Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Pretend it’s Monday morning–take us through a day in the life of you.
6 am - wake up, get ready for work
6:45 - eat breakfast, check blogs
7:15 - leave for work
7:45 am - arrive at work. Work, work, work, check blogs, eat lunch, work, work, work
5 pm - go home
6:30 pm - eat dinner
7 pm - check blogs, write blog posts, crochet, knit, and/or read
9:30 pm - go to bed, read for 30-60 min, lights out

* Monday is a rest day so that's the day I don't run. Every other week day is vastly the same, except Tues-Thur I get up at 5 to run...

2. What’s your favorite reality tv show?
It's a toss up between Project Runway and Top Chef

3. What motto do you live by?
I don't really have a motto that I live by... The closest thing I can come up with is this bible verse:

"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jeremiah 29:11)

I read it when I am feeling down....

4. If you knew could you try anything and not fail, what dream would you attempt?
I would write a book.

5. What was your first job?
I taught piano for 3 years in high school.

My first 'real world' post-college job was working as a business manager for a super small company in St. Paul. I lasted about 4 weeks - people came to work in their pajamas and they were doing questionable things with their payroll account. I did not have a good feeling about the job when I took it, so this experience taught me to listen to my gut...

6. What is your current job?
I underwriter mortgages for a large financial institution.

7. What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name (and you cannot pick the one you already have)?

8. What musical instruments can you play?
Piano and Trumpet.

9. Is it easier to forgive or forget?
Definitely to forgive. Forgetting is definitely way, way, way harder, but it's so important if you are actually going to heal and move on from something that has happened.

10. What is one food you’d never want to taste again?
I'm going to have to say bone marrow. I am proud of myself for trying this when I was in France in '08, but it's not an experience that I need to re-create...

Monday, August 30, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 13

2/3 of Marathon training is behind me - 1/3 to go!! The last 3 weeks of training are all about tapering, so I feel like I am at the 'beginning of the end'. It's sort of surreal because it seems like not long ago I was re-capping week 1 of training. I pretty much just have to get through 2 20 mile runs in September! And hopefully by September, the weather will be a bit cooler. I am hoping my 20 milers go as well as my 18 miler did last week, but I guess we'll just have to see what marathon training has in store for me!

Since I had out of town guests this weekend, I shifted my training around and did my long run on Friday morning. I use the word "long" loosely because it was only 13 miles. I realize that it sounds delusional to most of you to say "only" and "13 miles" in the same sentence, but marathon training really messes with your perception of a "long run".

So I set out for my 13 miles on Friday morning. I decided to run those 13 in my neighborhood; I usually do my long runs in the "Chain of Lakes" or Minnehaha Parkway area, but I didn't want to waste any time driving to and from as Mandy was at my condo and I didn't want to abandon her for too long.

So I set out and headed for the path where I usually do my 8 mile runs during the week. That is the furthest I have ever run in my neighborhood. I do a 4 mile out & back route usually, but I was thinking/hoping that maybe this running path kept going and I could do a 6.5 mile out and back.

Wrongo batman. The path ended at 4.33 miles.

Hmm... What to do. I am not a fan of running the same path multiple times as I find that mentally grueling so I decided to just "wing it" and keep going. I linked up with this road that looked like it was a major thoroughfare with very few stops lights and was like - yes! I can make this into a 6.5 mile out and back easily!

I neglected to pay attention to the name of the road, though. After running along this road for about a mile I was like, "holy cannasta, this is fricking hilly."

Then I noticed the name of the road: Homeward Hills Road.

Lovely, Lisa. The word "Hills" was included in the name of the road for a reason.

So I did a pretty dang hilly 13 miles. I still maintained a 9:45 pace but I was definitely cursing myself for choosing such a challenging 13 mile route... There is a time and a place for hill work when training for a marathon, but for a novice like me, it's certainly not on your long run day.

So note to self: There is a reason why we don't usually "wing it". I'll plan ahead a little better next time and will avoid roads with the word "Hill" in them. ;)

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 33
Training-to-date mileage: 344

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Staycation

Alright, so yesterday was a heavy post kind of day... I try to keep things light and airy around here, but it would be a lie if I said that every day is all sunshine and rainbows. So thanks for all of your kind/thoughtful comments yesterday!

I think we are due for something a little lighter today, though!!

Today, 3 fabulous bloggers will be arriving in Minneapolis for a little blogger's rendezvous. Mandy, Kyla, and Nora are all Minneapolis-bound, and I am so excited to show them my city!!

I have thought long and hard about what all I want to show them. I mean, we can't do it all in one weekend, so I had to be a little bit selective. Here is what I have come up with, in bullet point style!
  • A Mexican Fiesta at Casa de Lisa on Friday night so they can check out my shoe-box of a condo (which I have a love/hate relationship with, depending on the day). The menu will feature Vegetarian Enchiladas, Spanish Rice, Chips, Guac, and Salsa - and of course, Margaritas! Crossing my fingers that it all turns out!
  • On Saturday we'll check out the Mill City Farmer's Market. It just happens to be Salsa Fest this weekend!!! Holy cannasta, people, I am excited. Words can't describe how much I heart salsa!!!!! And I know Nora adores it, too, since she is a fellow Mexican food fan!
  • I am going to re-create one of my Lisa/Andrew dates for them and introduce them to Wild Rumpus, which is THE coolest kid's book store. No, none of us have kids, but that doesn't mean they won't get a kick out of this place. After that, I plan on taking them to Sebastian Joe's, which is a local ice cream place. All of the ice cream is home made and absolutely delicious. I love the raspberry chocolate chip flavor and Andrew always gets Oreo ice cream (which is amazing - my gluten free heart aches a bit over the fact that I can't have it...). If the weather is agreeable, we might take a walk around Lake Harriet - which is one of the lakes where I log a whole lot of miles!
  • On Saturday night, we might take in a free concert at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. The genre for Saturday night's concert is "French Gypsy Jazz". What that means is beyond me. Maybe my music teacher aunt & uncle could explain? But you know what - "French" is in the genre name, so sign me up! I can't properly explain what this bandshell is like, so here is a pic I found online...

  • On Sunday we'll check out the Sculpture Gardens which features the infamous Cherry-on-a-Spoon Sculpture, which Minneapolis is known for.
  • We'll cap off the weekend on Sunday night by going to the Minnesota State Fair, aka the Great Minnesota Get Together (or the Great Minnesota Sweat Together), where we'll attend a Brandi Carlile concert! She is one of my favorite artists so I am SO excited to introduce the girls to her soulful voice!

I hope that the ladies get a feel for Minneapolis based on the attractions I will be showing them! I am really excited to 'play tourist' this weekend and see/do things I wouldn't usually do!

Have a fabulous weekend, dear readers! If I was coming to your city to visit you, what would you include on the list of things to do?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where I'm At...

Most of you do not know this, but I was set up by a co-worker last month. I was less than excited about this date, but I know that in order to meet someone, I have to put myself out there.

So I did. I went on this date.

And surprisingly, I actually liked the guy. He was funny. He had a flirtatious smile. We had mutual friends and acquaintances. We both had family on neighboring lakes - which is pretty random. One after another, the coincidences kept adding up. As did the dates.

I already had a nickname picked out for him for the day when I would tell you all about him. The nickname was Flash because it sort relates to what he does for a living.

Little did I know, Flash would be the perfect nickname, but for a completely different reason; it was the perfect nickname because he was gone in the flash.

Once again, similar to my experience with the Dog Whisperer, I am left with very little explanation for his change of heart. At least this time I did get an email with a vague explanation this time; it was cryptic, but an explanation nonetheless.

But there are still unanswered questions. I know I just have to accept the fact that it will never make sense. It is not logical for a guy to go from saying "I miss you" in an email to inviting you to join him on a night out with friends to just disappearing, all in a span of days. My frustration with the situation is further increased by the fact that we had this whole conversation on our 2nd date about how he could tell that I had some walls up and how he hoped I'd let them down for him. I guess I never expected someone with the sensitivity to discuss walls and the vulnerability of dating to add a few more layers of bricks to those walls.

But I am letting it go. Does it hurt? Definitely. Am I disappointed that I've hit another dead end? Without a doubt. Did I give myself permission to wallow a bit and cry? You bet. Quite a bit, actually. I know our time together was brief, but it still hurts to see it come to an end as I was really excited about this guy.

But now - I am moving forward. I will not look back and re-play the great dates in my mind. I will not go back and re-read his emails. I can gain absolutely nothing from looking back at the chain of events through a microscope - clearly, he is not worthy of any more of my time, thoughts, tears, or emotions.

What I wonder about is this: I have been thinking lately about how doing things like training for a marathon sort of breaks your body down so it can be built back up and be even stronger as a result. But is the same true when it comes to the heart? Does the fact that I have had my heart broken over and over mean that it gets stronger? Does it increase my capacity to love? I guess I am wondering how many more times I can weather these disappointments and come out on the other side, still able to open my heart for another man.

I guess that question will remain unanswered for now. In the mean time, I am focusing on all of the wonderful things I have to look forward to in the next 6 months. Things like a mini-blogger reunion this weekend with some fabulous girls. Things like meeting up with Amber to run the Portland Marathon in October. Things like going to Paris for 8 days to celebrate my Birthday in February.

I will not pretend that I don't yearn to find my Mr. Right. As my friend Nora says, "The heart wants what the heart wants." But I think the best way to find him is to keep doing the things I love. To keep seeking out new experiences. To keep working on becoming the best version of myself.

It's not easy and there are definitely days where I feel like I will never find him. But I have no choice than to forge ahead.

And at least I am one more frog closer to my prince.

I'll close with a stanza of a song from Sarah McLachlan's newest album which really speaks to how I am feeling right now...

Oh I wanna learn,
I wanna know
Will our history crush us
or can we let it go?
I'm not the girl I was
but what have I become?
I'm not so willing anymore to bend
Still pleasing and conceding
But I'm not gonna lose myself again

~ Excerpt from Awakenings by Sarah McLachlan

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Marathon Madness Wednesday: Week 12

I am thrilled to report that my 18 miler on Sunday was fabulous. I really, really needed this to be a good training run as I was really starting to doubt myself. I know that I likely have some craptastic training runs ahead of me, but during those runs, I will think of this 18 miler, take a deep breath, and know that it's all going to be ok (and pray to God that I have a good day on the day of the marathon).

Interestingly enough, I actually ran these 18 miles about 2 minutes faster than I ran 17 a couple of weeks ago. That's pretty impressive/surprising. Granted, the conditions were horrible on the day of my 17 miler. It was still pretty warm when I did my 18 miles on Sunday, but not nearly as humid. Also, I got up at 4:30 so I could start running around 5:30 and that really seemed to help as well.

I thought it'd be interesting to do a mile-by-mile comparison. Well, I am using the word "interesting" loosely. I realize it's going to bore most of you to tears!

Ok, so my pace did begin to deteriorate a bit at the end, but I am still happy with it. Especially since my pace seemed to deteriorate as the temperatures warmed up... It should be significantly cooler when I run the marathon in October (fingers crossed).

The difference in how I felt between these two runs was like night and day. I definitely "hit my stride" on Sunday and had that "I could go on and on and on" feeling. I did NOT feel that way when I ran 17 miles earlier this month. I had to walk quite a bit that day... At the end of that run, I dumped a bottle of water over my head, in an effort to cool off and to disguise the tears that I thought might start falling... and I might have sort of collapsed onto the ground and laid in the fetal position... In a play ground area, by the way. Um, let's just say I got some strange looks.

This is a step-back week for me so my long run is only 13 miles this week, which sounds like a breeze. Training for a marathon definitely skews your perspective on what I consider a "long" run!!

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 36
Training-to-date mileage: 311

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ten on Tuesday: A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words

Chelsea has changed things up a bit this week - instead of my usual wordy answers, you'll get pictures... with some explanations wordy answers, when needed...

1. Your house.

2. Your shower.

3. The inside of your refrigerator.

4. Your pet.

Um, I can't keep plants alive... Pretty sure pets are not a good option for me. And I realize that by saying this, some of you might like me a little less (or not at all), but I am actually not an animal person... Please don't judge. There are lots of really nice, loving, caring people who aren't crazy about animals.... At least in my immediate family. :) Most of us aren't "pet people."

5. Your favorite pair of shoes.

I think every woman should own a pair of red shoes. Or multiple pairs, like I do! The heel tips on these need to be replaced so these shoes are currently out of commission but I intend to get them fixed in time for fall!

6. The most comfortable seat in your house.

7. Your favorite cup or coffee mug.

This came in a give away package that I won on Becky's blog. She got it off this awesome Etsy Site, Brookish, which is a Jane Austen-inspired shop!!

8. Your laundry room.

Since I live in a 680 sq. ft. shoe-box condo, I obviously don't have a laundry "room" - but I will not complain. It is a glorious thing to not have to hoard quarters to do laundry each week...

9. The view from your office chair.

I work in a cubicle farm. I face the corner of a cube. The view is not worth sharing - trust me on that one. I mean, can you think of anything less interesting than a gray wall?

10. Your spouse/significant other/roommate.

The only thing I'm committed to these days is running, so that's my iPod and Garmin. They are reliable. They never let me down (unless I forget to charge them).

When I was training for the 2006 marathon, I actually named my iPod Pete. Then when people asked what I did the night before, I could say, "I went for a run with Pete."

Well, Pete started getting a little old and became less and less reliable, so he was replaced by a new Pink Nano, which I named Sophia.

I realize it's not normal to name inanimate objects. And I also realize that it's not normal to answer a question about significant others w/ a picture of inanimate objects. Well, sadly, that's the best I can do these days...

Unless I include my fictional boyfriend, Adam Braverman of Parenthood... Which resumes on September 14th!!!!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Book Review: The Life You've Imagined

* Marathon Madness Monday will post on Wednesday this week as I am reviewing another book for TLC Book Tours today!

I received an advanced reader's copy of "The Life You've Imagined" by Kristina Riggle. I know this is super dorky, but I love ARCs! I think it's so cool that I get to check something out that isn't available to everyone! I read this book in the span of 3 days - it's 334 pages so the fact that I read it so quickly is worth noting! The title of the book is inspired by a quote by Henry David Thoreau: "Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams. Life the life you have imagined." In this book, we meet Cami, Maeve, Anna, and Amy; each character takes turns narrating the story. I think changing narrators each chapter is what made the book so engaging for me. I like it when the author shows us the perspective of multiple characters - but does so in a way that doesn't confuse the reader.

Cami has escaped to Haven, Michigan after the relationship with her boyfriend crashes and burns. She moves back in with her abusive father and while their relationship seems irreparable, her goal is to learn more about her mother that passed away when Cami was young.

Maeve runs a small convenience store in Haven, Michigan and is still haunted by the fact that her husband walked out the door without looking back many, many years ago. She stills wears her wedding ring on a chain around her neck and has struggled to accept that her life has turned out vastly different than she imagined.

Anna is the daughter of Maeve. She returns to Haven while on bereavement leave after a colleague passes away. While back in Haven, she begins to spend time with her high school flame and begins to wonder what might have been had she not broken up with him.

Amy went to school with Cami and Anna and has gone through a physical metamorphosis. She has lost quite a bit of weight and is engaged to be married. While she tells herself that "every thin day is a good day" she is beginning to see that losing weight wasn't the answer to all of her problems.

Throughout the novel, the characters all try to come to terms with where they are and how they thought their lives would turn out. I've talked about this before, but I definitely had a 'vision' of how my life would turn out. My life has turned out vastly different - it's not worse than what I had pictured, it's just different. Sometimes I struggle with letting go of that vision I had, but as I get older, I am getting better and better about accepting, embracing, and celebrating the way my life has turned out.

The book was released last Tuesday so is now available. It was a light, easy read that I really enjoyed. The book references Thoreau's book, Walden, a couple of times so it makes me really want to check that book out!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Another Afternoon Date

Earlier this spring, I took my nephew for a little afternoon Lisa/Andrew date - we had so much fun, I decided to take him for the afternoon again a couple of weekends ago.

My nephews are truly the loves of my life! I just wish the others lived closer so I could take them out for afternoon dates like this one!

We started the day by going to PF Chang's. Andrew's favorite cuisine is Chinese and PF Chang's has a gluten free menu, so it worked well for us!

Andrew really wanted to use the chopsticks, but I was unable to show him... His daddy taught me how to use them, so I'll let him teach Andrew (his dad also taught me how to read, play piano, and drive!)

Andrew started his meal with an appetizer of egg rolls, followed by the kid's Lo Mein.

After lunch, we headed to Barnes & Noble to read some books together. I totally campaigned for 'first day of school' books since he starts Kindergarten this fall, but he was all about the Super Hero books. In the end, I let him pick one book to purchase. I knew he would pick a Super Hero book of some sort. Andrew is quite the negotiator, though - he said, "If I pick a book about school, can I get 2 books?"

I couldn't say no to that! What can I say, I am a sucker for his charming smile!

Our last stop was Cold Stone. He tried A LOT of the flavors, but settled on the Wild Berry Sorbet. Kind of surprising, huh? I would have been all over the chocolate!!!

This is his "can't we have a photo-free moment" look!

We had a wonderful afternoon together! I am so lucky that I live close to Andrew and his little brother, Matthew! Hopefully at some point I can travel to where my other nephews live and go on little dates with them!

Have a fabulous weekend, dear readers! Tomorrow I am going into the office for a bit, volunteering at my church's festival, and then going to a 30th birthday party in the evening. On Sunday I willl run 18 miles. GULP. Wish me luck!!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Letter to Me

We are probably due for another Mary Anne Radmacher inspired post, right? If you are new to my blog, I am a bit of obsessed with her book, Lean Forward Into Your Life.

In the book, Mary Anne (see how we are on first name basis? I am sure we'd be bff if she actually knew me...) shares a letter that she writes to herself. She pretends to be the seventy-eight version of herself, and writes a letter to her younger self:

As I look upon you it is almost as if I have become an unconventional English woman and I see you as a brash American woman. So impatient. I know you don't see yourself as impatient and that's actually one of your troubles. The depth of your impatience reaches to the questions you ask of me. "When am I going to learn?" The answer is a contradiction. Always. Never. If you life song wasn't the same song, umpteenth verse - you'd be insane or dead. You can't have the breadth of every one's life lessons - just the panorama of your own. It's not that you keep making the same mistake... you are participating in versions of the same structures. Your impatience keeps them coming.

"What? You again?" Do you then stamp your feet or slam the door? You will learn the difference which patience makes. Rather than greeting those redundancies with dread - you welcome them as old friends and ask them to teach you what they can. You really must become more courteous (invite them in) and patient (learn from them - don't hurry to send them away). As it is now, you want to be all over the map. Everywhere at once. Accomplishing. Achieving. Perfecting. Inventing. Inspiring. In case you haven't noticed, you are tired. You simply need to stop working so hard. Walking so fast. Your impatience to taste everything keeps you from tasting anything.

So. Yes. You do learn. And you will learn by embracing paradox. In unlearning you learn. In slowing down you fly. In welcoming trouble you see those troubles less often. Allow the events of your life to not make sense. That is the only way they can ever make sense.

You ask if I am happy. So I will tell you. No. I am not happy. I see the world too clearly to be happy. But I am content. And I think that is a better thing.

Be kind to yourself. Stop waiting to grow up: you never will. You only grow and that's a more vital process that "growing up." I love you, Mary Anne.

Lately, certainly elements leave me feeling like my life is a bit of a "broken record"; it's the same song and dance, over and over. I'm not loving the track that I am stuck on but I can't seem to re-set the needle. So this letter really resonated since she mentions how you sometimes have to invite troubles in to truly learn from them and move forward.

I love this idea of putting yourself in the future and writing a letter to your present self. I think back on how critical I was of my younger self and wish I could go back and be a bit more accepting; however, I am still quite critical of my present self so I am sure the 78 year old version of me would tell me to stop being so critical... to stop thinking I need to have all the answers, right at this moment... I'd tell myself to treat myself as I would a best friend - to choose kindness over criticism. To believe in myself rather than berate myself. I think the older version of myself would tell me to stop worrying about what the future holds as worrying accomplishes nothing. Instead, she'd tell me to enjoy the journey.

What do you think the older version of you would write in a letter to your present self?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

30 Before 30 Update

Earlier this month, I hit the half way mark of my 29th birthday. Holy cannasta, those 6 months went by really dang fast!

I thought it was time for a little update on my 30 Before 30 list. And honestly, I sort of forgot what all is on this list! I have crossed out the things I have accomplished. There are some things that are no longer feasible for various reasons, so those are now in italics. I obviously can't cross off the "once a month" or "once a quarter" challenges until the end of the year. If I am on track, they are in green... if I am not on track, they are in red...

1. Work my way up to being able to do 20 real push-ups. I can only do 'girl' ones currently.
2. Run my 2nd full marathon (will be running this marathon!)
3. Join a local running club
4. Go one month without eating out
5. Get a body fat assessment done, most likely in the 'Bod Pod'
6. Run a 5k in 27 minutes (PR is 30 minutes)

7. Learn how to roast a chicken
8. Make one new recipe/month
9. Host a dinner party
10. Find a cooking class/seminar to attend
11. Go to a knife skills class (at Kitchen Window)

12. List or rent out my condo on or before my 30th birthday
13. Set up a living will
14. Put at least $1,000/month in savings

15. Join the womens group at my church
16. Spend 1 hour in the Eucharistic Adoration Chapel each month
17. Go to a Cathedral Young Adults event

18. Learn how to knit socks
19. Learn to crochet
20. See a ballet or opera production
21. Do something with the photos from my France trip

22. Meet a blogger friend in real life!
23. Send one piece of snail mail/month
24. Buy a new set of dishes
25. Read 3 classic novels
26. Make over my blog
27. Do a hair workshop with my best friend Brooke.
28. Visit my grandma at least once every 3 months.
29. Climb Inspiration Peak in the fall when the leaves are changing
30. Visit the Duluth, MN area

I have completed 5 things and am on track to cross off 3 monthly/quarterly goals. Out of 30.


I have my work cut out for me... But I will say - the first couple of months of my 29th year were some of the toughest I've experienced... So I think surviving them is an accomplishment in and of itself! And if I don't get it all done by February 6th 2011, then so be it!

If you set resolutions or other goals this year, have you kept them?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Since it's "Back to School" season, Chelsea's 10 questions are college related this week!

1. Where did you go to college?
The University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND

2. What did you study?
My degree was in math with a sort of minor in business/finance

3. Was college really all that it was cracked up to be?
Oh yes. It was all that & then more! I absolutely loved my 4 years at UND!

4. How far were you from home?
About 2 hours

5. Did you have the same roommate all four years?
Nope. I lived in a sorority 3 of my 4 years and had a different roommate every year.

6. Where did you order food from at 2am?
I didn't really order food at 2 am. Instead we would raid the kitchen of our sorority house. I pretty much ate my weight in cheese every semester!

7. Did you date in college or were you tied down?
I dated here & there but in general, I didn't have a boyfriend in college.

8. Funniest drunk college moment?
Well, one night I had a little bit too much to drink and I drunkenly said, "The only boys that call me are boys that need help in accounting or calculus." Then I drank a decent portion of a bottle of Pepto and went to sleep. I never really lived this down and was teased about this quite a bit. But it's a true statement. I did have a decent number of guys ask me for help in account and calculus...

9. Did you make it to class on time?
Yep, I am not a tardy person!

10. What was your favorite class in college?
I know this is going to establish my complete dorkiness, but I have to say Differential Equations. I loved my professor and I really enjoyed that class. Most Engineering/Math students sort of hate this class so it's sort of rare that I liked it so much.

So, does anyone else sort of miss "back to school" shopping? Because I totally do. That section at Target is so tempting... Oh how I heart bouquets of newly sharpened pencils.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 11

The humidity finally broke this weekend!! My runs were downright blissful this weekend, I must say. Sure makes a difference to not run in 91% humidity!

Now that I am past the half way point, I thought I would do a bullet point post about what has surprised me about training thus far. This is not my 1st marathon (I ran the Twin Cities marathon in 2006), but it sort of feels like it at times as I have struggled to remember how I felt when I ran my last marathon.

What's surprised me...
  • I am way more exhausted than I ever remember being when I trained in 2006. Maybe I have more of a social life than I did back then? Maybe it's the fact that I am 29 and I was 25 back then? Who knows. I do well at the beginning of the week but find myself being hit with a 'wave of exhaustion' at times during the latter part of the week. I am at fault for this as I have make bad decision about when to go to bed sometimes...
  • I haven't lost any weight. At least not that I can tell (I don't own a scale). When I ran the 2006 marathon, I couldn't keep the weight on. I drank a large mocha every day & ate more than my male co-workers, but my weight steadily decreased. This time around? Not so much. Again - is it because I am older? I have no idea. I am not too concerned as I am actually happy with my weight. It's just 'interesting'. I have the appetite of a teen-age boy right now so I should just be thankful that I am not gaining any weight, considering how much I am eating!!
  • I forgot how much of running is about 'perspective'. The way I feel at the end of a mid-week 8 mile run is VERY different from how I feel at mile 7 when I am running 11-17 miles. On those mid-week runs, 8 seems so long. On my long run, 8 seems like a 'warm up'. Knowing that I have 4-10 more miles to run when I hit that 8 mile mark on a weekend long run keeps my mind from telling my legs that "we're done", and thank God that happens!
  • Cue the song "Obsession" by Animotion. Holy moley, I do not remember thinking about running as much as I did last time around. Case in point: my nephews think I run for a living. My cube wall is plastered with training schedules and training logs. I exchange bbms and emails throughout the day with Amber, talking about how far I ran, how far I am going to run, and other miscellaneous marathon-related stuff.

Despite these 'surprises', I am really enjoying training. I like to be challenged. I like how marathon training pushes me to my limits. I like how marathon training has turned me into a morning person (sleeping in means something completely different these days)! I just hope all this hard work pays off and I PR in October!!!

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 30
Training-to-date mileage: 275

Friday, August 13, 2010

Can I Just Say...

Can I just say how thankful I am that it is Friday? This week has felt so incredibly long... I've been in a bit of a snarky mood all week, to be quite honest... Here's my list of Can I Just Say's for the week...

Can I just say...
  • The humidity is killing me. I apparently was not built for this kind of weather. I have been getting up at 5 to do my runs this week but it's still in the upper 70s with 90% humidity at this time of the day. My extreme dislike for these weather conditions seems to cancel out the effects of the endorphin release. I am seriously at my wit's end right now. When I listen to the forecast each day & hear the weatherman say we are in for another day of hot, humid, hazy weather, it exponentially increases my desire to move to Colorado.... because it doesn't get like this in Colorado.
  • Sleep evades me. Since I am getting up at 5 to run most days, you would think that I would collapse into bed each night and easily fall asleep. Nope, not the case. Instead, my mind goes into over drive. I think about work stuff. I worry that I am never going to figure out the crochet pattern I am working (seriously, who worries about a hobby?). I toss and turn and curse my body for not falling asleep. I watch the minutes tick by, counting the hours until my alarm will go off. 7 hours. 6 hours. 5 hours. 4 hours... I've tried Tylenol PM and another OTC sleep aid. NOTHING HELPS.
  • I just don't enjoy crocheting. See above point about stressing about a pattern... I wanted to like it, I really did. People had told me that you could complete projects much more quickly... Yah, not the case for me. This sort of 'big' project that I took on for my first project will also be my last...
  • Also, I just don't like greek yogurt. A gain, I really want to like it, I do. It is chock full of protein which is good for runners. I keep eating it, thinking eventually my taste buds will come around to it. I even have told people - "You should eat greek yogurt, it's so good for you, you'll love it." But I am a fraud - I don't love it. It something about the thickness of it or the bitter taste or something. So I am giving up on it and returning to other yogurts that I enjoy eating, even though their nutritional content is sub par.
  • I hate word verification. A couple of weeks ago, Nilsa did a post on things about blogs that sort of annoy her. If you scan the comments, you'll see that no one likes word verification. I especially dislike it when I have to click 'submit' on the comment and then another pop-up comes up requiring word verification...
  • I like my personal space. There is a guy at work that crouches down and totally invades my personal space when he asks me questions at work. I am German. Get the hell out of my bubble. It creeps me out.

Whew! I feel much better now! :)

It's my mom's birthday tomorrow so I will be heading up to my parents cabin this weekend to help celebrate! I am looking forward to turning off my phone, consuming blended concoctions made by my mom, catching up on some reading, enlisting the help/advice of my mom on this crochet pattern, playing cribbage with my dad, and only running 11 miles on Sunday.

What is your "Can I Just Say"?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, err, Thursday...

Since I didn't post this on Tuesday due to a book review, here is a belated edition of Ten on Tuesday...

1. Do you have an innie or an outie?

2. What kind of milkshake do you order?
I can probably count on 1 hand the # of times I have ordered a milk shake… They are just a bit too rich for me… But if I was going to get one, I’d probably go w/ just a basic chocolate.

3. How often do you repeat outfits at work?
Right now, I repeat them almost weekly since I wear the same dresses over and over and over again. No one really cares – of if they do notice and care, oh well!

4. What are your feelings about thank you notes?
They are very necessary. I think it is incredibly rude to not acknowledge a gift when it’s a formal occasion such as a wedding. When I am giving a birthday gift or Christmas gift, I do not expect a thank you. But if I attend a wedding, I expect a thank you…

5. Do you like spicy food?
I LOVE spicy food!!

6. How many toilet paper squares do you use?
On average, I'd say 5.

7. Were you in Girl Scouts?
Nope. I don’t think that was an option in the one-horse town where I grew up. I was in 4H, though! Yee haw.

8. Notebooks/Journals: College ruled? Wide Ruled? No lines? Spiral Bound? Plain front? Decorative?
College ruled. I actually sort of shiver/cringe when of wide ruled. Yes, I might have OCD.
I prefer that it be loosely bound in a binder. I hate spiral notebooks!

If it's a journal, it must have lines - can't stand blank pages as I am not very good at writing straight. I like simple covers.

9. Do you snack throughout the day? What do you pack for snacks?
Yes. I basically eat every 2-3 hours. I have Greek Yogurt in the a.m., blueberries or cut up strawberries in the afternoon, and usually string cheese or an apple for an evening snack!

10. What is your favorite month? Why?
That’s tough… I am going to have to say October – mostly because of the weather. I LOVE fall weather. I love the cool/crisp temps. I love the changing of the leaves. Starbucks starts serving pumpkin spice latte. I can wear sweaters and jeans. Boots are back in season. Scarves are an appropriate accessory.

Le Sigh. Oh how I am pining for fall right now!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Recipeless Success

I think I have mentioned before that I am a bit of a slave to recipes. I actually prefer baking to cooking because it almost requires precision. Most people don't just 'wing' it when baking. No recipe will call for "baking powder to taste." Can I just say how much I HATE it when a cooking recipes says something like, "salt to taste". That basically sends me into a bit of a panic because I just don't trust my palette...

However, on Monday night, I was craving some comfort food but had no desire to sift through recipes.

So I channelled the spirit and capabilities of my younger sister, Abby. You see, Abby doesn't really seem to 'need' recipes. She throws caution to the wind and just wings it much of the time (as does my older brother Kevin). When I was visiting Abby in May, I couldn't believe how little she relied on recipes!!

So on Monday, I decided to try winging it. I had some leftover veggies and chicken in my fridge so I put together my own little rendition of dirty rice:

2 Chicken Breasts, chopped and sauteed
1/2 Green Pepper
1/2 Red Onion
2 cans of Fire Roasted Tomatoes
Salt, Pepper, Cumin, and Crushed Red Pepper - wait for it - to taste

I put this over some brown rice and voila! Dinner is served!

Was it gourmet? Not by any stretch of the imagination. Was it delicious and healthy? Absolutely.

I still prefer to cook with a recipe, but this is definitely a dish that will be added into my rotation since it's great as leftovers for lunch.

Are you a slave to recipes or are you more likely to wing it like my siblings? Also, do you cook much during the week? It's a RARE occasion for me to make an actual meal on a week night. I usually live on left overs, baked potatoes, and salads...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Book Review: Labor Day

I'm switching things up a bit this week - 10 on Tuesday will become 10 on Thursdays; today I am reviewing and TLC Book Tours book - Labor Day my Joyce Maynard. This is the first book that I have read by this author. She's written quite a few books - including a memoir which I am really intrigued by, unbeknownst to me, she loved & lived with J.D. Salinger. I am a bit intrigued by Salinger, so in turn, I am intrigued by the life of someone who loved him.

Labor Day is told from the point of view of a 13 year old boy, Henry. His parents are divorced and he lives with his mom who is a bit of a recluse. In preparation for the upcoming school year, they go shopping on the Thursday before Labor Day; while shopping, Henry is approached by Frank, a stranger who asks for a favor. Knowing nothing about this strange man, Henry's mom decides that they will help him out and she brings him home with them.

Early on, we find out that this strange man (Frank) is actually an escaped convict... Henry & his mom did not realize this when they gave him a ride back to his house, but he reveals this early on and Henry's his mom is not bothered by this. For inexplicable reasons, she seems to trust Frank.

Over the course of the Labor Day weekend, a relationship develops between Henry's mom and Frank - at times Henry is thankful for Frank's presence as his mom seems to be happy for the first time in as long as Henry can remember; at other times, he is jealous of the bond that is forming between them as he feels that he will be left behind.

I did struggle with the fact that Henry's mom trusted this man immediately. Granted, her mental health is questionable due to things that happened in her past (which are revealed in the book) but I still had a hard time believing that a parent would knowingly choose to put their child in what could be a dangerous situation. I think the author successfully captured the voice of a 13 year old boy, which would be difficult.

This book was a fast, engaging read.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 10

Marathon training is 1/2 over - 9 weeks down, 9 to go! Portland here we come...

This week, I have an equation and a recipe to share with you!

An equation for a hot mess:

A running path with long stretches that have no shade whatsoever
+ Starting temperature/humidity of 76 degrees F, 91% humidity
+ 17 miles
+ Ending temperature/humidity of 85 degrees F, 70% humidity

Actually, I need a new word to describe what I looked like at the end of the run; hot mess just doesn't do it justice, honestly.

I know might garner a response that will be the equivalent a whole lot of tomatoes being thrown at me through the interwebs, but I just have to say it.

I am so ready for fall.

On my run yesterday, I was so hot, I was begging & praying for it to rain on me.

Scratch that, I was fantasizing about how a good a snow fall would feel.

I guess running 17 miles in heat/humidity makes a person a bit delusional. But really, doesn't snow sound delightful? I don't know how people who live in hotter/more humid areas of the country train for marathons in the summer.

I do, however, have a recipe for recovery...

Part I: Foam Rolling

If you are a runner, and you don't foam roll - you really should. I will warn you, it's gasp-out-loud painful when you start using it, but once you get the worst of the knots worked out, it's not nearly as painful. I honestly think my knees have been healthy while marathon training because of this foam roller.

Part II: Post-Run Recovery Ritual

Now, you might be scratching you head and wondering what gatorade, chocolate milk, leftover pasta, a bag of ice, and the movie, "Definitely, Maybe" have to do with each other...

These items, my friends, are the ingredients for my post run ritual. When the long runs get into the 15+ range, after foam rolling, I heat up leftover pasta, put in an entertaining chick flick, and take an ice bath while eating leftovers and drinking gatorade and/or chocolate milk.

The ice bath is not exactly pleasant, but it helps with the muscle recovery. To take my mind off the fact that I am sitting in a bath full of ice water, I eat some yummy leftovers. And I just happen to have a bird's eye view of my tv from the comfort of my tub.

I realize this is an odd ritual. But each their own. Runners are a quirky bunch - and I guess this ice bath ritual is one of my many, many quirks.

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 33
Training-to-date mileage: 245

Friday, August 6, 2010

On Being Kinder to Yourself

All week, my training partner Amber has been participating in the "Change the Way You See, Not the Way You Look" challenge. The author of operationbeautiful.com actually released a book this week - pretty cool, huh?

My body image is something I have struggled with throughout my life. I will say it has improved as I have gotten older. These days, I make a conscious decision to focus on my positive aspects instead of the things I'd like to change - but it's not quite second nature for me to focus on the positive.

In honor of the "Change the Way You See, Not the Way You Look" week, here are 5 things that I love about my body:

1. My legs - Thanks to all the miles I've logged this summer, my legs have never looked better!
2. My hands - Since I am small boned, I have thin wrists and long, dainty fingers. I love that my hands look very similar to my mom's!
3. My collar bone area - I like that my collar bones sort of stand out, but in a healthy way, not a 'she's too thin' way.
4. My eyes - I have dark brown, intense eyes. I've been told repeatedly that I do not have a poker face as my eyes give away my emotions. This used to bother me as my readability makes me a little bit more vulnerable, but I've grown to like the fact my eyes really are the window to my soul.
5. My skin tone - I really like my olive skin tone - especially in the summer as I tan very easily!

I challenge you to list 5 things that you love about your body! I must say, I feel a bit sheepish talking about what I love about my body... I guess I am still programmed to talk more about what I don't like!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Looking Forward

I haven't done a "Looking Forward" post since June so figured I was due for one!

Here is what I am looking forward to!

Today is Miracle Treat Day at Dairy Queen, so I will be treating myself to a blizzard. Blizzards are so freaking caloric, I only eat them once a year on this day, since some of the proceeds are donated to the Children's Miracle Network. When I used to work downtown, I'd always organize a "Blizzard run" in the afternoon and we'd all go get blizzards together. I don't work with that group anymore, so I will go on my own after work. Can't wait to treat myself to an M&M Blizzard!

This week I will sleep in on Saturday!! After feeling so, so, so exhausted last week, I decided that it was time to make some changes to my marathon training. Since I was doing a longish run on Saturday and my long run on Sunday, I never had the chance to sleep in. That needed to change, so I have tweaked my schedule. This means more 5 am runs during the week, but it will be worth it if it means sleeping on Saturday. Of course, "sleeping in" means something completely different from what is used to me - I am going to guess I will wake up at 8!

This month I will get together with some bloggers for a little reunion in Minneapolis! I can't wait to meet these girls and show them my city!!

This year I will go to Paris to celebrate my 30th birthday! So, so, so excited to return to the city which completely captured my heart in 2008!

What are you looking forward to today, this week, this month, and/or this year?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of July


Just Say Yes by Snow Patrol - la, la, love this song. I mean, who doesn't dream of a boy asking them to just say yes?

If I Die Young by The Band Perry - I'm not a huge country fan but I think this song is sort of "hauntingly beautiful" (that's how my friend Mandy described it)


Cover Her Face by P.D. James - this was the July book for my local book club. It's the first of a series of murder mysteries written by a British author. It was a short, easy read which was perfect for a summer book club meeting!

The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson - I finally got around to reading the 2nd book in this series. I liked it just as much as the first one and look forward to reading the last book in the trilogy - maybe this fall?

The Last War by Ana Menendez - You can read my review of this book here.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett - This was the July Blogger Book club book. It's a delightful children's book! I really wish I would have read it at a younger age!


Total miles ran = 114! I am really happy with this number - especially given the cartwheel injury that happened over the 4th! I am pleased to say that I am 100% healed from that ordeal... No more cartwheels for until after the marathon. Or maybe ever.


You can't see much of the dress in this photo because my cousin's beautiful baby boy is on my lap, but this is one of my favorite dresses that I bought this summer. It's super comfy and if I pair it with a camisole and a cardigan, I can wear it to work.

I treated myself to this top from Anthropologie. In addition to inheriting my father's inability to ask for directions, I also inherited his shape - ie I have NO curves. This shirt makes me look like I have some curves, though, so I had to get it. Also, I like how the shirt is longer - I sort of have a long torso so I hate how many shirts sort of run a little bit short.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1.What is your current favorite television show?
Right now it’s Top Chef. I follow recipes religiously so I am amazed by these talented chefs who can come up with delectable dishes on the fly.

When fall rolls around, my favorite show is most definitely Parenthood. Oh how I heart Adam Braverman. He makes my heart go pitter-patter and sometimes I clap/squeal when I watch that show...

2. Apple juice or orange juice?
Not crazy about either but if I had to choose, I'd say PULP FREE Orange Juice. Ish, I hate pulpy orange juice. It makes me want to gag!

3. It’s Shark Week on Discover Channel. Do you watch? Why or why not?
No, I didn’t. I didn’t even know it was on… I don't really watch much on the discover channel... Don't judge...

4. What are the non-blog websites that you visit regularly?
www.goodreads.com - if you love to read and like to keep track of what you have read, are currently reading, or would like to read, I highly recommend this sight!


5. What is your favorite way to prepare green beans? Asparagus? Potatoes? Carrots?
Green Beans – I tend to just boil them
Asparagus – Grilled! My condo association bans grills, though, so I usually saute it with some olive oil and garlic
Potatoes – I prefer baked potatoes. Or, if I could have a grill, I'd chopped them up, make foil packets, and throw them on a grill...
Carrots – I like them boiled with a little bit of butter and brown sugar

6. What is your favorite flower?
It’s a toss-up between peonies and hydrangeas. But really, I love any flower! I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve received flowers, so I will take when I can get!

7. How do you feel about handkerchiefs?
I like the idea of them… but not sure I could actually get behind actually using them… Exception being on your wedding day when they are a must in my opinion... Well, if you are a cryer like I sort of am...

8. If you could only shop at 3 stores for the rest of your life, what would they be? (You probably should include a grocery store.)
Grocery store = Lunds
Target because they have everything
Anthropologie because I la la love their clothes. Of course this assumes that I have an unlimited budget… Their clothes are a BIT pricey so this is sort of a ‘dream’ 3rd store

9. If you could only use wine for one purpose for the rest of your life, which would you choose? To cook with or to drink?
Definitely to drink!

10. What’s your bedtime?
I usually go to bed around 10 and read for 30 minutes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 9

Good morning & happy Monday. After this week, I will be half done with marathon training. Holy cannasta it is flying by! I know I say that pretty much every week, though. I wish time would slow down a bit.

Something happened on my long run on Sunday that has surprisingly never happened before since I started running in 2005.

I got lost.

Now, this will come as no surprise to any family members reading this because I seriously have no sense of direction - whatsoever. I mean, I once got lost in a high school friend's house... and it's not like her house was enormous or anything...

I ran a familiar route yesterday but got into trouble when I tried to add 6 miles onto this loop. I had added 3 miles onto this loop when I did my 12 miler a couple of weeks ago but apparently my memory of that 3 mile addition was a bit foggy as I definitely could not find the road I wanted to run along...

So I just kept randomly running through this neighborhood in South Minneapolis, hoping I would stumble upon Minnehaha Parkway. Total fail. So I just kept running, hoping I was going in the right direction. I had a general idea of where I was, but at the same time I was pretty lost.

I saw people out on their lawns but I guess I have a little too much of my father in me as I had too much pride to stop and ask someone where I was and whether I was running towards the Lake I needed to get back to.

I will say - at one point I got on a running path that ended being part of a golf course... I contemplated continuing along that path as I had a good idea of where it would end, but I was picturing myself being scolded by a Course Marshall or something.

Luckily, it all worked out. I eventually found the lake I was looking for and made it back to my car. Being lost sort of threw me off, though, so this was definitely not my best run. And I ended up running along a road with absolutely no shade, so I was exhausted by the end of the run.

This week is another step back week, though. Thank God. I am in need of an easier week!

Do you have a good sense of direction? Are are you also missing an internal compass like me? If you get lost, do you ask for help?

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 34
Training-to-date mileage: 212