the intensity by running 10 minutes easy and then picking up the pace for 20 minutes and repeating until I was done.  I finished 12 miles (including the long hill up to my apartment complex) in 1:47:27, which was an 8:57min/mile overall pace and may be the fastest I've ever done a long run.  All the "fast" portions were done between 8:30 and 8:40 min/mile pace.

The weather should be much less craptacular for the next week.  We're climbing back up to highs in the 40s (and 50s!!!), and there's not too much rain on the horizon.  I'm excited for next Saturday when I'll be running the Black Earth 10-miler for the first time.  Should be a beautiful day.

Time to get off the computer and get ready for church.  Hope you have a relaxing Sunday!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Madison... the Seattle of the Midwest

Snow, thunder snow, wintry mix, sleet, freezing rain, and just plain old rain- the kind we're getting right now.  It seems like there's always some kind of precipitation going on up here.  Fortunately this is a gym morning (tomorrow I get to decide if high 30s is too cold to run in the rain), and it was slightly windy but dry for my interval run yesterday.  It wasn't the greatest run in the world, but I'm feeling better about my paces now that I know that 1km is 0.62mi, not 0.65mi, which is what I was running.  I did 8mi total with 1k, 2k, 1k, 1k fast.  My splits for the 1k were just above the 1k paces shown on McMillan so I'm thinking the extra seconds were due to the 0.03mi extra I ran.  Or at least I'm going to just keep telling myself that :).

As of 4:45 when I went home yesterday, a big project at work was heading out the door.  I had the dreads about going back yesterday after my long weekend in Chillsville, but it was actually a non-stressful and productive day.  

We did go back to Bach around the Clock on Saturday, and I got a picture of Daniel's* radio debut:

Bach cello suites arranged for electric guitar was well received.  We also got to hear a few other talented pianists and a classical guitarist while we were there.

The "make your own takeout" theme of the week continues with Saturday night's dinner, my favorite looks-disgusting-tastes-delicious Indian dish, palak paneer.  It follows the rule that if you put enough cheese/barbecue sauce/catsup/ranch dressing/seasoning (in this case) on anything, it will taste good.  Spinach + yogurt + paneer cheese + spice pack from Indian grocery = tasty.

Last night we actually followed a recipe from an old Cooking Light for shrimp pad Thai.  It wasn't Chopstix, but I also didn't have to wait for 2 hours to get it.

And finally, another non-take out slow cooker winner, from Real Simple- Sunday's dinner- creamy chicken and biscuits dumplings.  Easy, tasty, and with plenty of leftovers for dinner tonight.

And sadly it's time for me to see if I can get my raincoat to stretch over my jacket and my backpack so I don't get soaked going to and from the gym and work.  It's really coming down... sad face. 

*streaming online 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Oh sunshine, I love you. I love you. I love you.

I love you.  Vitamin D.  I love you, too.  I feel like I understand tanning booth addictions now.  Oh to be able to lay out in the sun and feel warm all over*.  Ahhhhh... that would be great.

Today has been a wonderfully relaxing day.  I love having a second Saturday.  Daniel and I slept in, then went to the gym to do weights, had lunch out, went onto campus to check out the art museum (eh, I give it a grade C+/B), walked over to the campus Presbyterian church where the local public radio station is hosting Bach Around The Clock to celebrate Bach's birthday**, got an ice cream cone at Babcock, came back home and talked to my parents.  As soon as I'm done with this post I'm going to chill out and read my Cooking Light that just came in the mail.   

Speaking of cooking, the theme of the weekend/next week is "make your own takeout" starting with butter chicken using a spice mix we bought from an Indian grocery store last week.  It was tasty but ended up being so spicy we really couldn't eat much of the sauce.  Mmmmm, plate of red stuff.

*Note- I do not actually try to tan- mostly because I don't, I just burn- and if I ever do spend any kind of quality time in the sun I wear way more than SPF XXV.

** We're going back tonight after 8:30 so the guitar master can play some lute music on his electric guitar.  

Friday, March 18, 2011


It's the weekend.  I'm still sleepy and have been kind of a bum all day.  I did rally a bit on Thursday morning-  when I stared writing this post yesterday the "whew" was about how much better I felt after a good night's sleep- but it was still a drag to get up at normal time this morning to squeeze in a long run first thing.

Don't want to be like this guy- even if he's lucky
enough to be at the beach.
The good news is that the run went well.  It wasn't freezing, and I didn't fear being blown away by crazy March wind.
We are finally starting to see signs of spring.  A lot of the snow has melted, and the birds are back, including the surly geese.  I already saw one go after a woman on the bike path yesterday.  This was only my second double digit run of 2011 (I think) but I felt strong the whole way.  I tried running 10 minutes easy then 20 minutes harder and finished in 1:50 - a little slower than I would have liked, but I guess I'm still recovering from the DST and last week's race combo.

One last thing- I wanted to give some food link love to last month's Real Simple (which has recipes from the magazine online here).  Whatever you want to say about the rest of the magazine, the recipes are almost always truly simple and tasty.  Last month the feature was my favorite "I don't want anything but taking off my shoes to stand between me and eating dinner when I get home" appliance: the slow cooker.  One "bad" thing about many slow cooker recipes is that you actually have to cook everything before you slow cook it.  This probably makes things taste better, but it often defeats the purpose.  Both recipes we tried out (plus the others in the issue) were assemble + on.  Now I'm laughing because true to the "feed me now" nature of these dishes, I only got a picture of one before it was devoured; however, I assure you the chipole beef tacos (which we actually made with the other 1/2 of the pork roast we bought for the stir fry dish) were taste tested and approved.

Asian pork with snow peas, red peppers, and soba noodles:

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Raise your hand if you are still having a hard time adjusting to the time change.  Every part of me from my brain down feels tired.  This week at work has been super busy getting ready to send out materials for a big meeting we have in the beginning of April, and I've been busy the last two evenings* so as soon as I get home it's time to turn around and do it all over again.  We have a furlough day on Friday, which means one less day to get everything done at work, but man, I could really use an extra day of sleep past 4:30am.

But- there have been good things going on outside of work.  Yesterday we had an impromptu dinner out at Hubbard to celebrate Daniel being offered a summer intern position at the Google office in Madison, and - as it turned out- Pi Day.  Hubbard makes delicious pies and the restaurant was slammed because they were offering a special $3.14/slice price.  We had to take our slices (one key lime, one mint Oreo) to go because we were late to a meeting, but I can confirm that my half of the mint Oreo slice was delicious even a day later (and I'm sure key lime will be the same way tonight).

My motivation to exercise has been low since the race.  I ended up taking Monday completely off except for some stretching, but yesterday I had a good upper body lifting workout despite feeling like I was going to fall asleep on my feet.**  I rocked the assisted pull-up machine, working up to a set of a few with only 10lbs offset, so I think I'm ready to start doing some less than full range pull-ups on the regular bar.  I rearranged my lifting schedule for the next few weeks, and I need to update that on my weight training page.  This morning I'm going to go out in the dark again (why did we have to go back on DST so early????????????) for an easy run of undetermined length.

I want to start posting about cooking again- we've made some good stuff out last month's Real Simple- and about the fun spring clothes I bought last weekend (thanks, Mom and Mom M.), but I only have so much brain power and it seems my body is hording it for use between 8 and 5.  

*Ugh- it took my almost an hour to get home yesterday because the bus is on recess schedule for spring break and I missed the last one before it went on the every 45 min schedule after my piano lesson and I had to walk all the way home from the music building.  Bascom hill 2x in one week is at least 1x too many.

**or on the reverse fly machine, which I actually saw someone do once

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Shamrock Shuffle 2011 Race Report

Subtitled: After this I'm going to take a nap.  Or I would if it weren't already 4:15pm.

I was excited about doing this race because it's my first test of fitness after a long winter on the treadmill, ice skating around campus, and having long runs restricted to less than an hour and a half so I didn't die of exposure.  Also- despite the mega hill at the very beginning and end of the course - this race has been good to me.  You can read past race reports here and here.  

Daniel and I got up at 6 new time this morning because we had to be downtown to do set-up at church at 7am.  I came dressed in my running gear and had a good warm-up lugging things around, setting up folding chairs, stuffing bulletins, etc.  I snarfed down a bagel at 8am when the pastor showed up with them.  We're probably technically not supposed to eat until all the work is done, but I wanted to have as much time to digest as I could before the start of the race.  We finished with everything by 9am and I headed out to the race start while Daniel stayed for the service.

I met up with Jamie, Kerri, and Linda (who make me wish my first name started with an I or an M) where we took pictures (well, I didn't take any pictures but I hope to snag some from them).  We chatted, wished each other good luck, and headed for the starting line.  I got up pretty close to the front.  Not the very front, but I decided to be gutsy and let myself be in the position where I'm the one being passed, not the one dodging slow people for the first mile.  It was fairly cold in the wind, and I didn't regret wearing tights, three tops, a pair of gloves and a pair of mittens.

The race starts with a slight downhill, turns, and you hit the first big hill.  Up, up, up, then down, then up up again and a long down hill.  This is the easy way over the hill and I hit the first mile at 8:00.  Unfortunately this and the second mile are the only splits I know because I accidentally set my GPS to record only the time and not the distance or pace.  The second and third miles are flat and familiar territory for me.  I hit mile marker 2 at 15:17 and the 5k turn around at 23:54.  At that point I started looking for the other gals.  I missed Jamie, but I saw Linda and Kerri both going strong.  I was still feeling good and my goal was not to push too hard before hitting the hill again.  We crossed mile 5 and it was up up up again.  This is the hard, steep way.  You feel like you're only doing slightly better running than walking.  But then you get to come down down down the other side.  You turn another corner and there's the last .2 miles on a straight way.  This is the only part of the race I was disappointed with.  I really should have started my kick to the end as soon as I saw the finish line.  In the past I'd had problems starting my final kick too early and nearly blowing chunks up right before the finish line.  But I'm in better shape now, and I need to work on pushing harder from farther back and gutting it out to the finish line.

In the end my time was 48:07 (coulda woulda shoulda on those 8 seconds).  Even that wouldn't have been a PR, but I would have liked to see 47:XX again.  I think part of the problem was that I couldn't see a clock as I was coming down the last straight away.  Seeing it tick toward 48min might have inspired me to push it out a little harder.  In any case, it was a course PR by 1:23min from last year and- if my fatigue is a good indicator- a hard effort from me.  I have some longer distance runs on my schedule for the rest of the spring, but I'm feeling motivated to scope out more 10ks for the rest of the year.  It really is my favorite distance.

Have a great Sunday, all!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mini Taper

Yesterday was my last "real run" of the week before the race Sunday, and sadly it was on the treadmill again.  We got about 6 unexpected inches of snow Tuesday night, and it was still snowing pretty hard by the time I caught the bus on Wednesday morning.  Fortunately it warmed up a lot, and the sidewalks and roads are clear again.  For now*.  We are forecast for rain/snow on Saturday, but hopefully the course won't be too icy.  Can I say it again?  I'm sick of winter!

So is this guy- for sure.
But running has been good.  Monday I ran 6x400m (outside!) in 1:43, 1:46, 1:39, 1:47, 1:40 and 1:47.  I went back and forth over the same stretch of ground, and, although it looks totally flat, you can see from my splits that there was definitely an easy way and a hard way.  Tuesday I did weights but backed off any really heavy lifting, and yesterday was 8mi fairly easy on the gym treadmill.  I'm back at the gym this morning for more higher rep, lower weight upper body work and maybe an easy 2 or 3 miles depending on my time.  I'll rest tomorrow with maybe some easy yoga, 4mi easy on Saturday, and ready to run fast (and hopefully not slip and roll down Observatory Hill) Sunday.

*And hopefully our snow clearing public employees are not going to go on strike.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring cleaning

Good thing I started this post on Sunday when it wasn't dropping buckets of snow.  Otherwise I would have titled it perpetual winter cleaning. 

We have entered this long winter/spring season where it's not sooo cold that you can only wear your warmest clothing, but it's not warm enough to put the sweaters away for good.  I don't have a huge amount of closest space, so in the past I've put my off season clothes in Tupperware bins under the bed.  But then I spend all "sprwinter" digging things out because of a cold or warm day.  So I decided it was time to get everything out from under the bed and into the closet or my dresser for good.  And because space is so limited, I needed to do some serious thinking about what I should keep and what could be sold or donated.

Before- winter style.  Scarves, hoodies, everything all crammed together. 

Everything laid out for consideration.  Winter stuff on the bed; spring stuff in the bins.

Blank canvas.  Kind of reminds you of a dorm room closet, no?

The finished product.  I hung up all my summer dresses with my dress pants (right).  Camisoles, sweaters (by color) and purses in the middle, and tops and light jackets on the left.  Shoes on the bottom.

Pants, shorts and hangout sweatshirts were moved to a drawer.  Yes, my side of the bed is kind of a deathtrap.

Warm weather/ gym workout clothes were consolidated to one drawer.

And this was one of the biggest differences.  PJs, hang out t-shirts and socks went in one drawer.  That meant parting with a lot of random race t-shirts.  I wear technical tops from races (as long as they aren't too big), but I rarely ever wear the t-shirts.  Goodbye!

Cold weather running clothes.  They get their own drawer, too.

I also tried to make better use of our hall closet.  I hung up my scarves in there so I could actually see them, rather than have them crammed in between items in our bedroom closet.

The "try to resell" piles.  I made about $75 last fall reselling some clothes that I really didn't wear, so I'm going to try my luck again.  Goodbye blue petite length pants.  Why did I buy you and wear you for 2.5 years?  You were way too short.

And the donate pile.  Goodbye Tevas from my freshman year of college.  You have been wet so many times, your bands give me hot spots when I wear you.

It really is nice to be able to see all my clothes all at once.  For one, it dispelled any notions that I didn't have much to wear.  

Second, I'm planning to hit up a big sale at ATL on Saturday (30% off everything plus I have a gift card from Christmas), and it gave me some idea of what I might really need.  I'm good on tops, but I actually only have two pairs of non-jean summer weight pants, so I'm thinking these guys look pretty versatile.  Another possibility is some new capri pants.  I have two pairs that I really like and have worn forever, but I bought them when I was about 10lbs heavier so while they technically fit, I really put the drawstring to work.  Depending on prices, etc. I'd like to try to find at least one whole outfit- maybe with a top with long sleeves that is not a solid colored sweater?  I'm never very good at putting things together, and I end up being the queen of solids.  

I'll definitely have show and tell when I get back.  For now it's time for yet another snowy trudge out to the bus and a spin on the treadmill.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

This one is for the books

My run this morning was so bad that I'd like to submit this blog post as a monograph to The Annals of Horrible Runs.

First off, winter needs to end.  Like yesterday.  It rained yesterday and snowed last night so it was super icy.  But not in the giant chunks of ice covering the sidewalk kind of icy.  It was the invisible, every single inch of pavement is suddenly slick kind of icy.  And despite the air temperature being above freezing, the wind coming off the lake was brutal.  I under-dressed a bit after having over dressed on Thursday, and it was a huge mistake. My hands were freezing the whole time.  If sticking your hands in ice water is an accurate prediction of how long you can stand labor with out an epidural, I'm confirmed good at 1.5 hours.  The only thing that got me through 9 miles was the knowledge that I probably ate about 9 miles worth calories of chips and salsa Friday night.  I guess I should be sensitive to people who can't run at all right now for whatever reason.  I mean- at least I got out there, right?  No.  Not this run.

At least this next week is looking warmer and drier.  It'll be interesting to see how my race goes next weekend since I have no endurance base.  I've only completed one double digit run since the end of November/beginning of December.  Yikes.  Not much I can do about it now.

Hope you're having a good Saturday.  I'm going to go kick back and be lazy until time to make dinner.


Friday, March 4, 2011


You'd think- being a statistician and all- that I would have found and explored the stats for my blog before.  However, I have the posting page bookmarked and had never done much exploring in the dashboard section... until yesterday.

The top 4 exciting things I learned about my blog's readership are:

4. The post with the most pageviews of all time features my messy desk drawer and terrible handwriting.

3. In the last month I got traffic unprofessionalrunner, a blog I've never visited.  (Thanks!  I'll have to check your blog out on my lunch break.)

2. In the last month, one person found my blog using the phrase "had to pee the whole time."  (That's the worst!)

1. In the last week, I've had 4 pageviews from the Isle of Man (Looks really beautiful there!)

And speaking of stats, I had some great ones from my tempo run yesterday.  I warmed up with a mile, ran 5mi in 8:21, 8:19, 8:02, 7:59, 7:54, and then cooled down with two more for a total of 8mi in 1:10:27.  It broke my heart to look at my watch at the end of the run because I totally could have finished in less than 1:10 (which would have been an 8mi training run time PR), but I had to walk a little bit in our apartment complex on the way home because there were still a few sidewalk glaciers around.  I was concerned while I was doing this run that it was not going so great.  My legs were tired from lifting on Wednesday, and I overdressed and got really hot in the middle of the run.  In fact, I glanced at my watch at the end of mile 4 and saw the "59" and was afraid I'd run an 8:59, so I was pretty happy and relieved there was a 7 out in front.

It is raining now and is supposed to snow tonight so I have no idea what conditions are going to be like for running tomorrow morning.  I'd love to get in one more long (at least double digit) training run before my 10k next weekend, but we'll see if Mother Nature cooperates.

Happy Friday!  

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

What a tease

The weather.  Seriously.  After a cold, snowy weekend, we had a beautiful day yesterday- high of 40!- and today we are back at "feels like 9" with a high of 20.  

Fortunately I was able to take advantage of the warm weather yesterday to get in a good speed workout outside.  I warmed up and did 6x800m with 2min rest in between.  Interval times were 3:40, 3:42, 3:35, 3:38, 3:42, 3:41 min, which is off of the FIRST prescribed pace of 3:26 but in the McMillan range of 3:32- 3:42.  Today is leg day at the gym and tomorrow I'm scheduled for 5mi tempo.  It's going to be on the cold side again tomorrow, but that affects actual interval running more than tempo running.  Plus it guarantees there won't be a massive thaw-freeze cycle to gunk up my sidewalks.

Work has been busy, but I feel like I'm keeping up with everything.  I think leaving all my mental energy at the office makes me feel boring and less interested in coming up with fun and/or interesting post ideas.  There is a lot to be done between now and the beginning of May.

Hoping you are someplace warmer than me...