Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Off to the Wild West

Greetings and Happy Tuesday!  This week I have my very first solo client meeting business trip.  I went to Des Moines with my boss in May and to Charlotte for an office visit 10 days ago, but on this trip, I will do client meetings on my own with a sales rep...  I am excited and nervous at the same time as I will be the 'expert' that the sales rep brings along to the meeting.  Gulp.

I flew into Austin last night.  I have 3 client meetings today and a conference this evening.  Then I fly to Dallas Wednesday morning, do another meeting there, and then fly home on Thursday morning.  It's going to be a whirlwind trip, and I imagine I am going to be super duper tired when I return on Thursday, but I know this is a big step in my career.  My boss has traveled a ton this year and I need to be able to take some of those trips off his hands, so this is an important first step.

Wish me luck!  I won't have much internet access (besides my phone) nor much downtime as my schedule will be similar to my Charlotte trip (minus the pay-for-it-in-the-morning-pineapple-potion), so the lights will be off on this space the rest of this week, and I won't have time to comment/read blogs. 

Wish me luck!  Hopefully I return next week and am able to say that the client meetings all went really well...   Have a great week everyone!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Weekend Recap + 10 mile race recap

Another busy weekend has come and gone!  Kyria came to visit so I played tour guide this weekend.  I have to say, I did not do the best job as I came down with a cold on Wednesday and it really sort of threw me off my game for the weekend.  I was a total absent minded professor.  It was alot of:  wait, where is my phone...  where did I put the directions....  where are my sunglasses....  did I remember to lock the car....  what did I do with my keys....  The thing is, I can be a forgetful person, and then not feeling 100% throws that into overdrive. 

Despite my cold and general feeling of lethargy, we had a really good time. I showed her around my neighborhood, we took in a cooking demo at the farmer's market, we met up with Raquelita and ran a 10 mile race and then went to brunch after.  All in all, we had a really good time. I just wish I had been feeling better! 


Now for the race recap.  Kyria ran a really strong race and finished around 1:23 (dang she is fast!).  I pulled off a PR and ran it in 1:32:32 (according to my garmin).  It was a decent race, but not my best race, mostly due to my annoying cold.  I guess me and 10 mile races do not get along as there was some dry heaving around mile 9.5 (I puked twiced during my 10 mile race in April).  Or maybe I just tend to run 10 mile races when I am so over-whelmed and exhausted, and puking is my body's way of saying - slow the frick down, woman.  Who knows. 

Here are my splits:

Mile 1 - 8:58
Mile 2 - 9:01
Mile 3 - 9:07
Mile 4 - 8:58
Mile 5 - 9:16 (started climbing a never ending hill)
Mile 6 - 9:21 (still climbin that damn hill)
Mile 7 - 9:23 (ok, I am starting to get tired)
Mile 8 - 9:12 (we can do this, 2 more miles)
Mile 9 - 9:41 (I spent this mile saying, do not puke, Lisa.  Do not puke)
Mile 10 - 9:30 (dry heaving sure is lovely and not at all embarassing in public)

Overall time - 1:32:32, which is a PR of about 3 minutes and 40 seconds.  My average pace was 9:15, which wasn't bad, but wasn't great either.  It is what it is.  My pace really deteriorated at the end, partially because I was so focused on trying not to get sick. 

I know I probably sound like a Debbie Downer in this post.  I am proud of achieving a PR, and I don't want to take away from that.  I think I am just way over-tired and a little under the weather and I don't really see an end in sight to this busy schedule for awhile...  But I know eventually things will slow down.  I feel fortunate to have a full life, I just need to figure out a way to find balance and not over-extend myself. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

French Friday

Good morning and Happy French Friday to all of you!

On my inaugural French Friday post, Raquelita asked - 'why France?'  So today I figured I would try to explain my fascination and obsession with this country.

I have a two-fold explanation... and some pictures to share from my 2008 to illustrate the reason why I fell in love with Paris.

Turns out my fascination with France goes back quite a ways... actually, all the way back to 4th grade. My music teacher asked us to do a report on a composer. She started to assign composers to each student, when I raised my hand to make a special request. After being called on, I explained that it was really important that I be assigned a French composer, if at all possible. She questioned why it was so important to me, and I said, 'well, I'm French, of course'. She gave me a strange look, but did assign me Camille Saint-Saens. When the day came to present our composers to the class, I vividly recall giving my report in what I thought was a 'French Accent'. Oh to be a fly on the wall and hear what I thought a French accent sounded like!  I don't think I have a drop of French blood in my body - I am primarily German & Swedish... but for some reason, I dreamed up some long-lost relatives in France. I'm sure my classmates thought I was a total fruitcake. I sure had a vivid imagination as a child...

My curiosity and interest about France sort of subsided over the years, until 2008 when I started to research grad school programs summer programs.  There was a 2-week program in Lyon that I was interested in so I applied and was accepted.  I had plenty of vacation time left for the year, so I decided to add onto this trip and spend a week in Paris.  I would meet up with my classmates in Lyon, but the Paris segment of the trip would be spent ALONE. 

This was my first time really traveling alone (besides studying abroad alone) and surprisingly, I wasn't really even nervous about this.  I had gone through a really tough break-up the previous January, so I needed this trip.  And the thing is, on that trip to Paris, I realized I had found "me" again.  I had gotten so lost in that unhealthy/unhappy relationship that had recently ended, and I spent most of the spring feeling as though I was living under a rain cloud.  But that week in Paris, I was reminded just how wonderful life really is.  I realized that being single is a not a cursed existence and that I could be quite happy on my own. 

So I guess you could say that Paris came into my life at a time when I needed it.  That week in Paris put a spring in my step and helped me feel independent and in control of my life.  I have such fond memories of my time in France, and Paris will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I have traveled somewhat extensively, and no other city has captured my heart like Paris has. 

And so I have become a complete and utter Francophile, because in a way - Paris saved me.  Or I saved myself, with the help of Paris. 

Is there any particular region you have traveled to that has captured your heart?

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Wine and Love v16

 - I'm sort of running myself into the ground, once again, with the over-scheduling.  I really need to work on this. I know this is the phase of my life when I should take advantage of the freedoms of being single and childless, but I have been taking that to the extreme as once again I had maybe 3 free nights this month.  My goal is to have one night to myself each week in October.
- People in airports.  I wish there was a special line for frequent travelers.  I have no patience for people who don't know the drill.  How do you live in the US and not know about removing your shoes...  or the liquids-in-a-quart-sized-bag rule.  Seriously.  These are not new rules.  It's been this way for YEARS.
- Work stuff.  I won't go into it as you never know who is reading this, but this has not been my favorite week at work.  I am actually looking forward to my business trip next week (even though I am super nervous about the client visits I will be doing) as I will be on the road for those 4 days and sort of disconnected from what is happening back at the office.  I kind of need that right now. 

- The cooler temps we have had lately.  I think this weather is downright glorious.  Especially for running!  And it's chili/soup/stew season.  Mmm.
- I love that traveling to Charlotte has reinforced my love of Minneapolis. I mean, it's clear that I love my city, but traveling to another city makes me appreciate Minneapolis even more.  If I ever had to move, I would miss the lakes, rivers, and running/walking paths.  I feel very lucky to live in such a beautiful area.
- I have another fun weekend ahead of me!  Kyria is flying in for the weekend.  I can't wait to show her around.  It's "Oktoberfest" at the Farmer's Market, so we'll check that out, bum around my neighborhood, and then meet up with Raquelita to run a 10 mile race on Sunday!
- My nook.  I finally got around to figuring out how to download books from the library.  I have always loved my nook, but I especially love it now that I am traveling so much!!

Your turn - what's your wine/love of the week?

Monday, September 19, 2011

Charlotte Trip / 10k Race Recap

Good Morning and happy Monday to everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend.  I had an awesome time with Charbelle!  Our time together went too fast, of course.  This is a 2-part post.  I know race recaps are boring for non-runners so feel free the skip over the content after the asterisks if you have no interest in the race...  I partly do the recaps for myself as a way to track my running progress!

Anyways, as I said, I had a wonderful time in Charlotte.  I had such a good time, I did not take a single photo...  I know, I know.  I need to work on this...  Sometimes it's hard to interrupt a fun time by saying, 'hey, let's take a picture'!  Here is a bullet-point recap of both the biz & fun parts of the trip:

  • Longest Day Ever.  I flew out at 7:30 on Thursday which meant getting up at 4 am, and I got back to my room around 10:30 pm.  This was one of the longest days I have had in a very, very long time.  I arrived around 11:30, went to the office, worked until 6 and then went out with co-workers.  No, this was not optional, it is part of my job to socialize and meet people and get them to like me.  It was pretty much me and 8 traders.  I learned a lesson this evening - it's  probably not a good idea to let a group of men who drink somewhat regularly order you a drink.  Turns out the drink they ordered me was straight vodka but I could not tell because it was pineapple infused so it honestly tasted like juice.  I had already had some cocktails at this point, so having this drink was not the best idea...  Live and learn.  I paid for this on Friday morning.... 
  • Smile, smile, smile.  I did a whole lot of meeting and greeting.  I am going to estimate that I met about 50-60 people.  The goal of this trip was to meet as many people as possible as putting a face with a name goes a long way in our business.  I consider it a success.  I am glad I went on this trip, but for reasons I won't get into at this point, I would never want to move there.  It's good to find that out, though!
  • Race!  See below - Charbelle and I ran a really strong race (as did her friend that ran it with us).
  • Shop 'til you Drop Charbelle took me to a great outlet mall on Saturday where I got some great deals on work clothes and also picked up lots of things for my new niece!
  • Girl Time Charbelle and I spent a lot of time in the car throughout the weekend, which means we had lots of quality time and great discussions.  From being single in your 20s to career stuff to marriage to learning how to say no and not feel guilty, we covered it all! 
It was a whirlwind 4 day trip, but I am so glad it worked out spend the weekend so I could pack some fun in with the business commitments!

Race Recap:

The temps were unseasonably cool on Saturday morning, which was a bit of a relief for me.  I was sort of expecting to run in hot/humid/thick air, but that so was not the case.  It was in the 50s and I definitely had goose bumps as we waited at the starting line.  I had talked race strategy with my running coach and he told me to just have fun and to not push it too much as he didn't want me to run a poor race and have that mess with my mind for my Victoria race.  So I decided to take his advice and just went out and had fun.

Here is how the miles broke down:

Mile 1 - 9:11
Mile 2 - 9:03
Mile 3 - 9:01
Mile 4 - 9:14 ( I believe there was a decent hill during the mile)
Mile 5 - 9:15
Mile 6 - 9:02
.3 miles - 2:33 (9:08 pace)

The course measured .1 miles long according to my garmin.  My official finish time was 57:22, so I ran it at a 9:09 pace based on a 6.3 mile distance.  This pace felt "comfortable" the whole race.  I didn't feel like I was working very hard, and I definitely could have pushed the pace if I had wanted to, but it wasn't the day for that.  Between getting very little sleep and having a fairly stressful/intense couple of days in Charlotte, I needed a fun, easy going run. 

I ran almost the whole race with Charbelle and felt good when I crossed the finish line.  It was a great way to see the city of Charlotte!

What did you do this weekend?  Since my week/weekend were so busy, this is a 'mark all as read' kind of day for me...  So please catch me up on anything that happened in your life last week! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Dairy Free Friday: Entertaining GF and DF

Greetings, Happy Friday, and hello from Charlotte, NC!! 

It's been awhile since I've done a Dairy Free post, so I figured it was time for one.  When I hosted the Ambers back in August, I made it my mission to treat them to a dairy free, gluten free vegetarian meal. 

For appetizers, we started off easy with some veggies and roasted red pepper hummus.  Yes, I bought hummus...  I know it's easy to make, but we were out and about all day and I needed something easy!!

I knew I wanted to grill dinner, so I found a veggie burger recipe that turns out great.  I knew it was a hit when my meat-eating family tried and really liked the Black Bean Veggie Burgers I made for them!  It's a really simple recipe - I would suggest doubling the bread crumbs, though, so they will stick together better.  I used GF bread crumbs, so the burgers were safe for me to eat.  (BTW, there is an egg in the recipe, so it is not a vegan recipe...  just an fyi...)

The burgers have a mexican taste to them due to the seasoning, so I decided to serve them with an avocado spread instead of the standard ketchup/mustard condiments.  I used this recipe - which is simple and delicious!  I may or may not have eaten the leftover spread with a spoon...  Hey, it's healthy carbs, right?

Along with the burgers, I grilled rosemary potatoes (sliced baby red/golden yukons, minced garlic, fresh rosemary, olive oil, and salt and pepper - easy!) and also grilled up a bunch of vegetables which were brushed with a balsamic glaze

It ws a FULL grill!  It definitely did not look like I was cooking for 3 :)
I was really happy with how the meal turned out, and the girls were very complimentary.  Canadian Amber ended up recreating the meal for her family so I guess that means they weren't just being nice when they said it was good!

Canadian Amber's plate

For dessert, we made banana softserve, which has become my go-to treat!  We mixed in some cocoa to make it a chocolatey softserve.  We rimmed the glasses with gluten free graham crackers, and added in some chocolate chips, marshmallows, and sprinkles!  It was delish!

All in all, it was a successful meal!  I even let the girls pitch in and help (this is a big deal, delegating is NOT my forte).  We had a blast making this meal and really enjoyed our evening.  Of course, the views from the grilling/patio area sure contributed to the wonderful night.

I think I proved that you CAN cook vegetarian, gluten free, dairy free food that is delicious!!

When is the last time you hosted friends for dinner?  What did you make?  I am excited to have a larger place as now I will be able to host dinner parties! 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Wine and Love v15

I took a couple of weeks off from Wine and Love, but I am back this week with my grievances and loves.  Play along.  Nora hosts. 

- It's dark when I bike to work now.  I know this is to be expected as we move into fall...  At least it is still light out when I get home from work!
- In preparation for all the business travel I have coming up, I went on a shopping spree at Banana Republic this week.  Luckily, nearly everything was 40% off and I got an additional 15% off as I had a coupon.  So that helped, but it still took a dent out of my checking account.  I just keep reminding myself that it's an investment.
- I have been kind of stressed about my trip to Charlotte for work.  It's just an office visit and the intent is for me to get to know some of the traders, but I just keep hearing how intense it is down there and how I better have a good question to ask when I meet each trader as they will only have time to answer one question.  The environment is NOT like that at all in my office in Minneapolis so I am just a bit apprehensive...  Hopefully I come back next week and say it wasn't as intense as I thought it would be... 

- Becoming an aunt.  I went to my knitting store on Tuesday to pick out some pink yarn.  My plan is to knit a couple of hats on the 3 flights I will be taking over the next 4 weeks.
- Even though it sucked to spend the money on work clothes, I really love the clothes I bought.  I found some really flattering things and the pieces I bought are all interchangeable.  Makes it a little more exciting and fun to pick out clothes in the morning!
- Charbelle has a fabulous weekend planned out for us!!  Can't wait to spend some quality time with her.  We have so much to catch up on!  Plus last time I saw her was not under the best of circumstances as I got so sick during that DC 10 mile race and wasn't 100% when we had dinner that night.
- I am now able to take public transportation (the light rail) to and from the airport.  Which saves me money and is way less of a hassle (granted, work would pay for parking... but for personal trips that will save me quite a bit).

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Greetings and happy Tuesday, everyone.  This is an especially happy week for me as I have some exciting news to share!

I BECAME AN AUNT AGAIN YESTERDAY!   I am proud to introduce Anna Grace!

I just LOVE her name!  She was born yesterday morning, weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz, and is 20" long.  I see lots of her older brother Kolin in her!

So the boy streak has been broken.  I, of course, would have been happy regardless of the sex - bottomline, healthy babies are a blessing!  That said, it's exciting to have a girl!  As a pink lover I am excited to finally be able to shop in the girl section of stores.  I can buy her books like Madeline and Fancy Nancy.  There will be tea parties and visits to the American Girl store in our future, I'm sure.

Being an aunt is a very special role, and I just feel so incredibly blessed to have 5 nephews and a niece - all of which are healthy, beautiful kids that hold such a special place in my heart.

I will get to meet Anna at the end of October when I go to the Chicago area for her baptism!  I absolutely can't wait to hold her in my arms.  For now, I will have to admire photos from afar.

Do you have any nieces or nephews?  Do they live close to you?  I have 2 nephews in the Twin Cities, 2 that live close to my parents, and now 2 in the Chicago area! 

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend Highlights!

Greetings and Happy Monday!  This is going to be a fast and furious week for me.  I will only be in the office 2 days as I have an offsite all-day seminar on Wednesday, and then a business trip to Charlotte which I am parlaying into a weekend with Charbelle!

Before the craziness of the week sets in, I wanted to do a quick recap of my trip to visit Nora.  Unfortunatelly I totally failed on capturing our weekend on film.  Oops.  Must work on that!  Here are some of the highlights from the weekend, bullet point style!

  • Birthday Gift!  Giving Nora an early birthday present, which was a scarf that I knit for her!  Nora loves scarves and they are sort of a signature accessory for her, so I figured she'd appreciate a hand-made one.  Hopefully she will post a photo of it because I stupidly forgot to take one (and I didn't have much time as I finished it just a day before my trip to visit her!)
  • BBQ!  The BBQ on Saturday with Nora & Knight and their girls, and Nilsa, her husband, and their adorable son Gavin!  It was my first time "meeting" Nilsa, but I have read her blog for 2+ years (I think?) so it felt like we'd known each other for ages.  I love it when you meet people and instantly click - that was totally the case with Nilsa!  I am looking forward to meeting up with her again, hopefully the when I go to Chicago for work next month (totally forgot to add that trip to the traveling fool post last week!)
  • The Girls!  After hearing many stories about Knight's daughters, I finally got to meet them.  Oh my gosh, they are adorable.  From the "I need time to get stylish in the morning" comments to story telling to requests for me to hold their hand, they won be over.  And made me feel quite popular!
  • Magazines!  Nora and I spent a good chunk of time flipping through magazines while drinking wine.  From cooking magazines to wedding magazines, we entertained ourselves for hours!
  • Bon Fire!  On Saturday night, Nora, Knight, and I headed outside and ended the night by sitting around a bon fire.  S'mores we eaten.  Stories were shared.  Future life changes were discussed.  It was the perfect way to end the day.
I will leave it at that.  All in all, it was a wonderful weekend and just what I needed.  I look forward to hosting Nora and Knight some day!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Friday, September 9, 2011

French Friday

Happy Friday, everyone!  This is an especially happy Friday because a) I have a half day, b) I get to see Nora today, and c) I am introducing a new post series that I am really excited about:  French Friday!!

Most of you know about my obsession with all things French.  I have a separate blog where I chronicled my adventures in France and I will occasionally mention something French-inspired that I am obsessed with...  But I figured I needed a new outlet to share my French obsession...

Voila - French Friday! 

Since this blog was initially started to share book recommendations (wow, have I gotten off track or what!), it seemed only fitting that my first French Friday post be book-themed! 

I own so many books about or set in France, I actually have a "France" bookshelf.  I am pretty this isn't all the French books I own, and some are on my nook, but this gives you an idea of how many I have read!

Here are some of my favorites that I have read over the years!

My Life in France by Julia Child - I adored this book.  It was so interesting to read about the life of Julia Child.  She did not learn to cook until she was in her 30s!  That means there is hope for me. 

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway - I am typically intimidated by Hemingway as I find his books difficult to get into, but I devoured this one.  The writing isn't superb, it's more so almost a journal of his time in Paris.  It's cool to read about him rubbing elbows with other great authors, like F. Scott Fitzgerald!

Paris Wife by Paula McLain - This is a historical fiction novel, based upon Hemingway's first marriage to Hadley Richardson.  Hemingway was married multiple times, so marriage clearly wasn't his thing (he definitely had a wandering eye).  It is interesting to read this after reading A Moveable Feast because A Moveable Feast was written at the end of his life, but he is writing about his time with Hadley in Paris.  He writes about her quite tenderly so it makes a person wonder if he looks back with regret at how that first marriage ended. 

Lunch in Paris by Elizabeth Bard - This is a fun, light read that includes recipes!  This falls into my "escapism" category as the author meets a Parisian, falls in love, and marries him.  The book chronicles their relationship and the time they spent in Paris.  I secretly was hoping I would fall in love with a guy when I went to Paris in February, but that so didn't happen.  Oh well, maybe I will find a local Francophile!

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Finn This is a must-read for any foodie who is curious about what it like to attend Le Cordon Bleu.  Finn's account of her experience in that epic culinary program is a page turner. 

Sarah's Key  by Tatiana de Rosnay - This last book differs from the others in that the subject matter is extremely heavy, but this is a must-read in my opinion, and one of the first books I think of when someone asks for a book recommendation.  I am pretty sure everyone has heard of it as it's been quite popular and is now a movie.  Read it.  Seriously.  You won't regret it.

So there you have it!  Have you read any of these books?  Do you have any books set in Paris or France that you would recommend?  Are you drawn to books that are set in a particular city? 

I hope you enjoy this regular feature - if there is anything in particular that you would like me to talk about, I am all ears!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Traveling Fool!

This week marks the start of a sort of busy travel season for me.  I haven't been on a plane since my DC trip in April, and aside from the occasional weekend at the cabin & that spa weekend, I have hunkered down and stayed put, to some extent. That's about to change, though! 

It starts tomorrow with a road trip to visit Nora, a blogger-turned-real-life best friend.  I visited her in St. Louis is January and now I am visiting her in her driveable-distance-away-home that she shares with her fiance, Knight.  I also got to meet Knight when I was in the Lou in January, and he is just wonderful.  I can't wait to get to know him even better.  Last time I visited Nora, we spent an evening paging through Rachel Ray magazines; I imagine we'll do that this time, too, but we will also get to page through wedding magazines as Nora is getting married in the fall of 2012!  So exciting!  In addition to spending lots of quality time with Nora and Knight, I also get to meet Nilsa, her husband, and their adorable son Gavin!  

The following week, I am going on a business trip to Charlotte, NC.  I was able to pick out my travel dates, so I chose to do my office visit Thursday-Friday so I could stay for the weekend and spend some time with Charbelle.  We've been reading each others' blogs for about 2 years, I think?  We met in person for the first time this spring when we ran the DC Cherry Blossom Race together.  We are actually doing another race together - this time we are doing a 10k through the uptown area of Charlotte.  I am excited to run with her!  She has a fabulous weekend planned - can't wait for some girl time!  Charbelle loves to shop and I need help in that area as I get a bit ADD when shopping so need someone who can steer me in the right direction/point out things that would look good on my body type.  Charbelle is so good at that sort of thing!

After those 2 trips, I take a little break and will play hostess to Kyria.  She's coming to run a 10 mile race with me.  I can't wait to show her around Minneapolis!  We'll probably do some of the same things I did with the Ambers in August. 

Then the last week of September, I go to Austin & Dallas for work.  No fun pictures to post for that trip.  Besides working, I am hoping to maybe see my high school boyfriend that lives in Dallas - he is the only boyfriend I am still good friends with (I don't really believe in being good friends w/ exes...)!  It's going to be a packed trip, but hopefully I can at least get a drink with him.

Next up is my half marathon trip to Victoria, BC with Lauren, Amber, and Leigh!  Amber and I ran the marathon with Lauren last year (well, technically, we ran it behind her, she is speedy!), and Leigh is joining us this year!  I am flying into Seattle, Lauren is picking me up and then we are taking the ferry form Port Angeles, WA to Victoria, BC where we will meet up with Amber and Leigh.  Lauren is doing the full, the rest of us are doing the half.  I am hoping to continue to do a destination race each year like this.  I don't think we will be able to meet up in 2012 as I have multiple weddings, but hopefully we can resume our destination races in 2013!

Besides these trips, I also have work trips to Omaha and Nashville, and possibly LA/San Fran/Seattle.

So needless to say, I will be busy.  And I will be racking up the miles.   I am hoping to get as many work trips done before I start studying for the next CFA exam...  We'll see how many trips I can pack in between now and January 1st! 

Do you have any trips planned for the fall?  Do you travel for work?  This is the first job I've had that involves travel!

Psst.... Be sure to come back tomorrow - I'm kicking off a new post series that I am SUPER DUPER excited about.  :) 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Workout Wednesday

After my run on Monday, I sent my running coach an email.  The subject line was:  "Ok, now I will trust you."

You see, all summer I have been a complete and total skeptic.  Each week I would go to run club and do the prescribed work out, getting my *ss kicked in the process.  Then I'd drive home and think - "how am I going to do a sub-2 hour half." 

There was whole lot of self doubt and truth be told, mental berating going on.  This should come to no surprise to those who know me well.  I am my own worst enemy.

But the last couple of weeks, something has shifted.  Every workout hasn't been sunshine and rainbows, but I can tell I am getting stronger.  My body recovers faster.  I am hitting my paces on tempo runs and speed work.

I had my best run in months on Monday morning.  I did a 7 mile run:  2 mile warm up, 3 miles @ half marathon pace, 2 mile cool down.  I was aiming to run those 3 miles at a 9 min pace.  Instead, I ran them in 8:38, 8:46, and 8:38.  The best thing is that pace actually felt sustainable

My confidence is shifting and I am starting to really believe I will run a sub-2 hour half.  In the event I don't, at least I know I gave it my all trying to accomplish that goal!!

Are you training for anything these days?  I had a 10k in mid-September, a 10 mile race in late-September, and the half in early October.  I am debating a 25k trail run in late October, but trail running intimidates me! 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The End of an Era

This weekend marked the end of an era for my family.  It was the last weekend we spent at the cabin - it will be demolished this week so my parents' new lake home can be build.  I love our cabin, but it was sort of on it's last leg with much of it rotting and just falling apart in general.  My parents will eventually retire and live at the lake year round, and the time has come for them to make that dream they've spoke of for years come true.  They have worked ridiculously hard (and continue to work ridiculously hard), so it is really nice to see them appreciate the fruits of their labor.  I'm so excited for them!

It was a bittersweet weekend.  We loaded up lots of stuff (I admittedly got out of the worst of the heavy loading as I left a day before everyone else did) but also enjoyed ourselves.

My parents purchased that cabin back in 2001.  It is interesting to think about all the events that have happened since then.  My sisters both had their bachelorette parties there and I had my MBA grad school party there.  My nephews, James and Andrew, had many birthday celebrations there.  All 5 of my nephews got to experience a "bath-in-the-sink".  Christmases were celebrated.  Countless games of cribbage and apples to apples were played. 

We reminisced a bit over our last supper together there on Sunday night.  The memories are countless, really.  I am looking forward to making memories in the new place next summer!!

I will close with some photos of some of the memories we've made...

Mom & Matthew, summer of 2009

Andrew on this 3rd birthay.  Yes, he is licking his cake.  While we sang "Happy Birthday".  The kid just could not wait.  Funniest picture ever in my opinion.

Kolin playing in the yard

James, Andrew, and Kolin at my MBA Grad party.  This was take 4 of this photo, I believe?  Takes 1-3 involved some tears.  It's tough to coral young kids for a photo...
Abby with us bridesmaids at her bachelorette party
James and I last summer - he had recently lost his 2 front teeth!

Last sink bath for Charlie.  The cabin doesn't have a tub, so this is where all the babies bathed!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Music, Books, Miles, and Looks of August


Keep Breathing by Ingrid Michaelson - I adore Ingrid Michaelson's voice - and how amazing she sounds live - as evidenced by this live video.  This is off an older album of hers which I recently purchased.  She has a hauntingly beautiful voice.

Jolene performed by Zac Brown Band - Love this song.  Ray Lamontagne sings it as well, but I love the harmonies in Zac Brown Band's cover of it.  It's beautiful. 

Best Love Song by T-Pain featuring Chris Brown - Yep, another hip hop song for you.  What can I say, it's good running music.  Bonus points for the fact that there is a key change at the end of the song.  I love songs with key changes because I don't think just anyone can do a key change. 


The Sandalwood Tree by Elle Newmark - This was the August blogger book club book.  It got off to a bit of a slow start but I actually really liked it.  It was set in India and told the story of 2 woman who lived there in different times. 

The Last Time I Saw Paris by Lynn Sheene - Same title as a book I read last month, totally different author/story.  It was set during WWII and the main character was involved with the resistance.  It was pretty good, but not great. 

Definitely a slow reading month for me - mostly because I was so gosh darn busy!


It was a good running month for me - I ran exactly 100 miles.  Woo hoo!  I am really happy with that!  I feel like I am getting stronger and maybe a tish fasher. 

I also biked 45.5 miles - which doesn't include my commuter biking, which is probably around 20 miles a month I think?  So I maybe biked a total of 60 miles this month which isn't bad!  I am really thinking about getting a road bike next year.  Then I could bike to and from run club as there is a bike path I could take to the location where we meet.  And then I really would VERY RARELY have to drive.  :)


You can't see the outfit clearly, but this is one of my favorite summer outfits.  And it's apparently my "fair outfit", as I wore the exactly same thing last year when we had our blogger meet up last August.  It's a simple jean skirt and ATL top.  Easy, comfortable, and perfect for summer in my opinion.  Also that bag?  Totally my favorite bag.  It was made IN Paris afterall!


Phew, what a month!  I blinked and it was over...  I want September to go by more slowly, but I am gone the first 3 weekends... And then Kyria visits...  so yah, it will probably fly by as well!!