Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fueling Fail

As I said on Monday in my marathon post, my run on Sunday went really well - but it didn't get off to that great of a start.

I usually have gatorade in my fridge and fill up my fuel belt before heading out for my run. I wasn't quite as organize last weekend, so I decided to just grab some gatorade on my way to the trail. I mean, you would think that a gas station would be open at 7 am, right?

Wrongo batman.

I went to 3 different gas stations, none of which were open.

Luckily it worked out and I found a grocery store that was open. (Does it makes sense that a gas station isn't open at 7 but a grocery store is? I think not...) They didn't have any chilled gatorade so I had to settle for some room temperature gatorade. Which is really not a big deal because when you are thirsty on a run, anything tastes good.

Oh wait, I should say - most things taste good. You know what doesn't taste good? The fuel they are serving at the Portland marathon - Ultima Replenisher. Dear God, the stuff is disgusting. I tried drinking it on some training runs and I was actually dreading drinking it, it's THAT bad.

I haven't quite come up with a solution for the fact that I don't like the fuel they are serving at the marathon. I mean, it's a pretty crucial detail, but I keep telling myself that maybe on race day, it will magically taste good... I plan on carrying 32 oz. of gatorade in my fuel belt, but that's not enough for 26.2 miles, so I am going to have to drink some of the Ultima... but hopefully not much.

And while we are on the subject of fuel, I also found a post run fuel that I do NOT enjoy. The grocery store didn't have single servings of chocolate milk (my go-to post-run fuel), so I got a Chocolate Muscle Milk instead. Oh my gosh, it was so disgusting, I don't know how people drink it. I was afraid to cough after drinking it as I thought I just *might* vomit. And it was not cheap.

So here's what I've learned...

1. Buy gatorade the night before a long run.
2. Even though I am a type A person, I don't always plan so well - hence, not having a great plan for fueling on race day.
3. Muscle Milk is disgusting.

Have you ever done a race and not like the fluids being served? What is your go to drink after a work out? Does anyone out there actually like Muscle Milk?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

These days...

These days, my life is feeling very full. I'm spending time with family. I am meeting new people. I am being challenged at work. I am tapering in preparation for the marathon.

A full life means that I am not home very often. I look around my little shoe box condo and wonder how it is possible that it is so disorganized when I am home so little. I feel a tad bit guilty when I choose coffee with a friend over an afternoon spent cleaning.

But then I read this little passage by one of my favorite authors, Mary Anne Radmacher, and I feel a little bit less guilty...

"chances are... forever is... sitting outside my door. why am i doing the dishes? days speedily tick past, my future, in, pours from this pen of today, written with apparent ease. a precious vapor disappears. in the clearing of it i shall see that i am aged. i shall wonder how i could have dedicated so many days to the pursuit of nonessential things. what of all those days can i recall? as i learn to embrace the gray and the wrinkle, i open the door to chance. i whisper to forever, "let's now go dance and leave the dishes for later."

I am a bit behind right now. I'm behind on cleaning my condo. I'm behind on projects I want to tackle this fall. I'm behind on reading. I fall into bed each night feeling exhausted - but very fulfilled.

My life is full right now and I know that when I look back, I won't regret the fact that my condo isn't spotless. I will be glad that I let things slide a bit so I can do the things I really enjoy and see the people that I love to be around.

Do you ever feel guilty when you let certain responsibilities slide a little bit?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. Growing up, what was one favorite item that you had to have with you at all times?
I can not think of a single thing that I was attached to actually... I didn't have a blanket or a stuffed animal or anything like that.

2. Being an adult, what is one favorite item that you have to have with you at all times, and what happens if you do not have it with you? Do you lose your sanity or just go back home to get it?
My cell phone and my iPod. If I am close to home and realize I forgot one/both of these items, I will go back and get them. I feel naked without my phone! I can listen to my iPod at work and I find that it helps me really concentrate, which probably sounds odd, but the music kind of creates this sound barrier and I can really focus.

3. Where is your favorite place to be to just hide away from everything and breathe for a moment?
Running around one of the lakes in the Minneapolis area.

4. What is your favorite thing about your partner? (If you don’t have a partner, then someone who is very close and will always be in your life)
I'm not married... so my answer is about my younger sister. My favorite thing is how much she 'gets me'. Even though we have our differences, we are quite similar and there are things I can complain about to her that she totally gets.

5. What is your favorite thing about your job? (If you don’t have a job, then what is your favorite thing that you do during your day?)
I really like the people I work for/with; they make me laugh and my manager makes me feel very appreciated.

6. What is your favorite lesson that your parents taught you growing up? Looking back, is it something that you want to use to teach your children when they reach that age?
I am glad that my parents taught us how to work hard and work honestly. As a result, I think I have a great work ethic. I would definitely pass that onto my children.

7. What is your favorite song, that will always bring a smile to your face and make you think of something happy?
Like a Prayer will always make me think of Delta Gamma date parties and preferences. We would crowd the dance floor and sing that song at the top of our lungs!

8. What is your favorite things about being an American? (If you not American, what are you proud of in regards to your country)
All of the freedoms and privileges that we sometimes take for granted; basic things like clean drinking water and reliable electricity, and other rights such as freedom of speech.

9. What is your favorite meal that reminds you of being a child?
Spaghetti reminds me of being a child because it was one of my favorite things that my mom would make. When I was a kid, I wasn't a big fan of the sauce, though. The rule was that you had to have one helping with sauce and then you could have plain noodles if you finished your first helping. These days, I love the sauce, but I always think about those spaghetti meals with my family when I make it for myself!

10. Name 3 things that other people would say are their favorite thing about you.
That is kind of tough... I think they would say...

1. A lot of random things happen to me and I turn these experiences into pretty entertaining stories.
2. I am an honest and loyal friend.
3. I'm reliable and someone they can count on.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 17

Good morning and happy Monday, everyone! My last double digit training run went really well this weekend. The temps were nice and cool (in the 40s), there was no wind, and the sun was shining. I would be thrilled if it was that nice on race day - fingers crossed!

Fall has definitely arrived here in Minnesota - which thrills me to no end. My mood and pace are both positively impacted by cooler temps. I am not nearly as cranky as I was in August and my average pace has been consistently around 9:40 which I am really happy with! I feel like 9:40 has sort of become my 'sweet spot'. I don't know if it is realistic to run 9:40 miles on marathon day, but right now, 9:40 feels like a nice, comfortable pace when I am doing these training runs.

I have another light week of running ahead of me. It feels weird to run 3 or 4 miles on week days. I am used to running 6-8 miles/day. I liked the challenge of fitting in 8 miles before going to work on Wednesday but I must say, these lighter running days are quite lovely!

Amber messaged me yesterday to say, 'two weeks from now we will be heading to the start line!' When I read it, I immediately had the 'nervous butterflies' feeling. I am excited for the race, but I am nervous for the race. But I have properly trained and I know my body is ready for those 26.2! Can't wait to see how it all turns out!

I'll be back next week with my race goals! Have a great week everyone!

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 24
Training-to-date mileage: 462

Friday, September 24, 2010

Chop Chop Bo-Bop

Greetings and happy Friday everyone! It was a fun, hectic, rainy week for me. I am so glad the weekend is here! I have a good mix of relaxation + fun planes - and I have my last double digit long run before the marathon (12 miles on Sunday). It's single digits going forward until the marathon!

One activity I am really looking forward to is a knife skills class that I will be taking at Cooks of Crocus Hill, a local cooking store that hosts classes. They have a special event on Saturday so classes are only $10 which is quite the steal! I will be going to the clases, "Chop Chop Bo-Bop" where we'll learn some chopping techniques while making salsa. There will be 30 minutes of instruction and then 30 minutes of hand-on practice. Taking a knife skills class is actually on my 30 before 30 list so I am excited to cross something else off the list!

I've had people tell me that they get nervous when they watch me chop things - specifically one of my ex-boyfriends. He said he felt like we were always moments away from a trip to the emergency room. I have never cut myself while slicing and dicing, but I do know I have some room for improvement! I am sure I'll have a full report on the class next week at some point!

Have you taken any cooking classes? Do you think you have good knife skills?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ten on Tuesday, err, Thursday...

1. What’s the one thing you always do when you’re stressed?
I talk fast, get a little cranky, and tend to push people away...

2. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done for a friend?
Well, I can't think of anything weird, but the most unique thing I've done is help my best friend's husband pick out her engagement ring, which was the most special experience! And the hardest secret to keep!!!

3. What cleaning supply could you not live without?
Clorox wipes... It's just nice to be able to quickly wipe something up.

4. How long do you plan on living where you currently reside?
Good question. Right now, I feel like I'll live here forever becausee that is how long it will take for the value to rebound.

Realistically, I will probably stay here until I get married (if that ever happens...) and the I would rent this out...

5. Do you usually vote straight party, a mixture, or not at all?
I tend to vote straight party

6. What’s something that you love to do, but seem to never make time for?
I love knitting but don't quite find the time to do it - or not as much as I would like to. I do tend to knit more in the winter, though, so hopefully I can do it more often this winter.

7. What’s your favorite store to buy things for other people?
It's a toss-up between Anthropologie, Bibelot, or Patina. Bibelot and Patina are these cute little boutiques. Anthropologie has THE best aprons. I can always find SOMETHING at one of these 3 stores.

8. What’s the weather like around you today?
It's sort of overcast/rainy. It's been like that all week! But I am not complaining. I will take this over heat/humidity!

9. What’s the worst book you’ve ever bought and read?
Definitely The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I guess it just didn't translate for me. I got it at a company book sale, though, and only paid $.25... but I still want my quarter back. It was THAT awful.

10. What’s the closest thing to you that is yellow?
The title of the latest edition of Runner's World is yellow, that's it for yellow things around me!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Travel Plans!

It's hard to believe that I fly out for Vancouver, BC 2 weeks from today! Holey moley this trip snuck up on me. But I am SO excited for it! Especially since I get to finally meet Amber and Lauren!

So here is a little break down of my travel plans!

I arrive in Vancouver, BC on Wedneday, October 6th. Amber is picking me up from the airport and will be my Vancouver tour guide! I can't wait to check out the city and run along the seawall - with Amber! We're planning to meet up with some Vancouver bloggers for dinner on Thursday night.

On Friday morning, we'll make our way south to Seattle, where we'll spend one night. I know we will not be in Seattle long enough to do this city justice, so I'll definitely need to return to this city in the future. At a minimum, we want to visit the original Starbucks, check out the Pike Place Market, and see the Space Needle (most likely just from the outside). I have heard nothing but great things about this city so can't wait to check it out1

On Saturday morning, we'll continue south to Portland. Time permitting, we might stop at Snoqualmie Falls. I have wanted to visit this park since seeing it on the Bachelor a couple of years ago (yes, I used to watch that show... *hangs head in shame*). We'll arrive in Portland in the the early afternoon and plan to check out the Marathon Expo. If you want to get a feel for the buzz that surrounds a marathon, I recommend checking out a marathon expo. There are tons of booths with free product give aways - and the nervous energy of the expo is pretty darn contagious! I went to the Twin Cities expo last year and walked out thinking, "yep, I definitely need to do a marathon in 2010." After wondering through the expo, we are hoping to get a chance to check out Powell's Books, which is only a block from our hotel. It's one of the largest books stores in the US and covers more than a city block - so it's basically heaven on earth for a book lover like me! After checking out that store, we'll meet up with Lauren and her boyfriend for some carb loading! It turns out that Portland is very gluten free friendly so we had multiple options to choose from, which was a huge relief for me!

On Sunday morning, Amber and I will rise early and head to the start line of the Portland Marathon. In week 18, I'll be telling you more about my goals for the race. Depending on how I feel, we'll hopefully do a bit more walking/exploring on Sunday afternoon. I definitely want to try to keep moving as much as possible... last time I ran a marathon, I took a ginormous nap and woke up in excruciating pain so I really don't want to repeat that experience.

On Monday morning, Amber will drop me off at the airport and I will return to Minneapolis. I am praying that I am not too sore - but at least it is a direct flight!

Here's where you come in!

1. Have you visited Vancouver, Seattle, or Portland? We won't have much time in each city but are always up for recommendations for things that we must see or must do!

2. Any marathoner out there that have traveled to run a marathon? Any words of advice? What should I expect for the plane ride home on Monday?

As always, thanks for your input!!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Book Review: Under This Unbroken Sky

Ufda. Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell might go down as the heaviest book that I have read in 2010. I read quite a few books over the course of a year, so that says a lot! This book is actually Mitchell's first novel - knowing that makes this book even more impressive as it was beautifully written. Mitchell is an award-winning Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter; I think her history in film definitely shined through in this book, especially in her use of subtleties. There were many times throughout the book where she would show us what happens, or would tell part of the story and let the reader draw their own conclusion.

The book tells the story of a family from Ukraine that has emigrated to Canada. Teodor, the father, had been imprisoned for a year for a petty reason and had recently returned to his wife, children, and sister. His experience in prison nearly broke him but he returns his family and works hard to erase the year of his past and build a future for his family.

Unfortunately, despite his best efforts, his family seems to be destined for tragedy. His sister's husband returns and wreaks havoc on their lives. I can't say much about the turn of events that occur as it would ruin the book, but suffice it to say, the events of the book are very heart breaking, rife with the loss of innocence and the loss of life.

A New York Timers reviewer described Mitchell's life as reminiscent of Willa Cathers - I completely agree; so if you enjoy Cather's book, I recommend you check this book out. It definitely gives you an appreciation for the life of an immigrant.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free through TLC Book Tours. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising".

Monday, September 20, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 16

Week 15 ended with my final "long" run of this training cycle. I did 16 yesterday and it went ok. I maintained a 10 min/mile pace, which I am happy with, considering the fact that I felt nauseous for about 14 of the 16 miles. That was tons of fun. I nearly got sick at mile 12, and probably would have if I actually had something in my stomach. Again - super fun. Thank God I was running on a not-so-busy running path.

My marathon training posts have all been pretty upbeat/cheerful so far... but after completing 15 weeks of training, I must be due for a rant, right? So here's a bullet-point list of the random things that annoy the heck out of me when I am running:

  • Long Leashes. The trainings run are challenging enough as is - I really don't feel like hurdling over some people's long leashes. I get that they are out for a leisurely stroll with their dog, but if they could be a bit mindful of their surroundings, that would be great. I have seriously had to leap over stretched out leashes. Now don't even get me started on people who don't have their dog on a leash - which is actually prohibited (the path is clearly marked with signs that state all dogs must be on a leash).
  • Smoking. Yes, it's a free country, but I would prefer it if smokers didn't sit on the benches along the running path of the chain of lakes. It makes me especially snarky when I see young teenagers who don't appear to be 18... I want to yank the cigarette out of their mouth and tell them how un-cool they actually look.
  • OOC children. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I adore kids (especially my nephews). What I don't adore are the out of control kids I sometimes encounter on the running path. I have had some downright unpleasant encounters with children on a running path. Case in point #1: I do NOT want to play chicken with a toddler on a tricycle. If you can't keep up with your child on his bike/trike/scooter, then maybe each him how to share the road and tell him it's not running to charge head-on at a runner. Case in point #2: Last week, I came upon a small child who was with his mom. I am not making this up - he literally stretched out his arms and shuffled back and forth on the running path. I am sure some people think that is cute/funny, but I was pretty unimpressed. His mom totally saw him doing it and did NOTHING to stop him.

I'll stop there, though before I sound too cynical and snarky...

Moving on... This week I get to start to taper! You know that scene from Where the Wild Things Are where the main characters exclaim, "Let the wild rumpus start!" I feel like exclaiming "Let the taper start" with that very same level of enthusiasm!"

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 34
Training-to-date mileage: 438

Friday, September 17, 2010

Weekend Preview

Oh my this has been a long week. It's been a good week, but it's been a full one. I pretty much wasn't home before 8 all week, except last night when I got home at 7:30. So I was gone 12+ hours of the day. You would think that would leave me exhausted which = Lisa sleeps like a baby?

Oh no, sirree. Sleep continues to elude me. I am this close to going to the doctor for the sleep meds, but I just don't want to have to medicate myself to sleep... but, I am taking Benadryl every night, so I guess what's the difference? I already take meds for my face (have acne prone skin), meds for my acid reflux (attempted to ween myself off this summer, total fail), and meds for my allergies (seasonally). If I get another prescription, I feel like I am going to need a days of the week pill box. Which basically makes me a senior citizen.

If anyone has some fabulous natural ideas to get me to fall asleep more easily, I am all ears!

Anyways, enough whining. It's Friday! I have a busy weekend ahead of me with plenty of fun things! Here's a list of what I've got planned for the weekend, bullet point style:
  • Tonight I am going out to dinner and then heading to an Oktoberfest celebration at a local German bar (weather permitting, it's an outdoor event). I'm a German girl so I feel it's my duty to attend this celebration each year... I can't drink beer (most have gluten) but even if I could, I wouldn't because I have never liked it. So I will be the outcast drinking a Vodka Tonic.
  • Tomorrow morning I will probably work... we are swamped and they are offering Visa Gift Cards based on the number of files I review and it's just too good to pass up. I figure the Visa Gift Cards will come in handy when I am traveling next month!
  • Saturday afternoon I am shopping with my best friend! I am hoping to find some fall boots, a pair of jeans, and a pair of fun flats.
  • Saturday evening I have a date with 2 boys... My nephews, of course! I can't wait to hang out with them for the evening! I hope they are excited to see me as I am to see them!
  • Sunday Morning I will do my last LONG run of the training cycle! Hal calls for me to do 20, but I think back-to-back 20s would be too hard on my body, and I don't want to risk an injury so I am planning on doing 16-18 miles. Then the taper begins!! Woot woot!

So there you have it! Saturday is a little bit packed, but Sunday should be a low key day. I might actually cook something for the first time in like 4 weeks. We'll see. I have pretty much been living on baked potatoes and microwavable Amy's GF meals. Fancy, huh? That's what happens when you get home at 8 pm and are exhausted. Those are nights where I'd like to hire a husband that likes to cook. Ha.

What do you have planned for the weekend?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

On Holding onto Summer...

Fall has arrived here in Minneapolis and I could NOT be happier. I was so over summer. Turns out that Heat + Humidity + no central air + marathon training = 1 Snarky Lisa. But the temps have dropped and I am embracing fall with open arms!

But I know not everyone is feeling this way. So if you are looking for a way to hold onto summer for just a bit longer, I recommend making, in my opinion, the perfect summer drink: a margarita!

I tend to prefer my margaritas on the rocks, but that requires a precise mixologist, and that is not me. So this blended concoction is pretty fan-freaking-tastic. This is my sister Abby's recipe; she made them for us when my parents & I visited Tucson in May.

It's easy peasy, and fool proof - so here goes!

Place the following ingredients in a blender:

1 can of lime-aid concentrate
juice of 1 squeezed lime
3/4 c. Tequila
1/4 c. Triple Sec
top off blender with ice to 'fill' line

Blend away, and voila!

Make sure you rim the glasses with salt! It makes them even more delicious!

I whipped up a couple of batches of these when Nora, Manda, and Kyla were visiting and they gave it their stamp of approval. And can I just say how much the free blender that I got from CSN rocks?

So while I have zero interest in holding onto summer, I will continue to blended up this fabulous concoction throughout the fall and into winter.

Are you sad to see summer go or are you like me and are thrilled that fall has arrived? Also, what is your favorite summer drink?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Looking Forward

Time for another "Looking Forward" post!

Today I have a girls night at a pottery painting place! One of my best friends here in Minneapolis is expecting in December so we will be painting pieces for the baby's room. We did this a couple of years ago when another friend was expecting and had so much fun, I decided to re-create that event. As many of you know, I am not crafty/creative, so I am more so there for the conversation.

This week I am going shopping with that same best friend that is expecting. There are very few people that I enjoy shopping with - but B is one of them! She's going to help me pick out some fall boots and some new jeans! I'm really looking forward to our shopping excursion as I know it will be tougher to do things like this once the baby arrives... Although I am more than happy to trade in a shopping excursion for cuddle time with my faux nephew...

This month I will meet Amber and Lauren!! The marathon is less than a month away - which is a bit hard for me to wrap my mind around!! I'll be sharing my travel plans with you next week - Amber and I will be road tripping it from Vancouver to Portland! Can't wait!

This year I will travel to Arizona in January to see my sister and her husband - and to meet my faux niece. My 2 best friends are actually both due in December - only one day apart! So I will travel to Arizona in January to meet the little lady. I don't have any nieces so I am looking forward to having an excuse to shop for something pink for a change. :)

What are you looking forward to these days?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

Chelsea's 10 on Tuesday are travel themed today!!

1. Favorite way to travel (plane, train, automobile, etc.)
Definitely plane because it is the quickest way to get places... I am a very impatient person... and a not so great driver...

2. Where’s your favorite place to travel to that you’ve been to?
Paris - no surprise there! I thought Paris was so enchanting. I can not wait to return there in February.

Runner up is the south island of New Zealand.

3. Where’s the place that you want to go but have never been?
Italy. I kind of want to wait until I have a significant other to go there - perhaps for a honeymoon. If I am still single 5 or 10 years from now, though, I will just go on my own!

4. Do you deal with traffic well?
Hells no. I am so impatient and I can't stand the idiots that are out on the road. I'm looking at you, Mr. going 5 mph below the speed limit in the passing lane.

5. Ever had an emergency while traveling?
Nope, not that I can recall!

6. Do you have a passport? What countries have you been to?
Yes, I just got my new one!

These are the countries I've seen, in the order I have seen them: England, Fiji, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Dominican Republic, France.

7. Are you’ve light packer or do you pack everything but the kitchen sink?
I've gotten to be a lighter packer because I know how not fun it is to haul a ginormous suitcase around. I will say, I have gotten quite good at fitting a heck of a lot of stuff in a small suitcase.

8. Do you take the fastest route or the road less traveled?
Um, usually the fastest route. Unless I am walking in a city, then I am ok with wandering aimlessly. And let's be honest, I pretty much always get lost at some point during the trip which = taking the road less traveled... Yes, I was born without a sense of direction.

9. Do any activities on the road? (like road games, reading, sleeping, etc. )
Well, I am pretty much always traveling alone... So if I am driving, let's hope I am not sleeping! When I fly, I listen to my iPod asap so I can give off the "Don't even think about talking to me, we are not going to exchange life stories" look. And then I either knit or read.

I know that makes me sound like a not nice person. I really am. I just don't do small talk with random strangers.

If I actually ever went on a road trip with someone else, I would definitely bring along the book, "If... Questions for the Game of Life". It's a great way to get to know people!

10. Use a paper map or GPS?
Well, I rely on my GPS, Australia Lee. He usually gets me to my destination. Sometimes he gets me ridiculously lost. But he talks to me in an Australia accents, so really, I can't complain!

PS - Parenthood resumes tonight! So, so, so excited. I am in dire need of an Adam Braverman fix.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 15 - Bear Water 20 Mile Race Recap

Wow, getting really close to week 18, which is marathon week! Yikes!

The beginning of this week was not so great for me, running-wise. I had to cut my Wednesday night run short because it was starting to get dark... For some reason, I feel safer running in the dark in the a.m. than the p.m. Maybe I feel like the crazies don't come out between 5-6 am? So I cut that run short. Then I completely skipped my Thursday run because I was just way too exhausted to get up and run at 5 that day. That morning, I actually got up, put on my running clothes, and then looked in the mirror and said, "nope, can't do this today." And then I went back to bed, in my running clothes. Stellar.

So my mileage was super, duper low for the week... But I knew I had a 20 miler on Saturday so I decided to cut myself some slack.

My legs apparently responded well to not running much this week because my 20 miler went wonderfully! I was pretty nervous that morning... and then I got a little lost. Australian Lee really needs to step it up and stop getting me lost. Once again, I blame the fact that I was in 'lake country' so the roads were winding and there were seriously 3 different roads that were labeled as "County Road 96". Um, how is my GPS supposed to know which one to turn onto? Seriously? And why would County Road 96 also = Highway 61. Seriously?

I digress.

Anyways, luckily I budgeted "Lisa gets lost" time into the morning so had plenty of time to pick up my race number and stretch before the race started. Phew.

Here is a break down of how it went!

Mile 1 - 9:13
Mile 2 - 9:17
Mile 3 - 9:29
Mile 4 - 9:13 (took my first Gu* at this point)
Mile 5 - 9:36
Mile 6 - 9:28
Mile 7 - 9:48
Mile 8 - 9:25 (2nd Gu)
Mile 9 - 9:52
Mile 10 - 10:03 (stopped to go to the bathroom so lost some time here)
Mile 11 - 9:33
Mile 12 - 9:37 (3rd Gu)
Mile 13 - 9:47
Mile 14 - 9:33
Mile 15 - 9:52
Mile 16 - 9:49 (4th Gu)
Mile 17 - 10:16 (starting to feel fatigued at this point)
Mile 18 - 9:42
Mile 19 - 10:23
Mile 20 - 9:25

Totals - 20 miles, 3:13:40 (per my Garmin), average pace of 9:40

*For non-runners, Gu is this sugary gel that I eat. I eat the Vanilla Bean flavor, which I think is pretty delicious. It's sort of like eating frosting in a gel form. Sounds kind of gross, but it's decent...

My goal was to finish in 3:20 so I am VERY pleased with how the run went. One of my co-workers had another friend running this race, so she came out to watch and saw me right when I had finished miles 10 and 16. She ran with me for a bit each time she saw me, which was really awesome!

When I saw her at 16, I told her I actually felt really, really good. On Friday, a co-worker had asked me when I started to feel 'fatigued' during a run. I said maybe around mile 13 or 14? Well on Saturday, I was still feeling great at mile 16. I probably jinxed myself by talking about that because the fatigue started to hit me around 17. I started to feel those miles in my hip flexor and knees, but after stretching at the water stop at mile 18, I felt much better.

I was tired when I crossed the finish line, but I could have done another 10k. I hope I feel this good on marathon race day! I was pretty tired/sore on Sunday, but I don't think I 'over did' it as I felt like I was running at a 'comfortable pace' the whole time.

I am relieved that this run went so well. Truth be told, I was sort of struggling in the confidence area this summer after some not-so-great runs. But now that I've had great 18 and 20 milers, I KNOW I can do this marathon and there is a very good chance I will PR.

I have another long run coming up this weekend - I plan on do something around 16-20. Then it's taper time! The end is in sight - which means my meet-up with Amber is just around the corner! So excited!!

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 28 (pretty pathetic, but I'll take it...)
Training-to-date mileage: 404

Friday, September 10, 2010

Labor Day Weekend Recap

I am finally getting around to recapping my Labor Day weekend. It's been a busy, busy week! So here's my recap, bullet point style, with some photos at the end...

This Labor Day weekend...
  • I felt my heart swell when my 3 year old nephew from Chicago hugged me and said, "I missed you" in the sweetest voice. And then I grinned ear-to-ear when he referred to me as Abby (my little sister) for the rest of the weekend. We sort of look alike, so I can't really blame him for mixing us up!
  • the world slowed down a bit when I had a coffee date with my cousin, who is more like a "sister from another mister". There's nothing better that catching up over a cup of coffee with a person who totally gets you. Tears were shed when talking about the disappointments of dating and other challenges I have faced this year, but it felt ok, and actually kind of good, to cry with her.
  • I was reminded that my GPS, aka Australia Lee, is not 100% reliable. He totally got me lost on the way to my aunt & uncle's lake cabin. So lost that I considered turning back and giving up. Luckily, my mom talked me out of that and my dad & uncle came to my rescue. They found me in the one-horse town I ended up in, and led the way. I did NOT find it funny at the time, but by the end of the day, I was joking about the fact that everyone brought a dish to share, and I couldn't even bring myself. I do NOT handle the feeling of being lost very well. But who does, right?
  • Plans were made for a girls trip to Boston in October of 2011. The men in our family go on a lot of hunting/fishing trips, so us girls are WAY over due for a trip of our own! I love planning trips so am so excited to plan this little vacation with my sisters, sisters-in-law, and mom!

And now for a couple of pictures...

My nephew Kolin - I love his brown eyes!!

My 4 nephews! It's rare to get them all together and sort of looking at the camera! L-R, Matthew and Kolin are in the front, Andrew and James are in the back.

This is me and my Godson, James. He lost his 2 front teeth this summer! I love how I am bundled up in jeans and a fleece, and he is in his swimsuit!! Kids are so tough and don't seem to feel the cold like us adults!!

Kolin and Matthew playing in the water. Again, let me emphasize that I was chilly in my fleece (but not complaining, I love these cooler fall temps) - and they were playing in the water!

I hope you all have a fabulous weekend! Wish me luck tomorrow - I'll be doing the Bear Water 20 mile run as a training run for my marathon!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Half of My Heart

Warning: bit of a heavier post to follow...

Let me just start off by saying that I sort of can't stand John Mayer. I was a little bit totally in love with him when he released his first CD. The song, "Why Georgia" totally transports me back to my senior year of college! However, the more successful he becomes, the less I like him. I think he's sort of the ultimate tool, actually.

That said - I do begrudgingly like his song, "Half of My Heart". Last month I watched the music video on the VH1 Top 20 Countdown... and was sort of intrigued. Have you seen it? If not, here it is...

So what is your interpretation? Did the bride call the wedding off? That is my assumption since we never see the bride, but I am not quite sure. Did the bride have a relationship with John Mayer? He pulls out that slip of paper with "Can't stop loving you" at the end - did he receive that from the bride?

Dang you, John Mayer, for intriguing me with your music video.

Switching gears, this video sparked a memory of a dream I had probably 5 years ago. It is a haunting dream... I dreamed that it was my wedding day, but everything was so last minute. I mean, I was selecting the music for the ceremony on the morning of the wedding!!! I am a bit of a planner so that is so out of character for me... The rest of the dream details are very blurry - with the exception of the end of the dream. I was standing outside of the church, alone, in my wedding dress. I knew in my heart that I couldn't go through with it, but I could see that the church was full of my closest family and friends. So I just kept walking back and forth along the sidewalk in front of the church, trying to find the courage to call the wedding off.

Worst. Feeling. Ever.

But is that feeling worse than actually going through with it and marrying a man that I know isn't the right one for me? No, that would be much worse.

It's sort of bizarre that I had this dream. I am not a commitment-phobe. I am not afraid of marriage. My parents, grandparents, and siblings have provided excellent examples of how wonderful marriage really is. I look forward to getting married some day.

But I tell you what - the feeling of dread/panic that I experienced in that dream? I guess I sort of keep that in the back of my mind when I am dating someone. What does this mean? While I do enjoy getting caught up in the excitement of falling in love, I try not to be blinded by love. I try to take a step back and ask myself,

"Could I marry this person?"

"Is this how my future husband should talk to me or treat me?"

Stepping back and asking myself these questions is what resulted in the end of my relationship with The Deux a couple of years ago. On paper, we had so much in common. He fit in well with my family. He loved going to my parents' cabin as much as I did. We had 80% of what it takes to have a successful, fulfilling relationship. But that other 20% that wasn't there would have made for a very unhappy marriage.

We are both good people, we just aren't good for each other.

It was scary when I ended that relationship. But what was scarier was the fact that, had he asked me to marry him eventually, I would have been that bride planning her wedding, doubting that he was the right person.

This spring, I had another dream about getting married*. This one was a happy one, though. I was walking down the aisle with my dad, towards my husband-to-be. I don't remember much else from the dream, except for one thing - the feeling of complete certainty, rightness, and excitement that I felt as I approached my groom.

I don't know if marriage is God's plan for me - I guess I will have to wait an see. But that feeling of certainty? That is what I look forward to.

Am I the only one who has had a heavy dream about marriage? Have you had a similar dream? Or are your dreams the "happily ever after" type? And don't forget to comment on your interpretation of the John Mayer video!!

* These are the only 2 dreams I can remember having about weddings... It's not like it's a recurring dream by any means... I thought I should clarify that, lest you think I am some wedding-obsessed psycho...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Marathon Madness Wednesday: Week 14

Week 13 of training was not my best week. I was supposed to run 12 miles on Sunday, but I ended up cutting it short and only running 8. I think the combination of not sleeping so well the last couple of weeks (or all summer, really) caught up with me and I was just so tired, so I decided to listen to my body and cut the run short. I still put in 32 miles, which is a respectable amount of miles. I have back-to-back 20 mile runs the next two weekends, so I figured a light week was acceptable.

Today I am going to talk about something that I really should have talked about WAY earlier in these training posts since it is such an important subject!


Whenever someone tells me that they are going to start running or start training for a race - whether it's a 5k, 10k, or half marathon, my first words of advice are to go to a running store to get fitted for shoes! I am so glad that someone told me this when I got into running back in 2005. Luckily I found a great local running store that has been incredibly helpful. Everyone that works there is a runner and they also have an in store physician who can field questions for you.

So what does a shoe fitting entail? At my store, they usually have you take your shoes and socks off and then they have you walk the length of the store. By watching you walk, they are watching for pronation (inward roll of the foot) or supination (outward roll of the foot). They'll also look at your feet to see how high your arches are. Then they make a recommendation based on what they've seen during the assessment. I am a supinator - which is no surprise since I have incredibly high arches. I would show you a picture but my feet are disgusting from marathon training!

I run in Mizuno Wave Riders (pictured above) and absolutely love them. It took me awhile to realize that these were the best shoes for my feet, but now that I know how well they work, I don't even need to try on shoes; when I am due for a new pair, I just walk in, ask for my size, pay, and leave. Interestingly enough, my sister also runs in Wave Riders - just a 1/2 size smaller!

The rule of thumb is to replace your shoes every 400-600 miles. I had to get a new pair in August and was sort of bummed when I had to buy the exact same pair of shoes - I was hoping that the Wave Rider 14 had been released so I could run in a different color, and was sort of hoping for pink ones!

What shoes do you run in?

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 32
Training-to-date mileage: 376

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Review: Leaving Before It's Over

** Chelsea had her baby last week so there is no Ten on Tuesday this week. Hop over to her blog to check out her beautiful baby boy, Jansen. And can I just say that I totally guessed her due date? At the end of August, she did a post, asking her readers to guess when the baby would be born. Her due date was September 19th, I guessed September 2nd and was right!! Kind of cool, huh? **

Last month I read "Leaving Before It's Over" by Jean Reynolds Page. In this book, we meet Roy Vines and his wife Rosalind. Earlier in life, Roy had been forced to choose between his family and Rosalind; he chose Rosalind. Roy & Rosalind accepted the fact that they would never have a relationship with Roy's family... then Rosalind finds out she has a serious disease. Their family has fallen on hard times and Roy can not afford the treatments his wife requires so he returns home to ask his family for help. Page slowly reveals the circumstances that drove a wedge between Roy and his family, and we learn more about the dymanics of the family. The damage seems irreparable as Roy's late wife had a son, Luke, that everyone thought Roy had fathered - and abandoned.

Roy strikes a deal with his twin brother and takes Luke home with him for the summer in exchange for financial assistance. I can just imagine the anger that Luke felt towards Roy... All through life, Luke had been told that Roy was his father - and now he has to spend the summer with Roy and his family. Slowly Luke begins to see that Roy is not the jerk that he has been made out to be by his family, though.

This book was another quick/engaging read. It made me think - could I ever choose a man over my family? The answer is no, I couldn't. I can't imagine a circumstance where I would have to, though. I trust the opinions of my parents and siblings - so if they truly did not approve of someone I dated, I would really take their opinions into consideration... In the circumstances of this book, Roy made the right decision in choosing his wife over his family - I just can't imagine having to live with that decision...

Could you marry someone that your family did not approve of?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Five Things Friday

Guess who isn't working today?


As you read this, I will be at the cabin with my family. My brother from Chicago is there this week so I headed up a day early to get some extra time with him. I can't wait to hang out with my little nephew, Kolin! I wonder if he'll know my name or call me Abby! The boys have a bit of a tough time telling us apart sometimes!

Since my brain is a bit scattered this week, here's my miscellany in "Five Things Friday" form..

1. Tator Tot Hotdish - You can get this on a stick at the state fair. I was explaining the concept to the ladies last week at the fair and - GASP - they didn't know what Tator Tot Hotdish is!!! What? I had no idea this was a regional dish! It really wasn't something my mom made very often (if at all...) but I remember having it at school and loving it. Since it has cream of mushroom soup in it... which has gluten in it... I can't have it now... But really, it's something I think everyone should experience... And yes, I realize that most of the nation says "casserole", not "hotdish" but I am a North Dakota girl and that's how we role.

2. A Labor of Love - So that crochet project I have been working on for 3+ months? It's done! Well, besides the finishing work... I know I sort of whined about how difficult/frustrating it was, but the project turned out beautifully. I can't wait to reveal it to you, but you'll have to wait a while as it's a gift for a friend that reads this blog.

3. The Dark - This week I noticed that it is way darker at 5 am when I do my morning runs. Like I can see the stars. On Wednesday, it was dark for 5 of my 8 miles, some of which were ran on a trail that is not very well lit. I live in a safe neighborhood, so I know I am safe. What does make me nervous is tripping over a curb or crack in the side walk (I am a total klutz) or running into the deer or something like that (not out of the realm of possibilities...)! I am pretty sure these 5 am runs will have to be phased out soon...

4. Cool Weather - it's been in the low 60s in the morning this week, which does make those early morning runs quite glorious. I am SO over summer. Seriously. Go away. I want these 60 degree temps to stay around. I am ready for sleeping with the windows open. I'm ready to wear sweaters and scarves as accessories. I'm jonesing to drink a pumpkin spice latte.

5. Another short long run - I switched up my marathon training schedule so instead of doing 20 this weekend, I will do 12. I switched it so that a) I wouldn't have to run 20 miles at the cabin (long runs at the cabin suck since I have limited roads to run on), and b) I'll be running an organized 20 mile race next weekend. I obviously will treat this as a training run and not a 'race'. Even though I won't know anyone else running it, it will be nice to have some company on that long run! I did this same race when I was training for the Twin Cities Marathon in 2006 and it was so well ran so I am really looking forward to it!

Have a fabulous weekend long weekend, everyone! I'll catch you on the flip side - and will likely have a picture-heavy post next week as I get to see ALL 4 of my nephews!!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of August


Never Let You Go by Justin Bieber: Yes, I am 29 going on 12. Don't judge. I needed some new running music and while this song isn't one of the 'faster' ones, it has become one of my favorites... I realize some of you may want to delete me from your reader after reading this, but I think we all have music we have bought that we are a little ashamed about...

Forgiveness by Sarah McLachlin - this is one of the many great songs on her newest album! Yes, it's a little heavy, but I like it...

That Year by Brandi Carlile - The concert is still fresh in my memory so I had to share a Brandi Carlile song. She is so talented! It's hard to believe that she is my age - she has such a soulful voice!


Labor Day by Joyce Maynard - you can read my review here.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith - this is a classic novel, written by the woman who wrote 101 Dalmatians. I liked the voice of the narrator, but this novel was a bit slow moving for me at times.

The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle - you can read my review here.

Leaving Before It's Over - I'll be posting my review on Tuesday.

Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern - Ok, if you can get past the vulgarity of the language in this book, you will love it. It is a laugh-out-loud funny kind of book! It's the kind of book that you probably shouldn't read in public because you WILL be laughing out load quite a bit! My sister was having a stressful day last night so I recommended that she head to B&N, pick up this book, and read a certain chapter. She loved it so much, she bought it.


I ran 152 miles in August! No complaints here - I am very happy with that mileage! I think back to June when I didn't quite hit 100 and I thought I was running a lot. Now I ran 50+ miles further? Kind of crazy!


It was another hot month - the 3rd hottest August in Minnesota on record actually! So it seems fitting to show you yet another inexpensive Target dress! It's obviously super casual, but isn't that what summer is all about?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Bloggers, Meet Minneapolis

Happy Wednesday! I took Friday off so my work week is half over! Oh how I adore 4 day weeks!

So I sort of failed on capturing last weekend on film. It was one of those weekends where I was sort of too busy having fun to think to take photos... But I do have some photos to share with you! You'll have to keep an eye on Kyla, Mandy, and Nora's blogs as I think they all did a much better job of capturing the weekend!

We started off the weekend with a Mexican Fiesta at my house! I used my little sister's guac & margarita recipes, my sister-in-law's vegetarian enchilada recipe, and Karina aka Gluten Free Goddess's Spanish Rice recipe. It was far from gourmet, but I didn't want a stressful hosting experience. Even though this was a super casual meal, I am totally crossing "host a dinner party" off my 30 before 30 list.

On Saturday morning we walked from our hotel to the Mill City area of Minneapolis to check out the Mill City Farmer's Market (which was awesome!). After roaming through the market, we headed up to the observation deck of the Guthrie theater to check out the views of the Mississippi River. Kyla snapped this photo of Mandy, Nora, and I.

I have no pictures from Saturday afternoon unfortunately, but we had lunch at French Meadow Cafe, checked out Wild Rumpus Book Store, and had ice cream at Sebastian Joe's.

On Saturday night, we checked out the concert at the Lake Harriet Band Shell. We were all pretty starving so we only stayed for 3 songs, but the musicians were very talented. I snapped this shot of Nora, Kyla, and Mandy.

After checking out the concert, we headed to Chatterbox Pub where we had dinner, played music bingo, and chatted away.

On Sunday morning, we headed back to the Mill City area and had breakfast at Spoonriver, which was delicious.

After brunch we headed over to the Sculpture Garden to check out the infamous Cherry-on-a-Spoon sculpture.

At this point, the heat of the day and the go, go, go schedule sort of caught up with us, so we headed to Caribou to caffeinate and relax for a bit! After some caffeine, we stopped by Whole Foods to check out the cheap t-shirts that Nora had mentioned in her guest post last Friday. Kyla and I both bought some (and I bought a French Cafe CD!).

Our last stop for the weekend was the MN State Fair. It really lived up to its "Great Minnesota Sweat Together" nickname as it was hot and humid! But we all had foods we were dying to try, so to the fair we went!

Nora, Kyla, and Mandy split some cheese curds - which they all thought were so delicious...

And I enjoyed "bacon on a stick". I think my meat-loving brothers are probably proud of me for trying this - it was delicious!! And really, it's not a state fair experience unless you eat SOMETHING on a stick!

The evening was capped off with an Amos Lee/Brandi Carlile concert (which was AWESOME) and a fireworks show. I kind of want to marry Amos Lee. He's handsome - and his voice is amazing. And he has a southern accent. I mean, doesn't Lisa Lee have quite the ring to it?

So there you have it! I'm short on pictures, but have many, many memories from this weekend. After exchanging countless emails, bbm's, and texts with these ladies, it was fabulous to meet them face-to-face! I can't wait for our next meet-up - and to meet more of my readers in the year to come!!