Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Labor of Love - Part I

Do you all remember that time of your life when it seemed like everyone was getting married? Well, that phase of my life is behind me as most of my close friends are married.

Now I am at the phase of my life where it seems like everyone is pregnant. No joke. I haven't sat down and counted, but I know of at least 8 people, possibly more, that are due within the next 3 months. I have 3 friends and a cousin who are all due within ONE WEEK of each other. Two of my closest friends are due ONE DAY APART in December.

As you can tell if you've read my blog for long, I adore kids so I am excited that so many of my friends are embarking on this new phase in their life!

I love working with yarn and think that handmade gifts are the best. My grandma makes baby blankets for all the great grandchildren and I think it's the coolest gift to receive so I decided to make baby blankets for my 2 close friends who are due in December.

Today I am sharing the blanket I crocheted for my friend that is expecting a little lady in early December. This is actually my first crochet project where I had to follow a pattern, aside from some potholder I tried last year (which were an epic fail, by the way). You would think that if a person struggled to crochet potholder, it would be a bit delusional to make an entire blanket, right?

What can I say? I guess I like a challenge! Here are some photos for the finished product!

Here it is on the floor my condo, right before I boxed it up to send to my friend in Arizona

Here is a close up of the edge/corner details.

Another close up of the edges/corners

My friend had her shower last Saturday - I wish I could have been there when she opened it up but a trip down to Phoenix just wasn't in the budget.

I am still in the process of knitting a blanket for the other friend. I sadly did not finish it in time for her shower 2 weeks ago. :( It's taking me a bit longer to finish it than I thought it would! I am loving how it is turning out so can't wait to share it with you!

Do you ever make gifts? Have you receive a hand made gift that you loved? My grandma made each grandchild an afghan when we graduated from high school and I still have mine. Another 'hand made' gift that I received and loved was a journal that my mom kept of my senior year.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What is your favorite decor item in your house?
The Paris prints above my bed that I bought off Etsy. Love them.

2. What is your favorite hair product?
I don't really have one... Any suggestions? Especially for a girl with naturally wavy hair that wants straight hair?

3. Are you a good dancer?
Good? Probably not. But I don't let that stop me! I do have a sense of rhythm thanks to all of those years of piano lessons, though.

4. You get some good news, who’s the first person you call?
Most likely my mom. Or one of my close friends. Depends on the nature of the good news. If it's work related, I call my mom. If it's in regards to meeting a new guy or something like that, I tell a close friend because I think telling my parents about a new guy too early jinxes the relationship.

5. Would you rather take pictures, or be in pictures?
Definitely take them.

6. What is your shoe style?
I love all kind of shoes, but my favorite are bold-colored, pointy toed, heels. Like this one pair of red shoes that I own (that really need some TLC from the cobbler). I am a pretty conservative dresser so I rely on my shoes to make my outfits interesting.

7. How often do you eat out?
I try not to eat out very often because it's expensive and you really don't know what you are eating (i.e. does it have gluten in it?) or how many calories you are consuming. Lately I have been eating out quite a bit, though, and need to get back to cooking more!

8. If someone has food in their teeth, do you tell them?
Yes. It's awkward, but I would hate to be the person walking around with food in their teeth. If I notice mid-meal, I will wait until the end as it might 'work itself out'. But if by the end of the meal they still have food in their teeth, I will say something.

9. Do you fold your underwear?
Heck yes I do. I like order. It drives me crazy when people don't fold their underwear... or their socks. It stressed me out to see a drawer of chaos.

10. Milk, dark, or white chocolate?
Dark, please!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Motivation Monday - Week 1

Good morning and happy Monday! I hope you all had a great weekend. Mine was quite full, but also very fun so I can not complain. I could use another day off, but couldn't we all?

Thank you for your kind, supportive comments last week regarding my post-marathon blues. I am already starting to feel better. I went to the gym on Tuesday and Wednesday and the endorphin release from working out again really helped.

As I said in my marathon recap posts, I think my marathon days are behind me. Instead I want to focus on improving my 1/2 marathon time. My PR from last October is 2:04 and I would really like to run a sub-2 hour marathon. I know I can do it, I just need to train for it and add in some hills/speed work.

As much as I want to register for another race, I know that I need some time away from a training schedule. So my next half won't be until next May when I will run the Fargo 1/2 marathon.

So what will I do between now and late February when I will start training for that race?

Well, I took a body pump class last week, which is a class hosted by the Y that works all of your major muscle groups.

It was an eye opening experience.

By taking that class, I realize how weak my core and upper body muscles have become. I shouldn't be surprised as all I have done for the last 4.5 months is run. Taking that class showed me that while I am in shape, especially cardiovascularly, I have some areas to work on. One of the things on my 30 before 30 list is to be able to do 20 real push-ups. My birthday is just over 3 months away; I am hoping shifting towards a mix of cardio and strength training will help me achieve this goal.

Posting about my marathon training each week worked well for me. It kept me honest and was a great way to track my progress week by week. So from now until 1/2 marathon training starts, I'll be blogging each Monday about how this shift away from just running is going. I figure it will keep me motivated! I'm borrowing Becky's Hi/Low approach and will leave you each Monday with my exercising hi/low. I'd love it if you would also leave your hi/low in the comments - whether it's in regards to exercising or life in general!

Last week's high: Running for the first time since the marathon with no pain whatsoever.

Last week's low: Feeling pain in my knee cap when doing lunges during Body Pump. Clearly I have not completely recovered from the femoral patella issues I had last spring.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A case of the blahs

I think I am experiencing a bit of the marathon blues.

It's only natural, I think. I felt similar after my 2006 marathon. I remember feeling kind of 'blah'. I remember finishing that marathon and thinking, "Was it a big deal that I ran a marathon?"

Now I ask myself, "Is it a big deal that I ran a 4:22:10 marathon and beat my time goal of 4:30? Was 4:30 an ambitious goal? Is 26.2 mile really that far??

I realize that questions like these sound down right delusional.

But marathon training kind of messes with your mind, in my opinion. You lose perspective of what a 'long run' is. You toss around phrases like, "I only have to run 12 miles this weekend."

I think I need time away from marathon training to gain respect for what I accomplished.

But then I see things like the text of this ad from Nike, which I saw on (Long) Road to Paradise.

You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you.

"You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior.

You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan.

You hit the wall. You went through it. You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your internal odometer... You ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will."

I read this ad and I remember that running a marathon IS an admirable goal.

I remember that I made quite a few sacrifices while training.

I remember how hard I pushed myself.

I know I shouldn't need to read a silly ad to feel this way, but I do. I am confident that this is just a little phase that I am going through; before long, that feeling of pride will catch up with me.

Have you ever worked towards a goal and then after achieving it, felt a little blah like I do? Also, I should emphasize that I am not fishing for compliments; I am just being honest about how I feel, post-marathon.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Three Things Tueday

1. There is no Ten on Tuesday today because a) this is Chelsea's first week back from maternity leave so she's obviously got her mind on other things and b) she didn't have any questions to post. Send some her way if you like Ten on Tuesdays and have some burning questions you'd like to ask and/or answer!

2. My complexion is at an all time worst for some random reason. Is it the change of seasons? The stress of traveling and running the marathon? Has my body gotten used to the Tetracycline I have been taking for about a year now? Who knows. I am baffled. And so so so frustrated. It doesn't seem right/fair that my skin is worse now than it was when I went through puberty. My skin should not be at its worst at age 29 - well, I don't think it should be but my dermatologist said it's quite common for women to struggle with skin problems in their upper 20s/low 30s. I splurged and used some gift cards to purchase a Clarisonic at the recommendation of a friend and my esthetician. I am praying that it's effective. Otherwise I might start walking around with a paper bag over my head. :(

3. I've been a 5-day-a-week poster for the last year or so; that's going to change starting this week. My life is feeling quite full these days - with good things - and I just need to take a little step back and post a little less often. I hope you'll be patient with me as I learn how to juggle all the things I have going on in my life right now!

What are the top 3 things that are on your mind today?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Marathon Trip Recap

So I have talked quite a bit about the marathon, probably ad naseum for some of you, but I haven't even mentioned the road trip! This is probably because Amber did such an awesome job of blogging about our journey! Here are her posts:

Vancouver - Day 1
Vancouver - Day 2
Snoqualmie Falls + Night Before the Marathon
Marathon Day

I barely took any photos on this trip... You see, Amber has an awesome SLR and I have a crappy point & shoot, circa 2004. SLR > my crappy camera, so I let her capture out trip in pictures! Here are a couple of my favorites!

Day 1 in Vancouver, crossing the bridge on our way to Granville Island.

Day 2 in Vancouver, standing in front of "Canada Place".

Enjoying Pumpkin Spice Lattes in front of the original Starbucks in Seattle! Yum!

Snoqualmie Falls. Pictures do not do this justice. It was STUNNING. It was definitely worth the detour on our way to Portland!

I'll close with some highlights from my trip, bullet-point style:

  • Meeting Amber and Lauren and discovering that they are even MORE awesome in person... which wasn't a surprise since this has been the case for all of my blogger meet-ups.
  • Discovering that I can actually navigate quite well - whether in the car or walking in a new city. I think traveling alone to France really pushed me out of my comfort zones and taught me how to really 'get my bearings' for a city.
  • On Sunday night, after the marathon, Amber and I went out for dinner at Deshutes Brewery where they had a gluten free menu. Words can't describe my delight at finding that they had a hamburger that was served on a gluten free bun! I haven't eaten a burger on a bun since I went gluten free in February of 2009! I might have clapped with glee when my meal arrived...
  • Receiving the congratulatory phone calls, bbms, text messages, and emails from SO many people. I was so touched and felt incredibly loved!

The trip really could not have gone better than it did. It's sort of surreal that it's all over and done with. Amber and I have been planning this trip for about a year now, so it's sort of sad that it's over and done with. However, I am confident that I will see Lauren and Amber in the future - possibly for a destination 1/2 marathon! :)

I hope your week is off to a fabulous start!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Marathon Recap: Part II

Hopefully you weren't too bored with part I of the race recap! Here is a post with more details!

When we left off last time, I mentioned that it started to pretty much pour when we were starting... While the rain did let up a bit at times, it consistently rained the entire race. I stepped in a puddle right away so my feet were sopping wet from the beginning. So wet that every step I took, water would shoot out of the mesh toe covering of my shoes. No joke.

Miraculously, I got no blisters.

I did not lose a toe nail.

And I did not chafe.

I do not know how this is possible. I did cover my feet with body glide on race morning and every time I saw Vaseline at an aid station, I grabbed a gob and rubbed it on my inner thighs and on my upper arms where they sort of 'swipe' my sports bra top.

I guess you can say that you lose all sense of modesty when you are running a marathon. I mean, when else in life is it acceptable to take a gob of Vaseline and rub down your inner thighs in public... right?

Oh and the whole fuel thing? It wasn't an issue at all. I think the adrenaline took over or something, so I actually drank the Ultima crap and did not puke. Score 1 for Lisa. I carried 32 oz of gatorade in my running belt but only drank maybe 4 ounces around mile 23 when I needed a 'treat' to get me through to the end. I tried to drink a 1/2 cup of ultima and a 1/2 cup of water at every aid station. Since it was raining and sort of cool, I didn't really 'feel' thirsty, but I knew I had to keep hydrating or I would definitely pay for it later in the race.

So now for the splits and a little commentary when necessary...

We started in a thick pack of runners so my pace was a bit slow to start, which was probably for the best as it gave me a chance to warm up.

Mile 1: 10:45
Mile 2: 10:34

Around this point, I split off from Amber. My legs were itching for speed. Amber stayed with the 4:30 pace group (sort of, they were behind us at this point), and I forged ahead.

Mile 3: 9:57

After mile 3, I decided to put my head phones on. I hadn't planned to run with my headphones on as you can't really connect with the spectators as well, but it was so mentally grueling for me to run in the rain, I needed the music to distract me!

Mile 4: 9:04 (now that is more like it!)
Mile 5: 9:17
Mile 6: 9:30
Mile 7: 9:22

I really started to hit my 'sweet spot' during these miles and had that "I could run forever feeling... or at least for 26.2 miles". At the same time, I kept asking myself, "Am I seriously running 26.2 miles today?" The race just came so quickly, I was still kind of in shock that it was race day!

Mile 8: 9:28
Mile 9: 9:59 (Bathroom break #1)
Mile 10: 9:13
Mile 11: 9:29
Mile 12: 9:53
Mile 13: 9:28
Mile 14: 9:45
Mile 15: 9:33
Mile 16: 9:54

I was starting to "feel" the miles at this point, but still felt strong. I knew that the mile to come was going to be one of the tougher ones as you have a huge hill that brings you to a bridge - sort of like a never ending on-ramp I guess you could say? I wanted to walk so many times during this mile, but I just focused on the person that this mile was dedicated to (one of my best friends that is pregnant) and would NOT let myself walk.

Mile 17: 10:29 - slow split but I just tackled a huge hill so I will not complain
Mile 18: 9:54
Mile 19: 10:01
Mile 20: 10:09

When I hit mile 20, I actually felt better than I did compared to how I felt when I finished my 20 mile training run. My hip flexors were not bothering me and I still felt like my legs had plenty of energy.

Mile 21: 11:10 - another bathroom break!
Mile 22: 10:03
Mile 23: 9:59

At this point, I was REALLY ready for the race to be done. I was exhausted. I could FEEL every. single. step. My knees were starting to ache a bit and my quads were so tight, but I kept pushing ahead. I kept telling myself - it's only another 5k! At this point, I knew I was going to come in under 4:30, which made it easier for me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Mile 24: 10:35
Mile 25: 9:57
Mile 26: 9:56
The final .2 (or .48 according to my Garmin): 4:46

Total time - 4:22:10 - average pace of 6 mph

I pushed myself to run as hard as I could those last couple of miles and am proud of the fact that I had sub-10 minute miles, even if it was just barely below 10.

It felt great to cross the finish line. I raised my arms in the air in triumph! Hopefully the race photographer caught that.

Now that the marathon is behind me, it's sort of surreal to think about. Even though there were moments during the race where I struggled, in general, I really felt great. It was a completely different experience from my 2006 marathon when I walked most of the last 6 miles.

Since I hit my time goal, and kind of blew it out of the water, I feel like I can hang up my marathon shoes. I enjoyed the training process and it was awesome to share it with Amber, but it's also super time consuming.

I could eat my words, but I really think that was my 2nd and last marathon. I proved to myself that I could do it again and do it much faster.

Now, I'd like to focus on a more well-rounded work out schedule. I am not hanging up my racing shoes; instead, I will shift my focus to my 1/2 marathon and will work on training for a sub-2 hour half in 2011 hopefully.

Once again, thanks for following along with me and encouraging me along the way. I really appreciated every encouraging comment, email, black berry message, and facebook post! Having you all there, cheering us on from afar, meant the world to me!

And that concludes the marathon recap!! I will probably post some race photos once they are available!

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone! Any big plans? Tonight I am having dinner at a French restaurant that I have always wanted to try and then will go to a orchestra concert. I definitely plan on enjoying a glass of wine with dinner which is something I haven't done for the last 3 weeks (except on Sunday night when Amber and I toasted to our successful races!)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Marathon Recap: Part I

I have been thinking about this marathon post for the last couple of days and have decided that it has to be a 2 part post... I hope I don't bore you all with them, but I really want to properly capture it so I can come back and re-read it when I need to remember the events of the marathon.

So part I will be a high level post (but still sort of long!), part II will delve into the splits, etc.

So here goes!

On Saturday afternoon, Amber and I met up with Lauren and her manfriend and headed to the expo. It was awesome to meet Lauren and manfriend face-to-face after reading her blog for such a long time. She was exactly how she comes off in her blog! It was great meeting her boyfriend - they are such a fun/cute couple. I definitely wish we lived closer so I could hang out with them more often, but we did discuss meeting up for a destination half marathon in the future!

After getting our numbers and wandering around the expo, we headed to dinner at a local restaurant that actually had some gluten free pasta options!! It was a cute little restaurant and the service was awesome. Our server was a runner so she understood that we were hydrating and was great about constantly re-filling our water glasses.

We got back to the hotel and the nerves really started to set in. I knew it was going to be raining the next day and I have rarely ran in the rain, so I hemmed and hawed about what to wear. Amber posted a question on the Portland Marathon page on facebook and on Twitter to get recommendations, which was so helpful. Someone commented and said to dress for the temperature and not for the rain; the temps were going to be in the 60s, so I went with my original planned and layed out my marathon outfit.

This is the same outfit that I wore on the 20 mile run - that run went so well, I figured I would wear it again!

We went to bed early but I tossed and turned all night and never really fell into a deep sleep. Before I knew it, our 4:45 alarm was going off and Amber and I both sprung out of bed! And I mean that literally. There was no pressing the snooze button that morning. We had a marathon to run!

Amber snapped this photo of me before we headed out the door!

It was lightly raining as we walked to the starting line and I thought - 'eh, we can do this. I can handle a drizzle.'

Well, that drizzle turned into a heavy rain. And then the wind came up. As we lined up to start the race, I looked at Amber and said - 'this is hell.'

Ok, I know there are worse things than running the rain, but it is really, really mentally grueling to run in the rain for ~ 4.5 hours. What choice did we have, though, right?

I had picked up a 4:30 pace bracelet and the night before, I wrote down a name next to each mile and dedicated each mile to a family member, nephew, or special person in my life. Looking back, this was a really, really smart thing to do because each mile, I would focus on that person. I would envision their face or I would think about fun things we had done together. I dedicated some of the later miles in the race to friends/family members who are pregnant right now and when I was really struggling, I thought of how hard they will work to bring their baby into the world. Thinking of that helped me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Which is exactly what I did! My goal was to run the entire thing and to only walk through aid stations, and I accomplished that goal. I really wanted to stop and walk during some of the final miles, but I pushed through and kept running, albeit a little slower than I ran the earlier miles.

I'll be back with my splits and other reflections, but for now, I will leave you with some stats!

  • I finished ahead of 44% of the men!
  • I finished ahead of 72% of the women!
  • In the final 6.2 miles, I passed 239 runners and was passed by 41 runners.
  • I finished ahead of 64% of the women in my age group (25-29)
  • My average pace was 6 mph

It probably sounds braggy to mention these stats, but I am mentioning them because I have come so far since my last marathon. For starters, I took nearly 28 minutes off my time. Plus, when you consider the fact that I took a long break from running, returned to the sport and could barely run 10 minutes miles for 2-4 miles and now held that pace for 26.2 miles, it makes me even more proud of how far I have come!

So this is what you can take away form this post: If you want to run a marathon, you can do it. It wasn't long ago that I was huffing and puffing and struggled to run 2-3 miles at a time. It takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance - if you have those things, and the desire to run a marathon, you can do it!

I'll be back later this week with part II!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

I still don't have my act together enough to do my race recaps... maybe by the end of the week. I am still sort of exhausted/sore... Oh, and I got overwhelmed by my reader so I marked all as read... So please comment and tell me what you've been up to for the past week!

Here are the Ten on Tuesday questions - just a reminder, these come from Chelsea! She doesn't come up with the questions each week, but she is the person behind ToT, so swing by her blog, or send her some questions!!

This week the questions are fitness related!

1. What does your work out schedule look like?
Well, for the past 18 weeks, it's been run, run, run. I usually ran Tues, Wed, Thur, and Sun. Sometimes also on Sat, depending on the week.

Now that the marathon is behind me, it will be drastically different. I am going to do something BESIDES run (I never was able to consistently fit in cross training...). So now I will go to the gym and swim, bikes, take random classes, and I will still run. I am hoping to maybe run 1-2 x's during the week and I definitely want to try to still do one longish run. But by long, I now mean 6-10 miles. Not 12-20!

2. What is your favorite machine to use at the gym?
I hate machines, but if I had to pick one, I'd say the dreadmill. I hate running on it, but it's the only machines that gives me a work out similar to running outdoors..

3. What is your favorite class to take at the gym?
I take this class called Body Pump. It's an hour long class and you work all of your major muscle groups.

4. Where do you shop for work out gear and clothing?
I usually get my sports bras and tops from Target. I think their sports bras are great (disclaimer: only for small chested gals like me). I get my running shorts from my running store.

I splurged last weekend and bought a pair of running shorts & pants at Lulu Lemon as a treat to myself for a successful marathon. They were expensive, so I will not be shopping there often!

5. If you can’t go to the gym, do you have a favorite outdoor activity
I prefer to run outdoors on a trail around the lakes in Minneapolis!

6. What about a favorite work out DVD? If so, please share!
I don't have one! I am paranoid about working out in my condo because my neighbors are senior citizens and they are kind of 'complainy'. So I am concerned that if I was bouncing around to some work out video, I'd get a ton of complaints...

7. Are you more active now or when you were in high school?
I am definitely more active now. I was NOT active in high school. Luckily, I was blessed with a low metabolism so I was thin in high school even though I was not active! That would not be the case now.

8. How has your dieting/working out philosophy changed since high school?
Well, I actually pay attention to what I eat/portion sizes. As I said above, I had a high metabolism in high school so I could kind of eat whatever I wanted (for the most part) without any repercussions...

Also, I now know about my gluten intolerance so my diet has majorly changed since high school. And working out is something I do 4-5 days a week.

9. What do you do while working out– (i.e., day dream, read, listen to music, gab with a friend)?
I listen to music on my iPod. I work through things that are bothering me. I day dream about the life ahead of me. I day dream about Paris.

10. What working out resolution would you like to make for yourself this year?
I would like my work outs to be more well-rounded. I am sort of bad about JUST running and that needs to change! I was to do more swimmming, biking, and strength training.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I did it!!

I will do a full re-cap of the race when I am back home and not so uber exhausted.... But I wanted to quick post and let you all know that I did it! I made my C goal - which was to come in under 4:30.

My chip time was 4:22:10.

According to my Garmin, the course was actually 26.48... So a little longer than 26.2!

I was exhausted at the end, but the race went well. It did rain for the entire 26.2 miles. Of course the rain stopped right as we were finishing and now it's a beautiful afternoon. And so it goes, right? I was pretty nervous about the rain up until when the race started and I made the conscious decision to just freaking let it go and do the best I could!

And that's exactly what I did. I couldn't be happier with my performance.

Full re-cap will come later this week. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!! Thanks for all the emails, facebook messages, text messages, and even a vlog!!! I am so touched and feel very loved!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

'Twas the Night Before the Marathon

Good evening, readers! I wasn't planning on posting tonight, but decided to do a quick post to capture how I am feeling on the eve of the marathon. I must say, I am a bit nervous for this marathon; I think the way I feel is different from how Amber feels since I have done a marathon so I sort of know what to expect. I suppose this feeling is akin to how a woman feels when preparing for the birth of a 2nd child - meaning, she knows how rewarding the experience is going to be, but she also has an idea of the pain of the process...

Or at least that is what I assume since I haven't have any kids of my own and all...

I am nervous for the race, but I am ready. I trained hard and I trained smart for this race. I know my body is ready to get me through 26.2 miles - even if there is an 80% chance of rain!

I'm off to take some melatonin (which has been a God send, by the way), and then it's off to bed. Good night, dear readers. I'll see you on the other side of 26.2.

PS - if you want to read about my amazing vacation, Amber's been recapping it over on her blog!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Book Review: Heart with Joy

Last month, I read Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman; it is a young adult book that tells the story of a young boy, Julian, who is dealing with the aftermath of his parents separation. While the subject matter is a bit heavy at times, it was definitely a lighter read for me since it is a young adult book. It was a nice break from the heavier novels I read earlier in the month of September! I haven't read a young adult book in years - I actually can not remember the last time I read a young adult book, actually!

In Heart with Joy, we meet Julian. For an unexplained reason, his mom has moved to Florida, indefinitely. Julian stays behind and lives with his father who is practically a stranger to him. Without the buffer of his mom, Julian is forced to get to know his father better. His father begins to train for a marathon, so Julian supports him by riding his bike while his father runs and cooking delicious meals for him each evening. Julian definitely has a passion and a talent for cooking, which is encouraged by his father and an elderly neighbor that Julian gets to know by helping her with chores around her house.

The message of the book (for me) is to discover what fills your heart with joy. This might be a hobby, like bird watching which his neighbor is passionate about, or a potential career, such as becoming a chef.

It's a simple message, but something that many of us might need to be reminded of. I think it's easy to fall into habits or patterns and to stop thinking about or pursuing our passions in life. I know I have been guilty of that at certain points of my life, but something usually happens that reminds me that life is short and is meant to be enjoyed.

What fills your heart with joy? Do you think you do a good job of pursuing whatever it is that fills your heart with joy? Some things that fill my heart with joy are spending time around my nephews, playing the piano, knitting a gift for a friend, and running. For the most part, I do a good job of finding time for these passions.

PS: I fly out for Vancouver, BC this am! The lights will be off around here until I return next week. Have a great rest of the week, everyone!!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. 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".

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ten on Tuesday

1. What keeps you up at night? (figuratively)
Worrying that my condo value is never going to rebound... I worry that I am never going to be able to sell this place without losing an arm and a leg. I worry that even if I wanted to rent it out instead of selling it, the rent I would receive wouldn't cover my mortgage + HOA dues.

I want to reach back in time and slap the face of my 24 year old self for buying this depreciating asset.

2. What keeps you up at night? (literally)
Ticking clocks, annoying white noise, a neighbor's dog barking.

3. Where do you want to go in life? (figuratively)
I want to have a happy marriage, a happy family, and a job that is challenging and rewarding.

4. Where do you want to go in life? (literally)
I want to go to Paris again (and I will in February). I want to spend a couple of weeks in Italy. I want to see more of the US.

5. Have you ever bit off more than you could chew? (figuratively)
Oh yes. I tried to balance working full time, getting my masters in the evening, group projects on the weekend, starting a relationship, and running. I failed epically and stopped running. Stupid decision. I should have dropped the boyfriend, not running. Life and learn.

6. Have you ever bit off more than you could chew? (literally)
Hmmm... nothing sticks out in my mind, but I am sure this has happened to me!

7. Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence? (figuratively)
Life is all about perspective so there are times when I do think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But then the friends that reside on that side of the fence remind me that there are times that my life seems greener. So that keeps me from falling into a 'woe is me, everyone else has it easier' state of mind!

8. Is the grass really greener on the other side of the fence? (literally)
The grass is pretty much the same color on the other side of the fence where I live.

9. If you can’t stand the heat, do you get out of the kitchen? (figuratively)
Yes. There are times that I avoid certain situations because I don't want to engage in certain conversations or debates with people. I can't handle the discomfort of being around the heat. So I bail.

10. If you can’t stand the heat, do you get out of the kitchen? (literally)
Since I live alone, I don't really have the option of getting out the kitchen when it's hot because my meal would burn. So I stand there regardless of how hot it is unless whatever I am cooking is done.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Marathon Madness Monday: Week 18

The big week is here! I can hardly believe it. The past 17 weeks of training have really flown by - I have enjoyed sharing my journey to 26.2 with you, and hopefully you've enjoyed following along! Thank you for all of the kind comments and encouragement that you've given me along the way.

It's goal time now! I am taking a tiered approach to goal setting for this race. Here are my I know, I think, and I might goal.

A Goal: Finish the race and don't die.

Ha. So this is my "I know" I can do this goal... Granted, you never know what can happen on race day, but I am confident I will finish this race in one piece.

Last year I saw the sign below in a blog post about the funny signs you see at a marathon. I will be thinking of this sign when I am running next Sunday!

B Goal: PR

My chip time in 2006 was 4:50:08. "I think" I can pull this off - especially if the race goes as well as my 20 miler did 3 weeks ago. I ran my 20 miles in 3:14, so I should be able to PR pretty easily

C Goal: Run the marathon in 4:30 or less

If the first 20 miles go like they did 3 weeks ago, and I feel as good as I did after those 20 miles, then this goal is attainable - I might even be able to finish in 4:20. We'll see, though.


I am trying to not set myself up to be disappointed if I only hit my A goal. You just never know how your body will do on race day. I have trained hard and I have trained smart - I KNOW I am ready for this race!

For those who would like to follow along at home, there should be an option to track me electronically on the Portland Marathon website. They haven't posted this feature yet, but it should be up on Saturday I would think. You will be able to enter my Bib number (542) or my name, and you can see my progress as I pass over the wired mats throughout the race. The race starts at 7 am PST. If all goes as planned, I should finish no later than noon...

I'll be posting Tuesday and Wednesday of this week and then the lights will be off for the remainder of the week. I will try to do a quick post on Sunday or Monday to let you know how it went and will do a full race recap next week!

Wish me luck readers - and once again, thank you so much for all the encouragement you've given along this journey!

Training Tally:
Miles ran last week: 20
Training-to-date mileage: 482

Friday, October 1, 2010

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of September


You Make It Real by James Morrison: This song played at the end of the season premier of Brothers & Sisters. I think I have listened to it about 30 times since I bought it on Tuesday night. No joke. I think his voice is amazing and the lyrics are beautiful.

Uncharted by Sara Bareilles: I bought her new album last month - the whole album is great but this is one of my favorites. I get to see her in concert in November and can't wait! I think she's so talented!1


The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell: This was the September book for my local book club. I thought it was an interesting read and was pretty easy to get into. There were no chapters, though, which am not used to!

Under this Unbroken Sky: Review can be found here.

Heart with Joy by Steve Cushman: I'll be reviewing this YA book next week

** Very, very slow month for reading for me. My schedule is jam-packed these days, so reading has taken a back seat!


I ran 122 miles in September. I am happy with this number! The first half of the month was spent building up to my peak 20 mile training run, the second half of the month was all about tapering. 122 is a good, solid number.


Excuse the horrible self-photo taken with my blackberry... This is my favorite outfit for the month of September. I got the top and cardigan at Banana Republic for 1/2 off, which was quite the deal. You can't really tell in the photo, but the cardigan has an ombre look to it which makes it a little more interesting. I wore this outfit with red flats.

This isn't an outfit, but this is a picture of the boots my friend helped me pick out. I wore them with skinny jeans for the first time last week and really like how the outfit looked.