Friday, October 30, 2015


Greeting and happy Friday!  Whoa, the last week was hectic.  I still need to do a recap of my Boston trip (short version:  it was really awesome!) but that won't happen until next week.  Here's a recap of my week, TGIF style.

The high of my week was going on a really beautiful run when I was in New Jersey for work on Monday.  I intentionally chose a hotel that was close to a running path and that was such a great decision.  Sometimes work travel is exhausting, but experiences like that run on Monday night reminded me that I also have great moments while on the road.

Mother Nature had painted a beautiful canvas in the area of New Jersey I was in.

The low of my week was feelings of exhaustion from traveling.  Traveling to 3 different states over the course of a week is exhausting!  The work travel all went well and helped me establish more credibility with the sales force but dang I am so tired and totally talked out.  

A book I am reading is "I Feel Bad About My Neck" by Nora Ephron. I just finished a really heavy, sad book so I needed something light and fun to read.  Plus it's a book I own so it counts towards my challenge of reading 12 books I own (after this book I will be one book away from reaching that goal!).

For my workouts, I ran on Monday, did strength training workouts on Tuesday and Wednesday and ran on Thursday. Today is a rest day and then tomorrow I will activate a 30 day unlimited pass to Core Power Yoga and will go to Yoga Sculpt in the morning (which is my favorite class - it's the best workout!). On Sunday I'm planning to go for a 10 mile run with my run club buddy and hopefully I'll fit a yoga class in, too.

The best podcast I listened to was the the first podcast in a series by Happier that reviews the 4 Tendencies, which distinguishes the four ways in which people respond to expectations. The first podcast reviewed the "Upholder" tendencies and oh my word, it describe me to the t.  I actually made Phil listen to part of it and he agreed that it described me in a nutshell.  Phil said that if I was a super hero, my super hero name should be "upholder."  Ha, ha.  One of the hosts, Gretchen Rubin, is also an upholder so it was nice to hear her reflections on what it's like to fall under this category.  This past week they reviewed the "Questioner" tendency which is what Phil falls under.  Interestingly, Gretchen is also married to a questioner so when she talked about the conflict between upholders and questioners, I was nodding my head along.  If you want to see which tendency you fall under, you can take the quiz here.  

The best money I spent was the $35 I spent to sign up for the Holiday Shred that Bobbi of nHerShoes hosts each year. I'm excited to get a new batch of workouts and I'm glad that Amber is also doing it as we are so good at motivating each other!

My plans this weekend include hosting a pumpkin carving party at Phil's tonight. I'm making this apple crisp recipe, which is and we'll have chips and salsa to snack on as well. On Saturday we will hand out candy at Phil's for awhile and then head to Phil's coworker's annual Halloween party. My costume is sort of an inside joke that most won't get. A couple of months ago, the term "cat burglar" came up in conversation.  I am a VERY literal person so I thought it meant someone who steals cats....  Phil had to explain that it's a petty thief that steals at night and often enters via fire escapes and things like that.  Who knew.  So I am going to dress in black, wear a mask, and carry a stuffed cat around in a cat carrier.  We'll cap off the weekend on Sunday by attending my running club's annual end of the season party.  So it's a fun, full weekend!

Do you have any plans for Halloween weekend?  If you have taken the 4 tendencies quiz, which tendency describes you?

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Read Harder Challenge: 3rd Quarter Update

I finished the Read Harder Challenge in the third quarter and I can't say that I am too surprised that I finished early as it's sort of in my nature to attack goals with gusto and finish early.  I'm really glad that I took this challenge on as it was fun to research which books I would read for the various categories and it introduced me to genre and authors that I might not have checked out otherwise.  I would definitely do a challenge like this again in the future!

Tasks Completed in the Third Quarter:
A romance novel:  9 Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean - Before this challenge, I hadn't read a romance novel for well over 10 years. I avoided the genre because I always felt like the books were so over the top and, well, smutty, and the female characters tended to have that "damsel in destress/I'm waiting for a man to save me" feel to them. So I turned to Becky, who is a romance expert, and asked her to recommend a book and she did a great job as the MacLean novel I read was a fun, entertaining read with a strong female character.  If you are like me and have avoided the romance character, I'd recommend checking MacLean's books out!

A book that is a retelling of a classic story:  The Three Weissmans of Westport by Cathleen Schine - This book is a re-telling of Sense and Sensibility, which I hadn't read before reading this novel.  I might have enjoyed it more had I read S&S first.  There were enjoyable aspects of the novel but the women seemed self-centered and a bit whiny and manipulative at times.  I later read S&S and understood that that is just how the characters are...

A book published before 1850:  Sense & Sensibility by Jane Austen - Oy vey, this was a struggle for me to get through.  I want to like classics, I really do, but this book reminded me that they just don't appeal to me. I couldn't handle how the authors drew out situations that could be resolved by asking a direct question. I understand that these novels were written in a different period of time when it was not acceptable for women to voice their opinions and concerns, but the drawn out story line (is she engaged? Isn't she? For the love of God, JUST ASK HER!!) drive me crazy. If I not been reading this book for the challenge I definitely would have given up on it.  

A self-improvement book:  10% Happier by Dan Harris - This book ended up being less of a self-help book and more of a memoir but I'm still counting it for this category.  It's about an author who used meditation to combat his trouble with panic attacks.  I liked some aspects of the book but felt like the author did a lot of name dropping. 

Tasks Completed in Prior Quarter:
 A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25: Purple Hibiscus by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65:  Runaway by Alice Munro
A book by a person whose gender is different from your own:  The Rosie Effect by Graeme Simsion
A book by an author from Africa: Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie
A YA novel:  We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
A sci-fi novel:  The Martian by Andy Weir
An audiobook:  Yes Please by Amy Poehler 
A collection of poetry:  Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
A microhistory:  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot A book published this year:  Girl on the Train by Paul Hawkins
A book published by an indie press:  The Empathy Exam by Leslie Jamison
A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure:  Paris Letters by Janice MacLeod
A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture:  The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
A collection of short stories:  Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade:  Redeployment by Phil Klay
A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ:  Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan 
A book that was originally published in another language:  Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind:  French Milk by Lucy Knisley  
A book that someone else has recommended to you:  Nobody's Cuter Than You by Melanie Shankel
A book that takes place in Asia:  In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner 

Now that I am done with the challenge, it is nice to have 100% control over what I am reading and to not have to think about what categories I need to fill as besides book club and postal book club books, I can read whatever I please.  I've got a whole lot of suspended book requests at the library that I am looking forward to checking out in the final months of the year!
What book or books are you most looking forward to reading?  I'm excited to read "Fates and Furies," "A Window Opens" and "Kitchens of the Great Midwest."

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Currently: The October Edition

As I expected, October has been a blur.  It's been filled with mostly fun things but I added some work travel onto the tail end of the month which is making for an even more hectic month!  I just wish that time would slow the heck down!  Here's what's currently happening in my world. 

Reading:  Between Shades of Gray.  Don't let that title deter you - it's nothing like the 50 Shades of Gray books (which I refuse to read). This book is set during WWII but it tells a different side of the story as it focuses on the Russians treatment of the Lithuanians during the war.  It's very sad, which is to be expected given the subject matter, but I am enjoying it (as much as you can say you 'enjoy' a sad/heavy book).

Loving: the beautiful fall weather we continue to have!  It was in the 65-75 degree range on Monday and Tuesday which is so abnormal for this time of year but so wonderful!

Thinking:  about registering for the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota in June of 2016.  When I finished Twin Cities, I really thought it might be my last marathon...  but I'm not feeling happy with my time and really want to try one more time for a sub-4 hour marathon.  I am holding off on registering for now, though, as I don't want to make a rash decision.

Frustrated: by the blisters I've been getting lately.  I got 3 really bad ones during the marathon and on Monday I wore heels for the first time in months and got another blister close to the area where one of my worst ones from the marathon was.  Le sigh.   

Feeling:  a little overwhelmed by my schedule right now.  I am super excited for our trip to Boston but I had to tag some work travel onto that trip.  So the next week looks like this:  Minneapolis>Boston>Newark>Chicago>Minneapolis.  I'm home for the Halloween weekend, then I go to Mississippi for 1.5 days for more work meetings, come home for 2 days and go to Philadelphia/New Jersey for Alli's wedding (which I am super excited about, of course!). I guess I just have to embrace the craziness of my travel schedule and hope that things quiet down in mid- to late-November!

Anticipating:  our trip to Boston this weekend!  I can't wait to explore a new city and re-connect with friends!  And I'm really excited to see Kelly and her family and introduce Phil to them!

Watching: the news in the morning and that is about it.  I feel like I am rarely home these days since my schedule has me all over the place!

Sad:  that I haven't really had a chance to enjoy fall in Minnesota as I've been so dang busy this month!  The leaves all changed while we were in Miami and now they are starting to drop. I wish the leaf changing season was longer!!

Working: on getting back on track with my exercise routine. Between recovering from the marathon and having a busy travel schedule, I have not been working out as much as I would like to!  And that needs to change stat!!

Grateful: that a surgery that my dad had on Monday went really well.  We thought he might have to have his ankle replacement hardware removed due to an infection but it turned out that he had a hematoma/several blood clots instead so the outlook for recovery is much better! I'm also grateful that my nephew did not need surgery on his arm and instead could be put into a permanent cast.  The poor kid broke BOTH of his arms at a football game the weekend of Julia Child.  I feel so bad for him but we are all relieved that he won't need surgery!  It has been a volatile month for my family in terms of health problems!

Listening: to all the podcasts.  As usual.

Wishing: that the beautiful fall weather would stick around for many months!

What are you reading, wishing for, and grateful for these days?

Monday, October 19, 2015

Miami Beach Family Girls Trip Recap

Happy Monday, everyone!  I'm back from a 5-day fun weekend away and am feeling refreshed and ready to attack the week ahead - which happens to be another short one as I head to Boston with Phil on Thursday!  I feel guilty about taking two trips two weeks in a row but my boss has assured me that it is fine. Plus, I am very fortunate as I get 6 weeks of paid time off/year (which includes sick time, vacation time and personal days) at my new job so I definitely have plenty of vacation time to use! Plus, I am not taking any time off around the holidays so that my co-workers with children can take time off.

Anyways, back to the trip at hand!  A couple of years ago the girls in my family got to talking about the fact that the guys go on hunting and fishing trips every year, but the girls never get away.  We decided to change that and went on our first girls trip in 2013 to Myrtle Beach. We loved going to a beach destination so this year we decided to go to Miami Beach as the timeshare my parents belong to has a property there.  I had been to Miami before but it was for work so I did not see much besides the downtown area so it was great to go back and see the sights!

I kind failed on the picture-taking front - I guess I was having too much fun to think about taking photos, but I did snap some shots throughout the weekend which I will share below.  When we go on these girls trips, we try not to over-plan our time as the whole point of getting away is to relax - especially for my sisters and sisters-in-law as they have kids at home and also work outside of the home so relaxation is key!  We shopped, ate delicious food, took a tour of Miami/Miami Beach, went on a boat tour and some some of the extravagant homes of famous people such as P. Diddy, and soaked up some vitamin D on the beach!  Most importantly, we bonded and enjoyed spending 4 days together in a fun location.  I'll let the pictures do the talking for the rest of the post!

My sister Abby and I before our run along the beach on Thursday!

There's nothing like running with the sand and surf by your side!

It lightly rained during the run so I got to see a rainbow!

Lunch at an awesome Cuban place on Thursday.  I love these women so much!

My sister-in-law Julie and I. I am blessed with two awesome sisters-in-law!!

It was fun to explore the area, but laying on the beach and reading was my favorite part!

I am so glad that we have established a tradition of getting away together every 2 years.  A couple of people said that they thought it was interesting that my sisters-in-law come along as they couldn't imagine traveling with their in-laws family. But I am as close to my sisters-in-law as I am to my sisters and we all just get along so well.  I can't wait to see where our future trips take us!  We all value our time together so I just know this is a tradition that we will keep alive for many years!

Do you still travel with your extended family?  Did you travel a lot as a family when you were younger?  My family did not travel much when I was younger since there were so many of us and instead we would spend time at the lake, which we all loved.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

National Healthly Lung Month

Did you know that October is National Healthy Lung Month?  One thing that RA has taught me is to appreciate my health and do whatever I can to make sure I continue to stay healthy. As a runner, lung healthy is obviously very important and not something I take for granted.  I try to do what I can to make sure my lungs stay healthy, like exercising, staying hydrated, avoiding areas/places where there is cigarette smoke, and staying indoors when the air pollution levels are at dangerous levels (which is a rare occurrence in Minnesota, luckily). It's also important to avoid toxins indoors, such as asbestos, which is a carcinogen that causes a type of cancer called mesothelioma. You can learn more about mesothelioma here.

I have been personally affected by lung cancer as my grandmother passed away from it in over 20 years ago. I've been affected more recently as the mom of a good friend is battling lung cancer for the 3rd time and is unfortunately out of treatment options so is in the midst of her final battle with this awful disease. I read recently that lung cancer takes more lives than breast, prostate and colon cancers combined – it accounts for 27% of all cancer deaths. Isn't that sad?  

This post is my small effort to raise awareness about the importance of lung health.  I hope that as research improves, cancer will claim the lives of fewer people. But until then, we have to do all that we can to make sure that we keep our bodies - and our lungs - in the best condition possible. 

Monday, October 12, 2015

Julia Child Night #7

Greetings and happy Monday!  I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Mine was awesome as it was full of good food and time spent with family and friends. We celebrated our 7th Julia Child Night on Saturday and it was so much fun!  It was really fun to make some New Orleans-inspired dishes.  I'll let the pictures (mostly) do the talking!

My aunt, uncle, brother and I spent 5 hours on Friday doing prep work for the big meal!  It's a lot of work to put on an event like this but it's so much fun and it's good to have excuse to gather the family together!  We had 26 guests this year so quite the big group! My brother and his family came from Chicago as they had to see what it was all about; I have a feeling they'll be back for future events!

Even Anna, one of our youngest guest, donned an apron for the event!
Before the event got started, though, we had a curve ball thrown at us. My brother, who was one of the main cooks for the event, coaches my nephew's football team and they had a game on Saturday afternoon.  Unfortunately, my nephew got tackled from behind, which was a total cheap shot, and broke his wrist badly. He is such a tough kid, though, and handled the pain really well. He ended up getting a temporary cast and will go back for a full consultation this week.

The event went on as planned, though!  We started off with our usual cheese course. This year I purchased a Minnesota-shaped slate cheeseboard because when you love Minnesota as much as I do, it's something you need!

Spiced nuts, crackers and cheese all lined up for our guests

Our signature drink was a hurricane, which was dangerously good!!
While the food is amazing, the people at the event are what really makes it special!

Phil and I!

My mom, aunt Barb (aka Julia Child aunt) and I

My sister-in-law Emily and I!
Before we knew it, it was time to sit down and eat!  Our 'amuse bouche' was a small serving of an oyster po'boy.  My brothers have made these several times and they are so good!

Po'boys assembled and ready to cut.

The servings were small as we had so much other food ahead!
Our next course was a gumbo-style soup. The recipe called for Turtle (!!!) but we used beef instead. We used Julia Child's recipe for the beef broth that was the foundation of the soup.  The soup was served with corn bread.

The main course was a boudin-stuffed turkey breast, rice & beans, and collard greens. I had never heard of boudin but it's a sausage that is made with rice in it.  And just in case there wasn't enough food on that plate, we also included a serving of andouille sausage that was also in the beans. My brother made both the boudin and andouille sausage, with the help of my aunt and uncle, and it was so good!  I had never had collard greens before but they reminded me of a cabbage dish my mom made when we were growing up.

After the main course, we took a bit of a break before serving dessert as everyone was so stuffed at this point. That break gave us the perfect opportunity to take our annual "apron photo."  My brother is the guy in the chef's outfit!

So many cool aprons!
Then it was time for dessert! My Chicago brother took the lead on this and made his recipe for bananas foster. He flambed it which was neat to see.

We served the bananas foster on buckwheat crepes that my cousin's girlfriend's mom had made.  She's a retired French teacher so knows a thing or two about French cooking!  We topped the dessert off with my sister-in-law's homemade vanilla ice cream.  It was soooo good!!

And there you have it!  Another successful event! I wonder where Julia will go next year?  Only time will tell! 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Sleep Training for Adults

Since I'm in my mid-30s, I tend to come across a lot of posts that talk about sleep training for babies as many of the people in my life have infants and small children.  I hear and read about them talking about the exhaustion, the interrupted sleep, and the sleepless nights, and I think - me, too, sister.  Let me be clear, though.  When I say that, I'm not trying to compare my sleep issues with their challenges.  I know their exhaustion is so much bigger than mine as they are providing 24/7 care for an infant.  But I do understand the challenge and frustration of sleep deprivation.  I know what it is like to feel like a zombie as that is how I felt during the month of August when my sleep quality was at an all-time low.

Those feelings of exhaustion and frustration led me to meet with a sleep specialist at the end of August.  After filling out a long questionnaire, tracking my sleep for 10 days, and having a long discussion about my sleep problems, they confirmed what I pretty much knew already - I have insomnia.  They explained what they felt triggered my insomnia, explained why it has gotten worse and then went over a list of things that I could do to improve my sleep.  The good news is that insomnia is curable.  The bad news is that it takes a lot of discipline and it won't improve overnight.

I've been working on incorporating the suggestions that they made and thought I'd review them here as it seems like I encounter more and more people who struggle to sleep.  So hopefully this post will help someone who is experiencing sleep struggles!

1.  Go to bed when you are tired.  I almost feel embarrassed to start off with this because it seems so obvious, kind of like the advice to only eat when you are hungry.  But I do not have control of when I have to wake up in the morning, so I tried to control when I went to bed.  I would consider when I had to be up and go to bed at a time that would allow me to get ~8 hours of sleep.  But going to bed because "it was time to go to bed" instead of because I was tired meant that I'd often toss and turn, and then that tossing and turning would feed thoughts like, "oh my God, what if I don't fall asleep tonight?  How will I function tomorrow?"  Which made it even MORE difficult to fall asleep.  These days, I do not try to go to bed unless I am tired.  The often means staying up later than I would like, but it also means falling asleep easier.

2.  Bed is only for sleeping.  I used to read in bed before going to sleep but the doctor said to stop doing this as I need to train my brain to only associate my bed with sleep.  Now I read on my couch until I feel exhausted/near the point of falling asleep and then I go to bed.

3.  Take melatonin with dinner.  Before I started taking Ambien, and after I stopped taking Ambien in July, I habitually used melatonin.  Except I was doing it all wrong as I was taking it at bedtime.  It turns out that it's more effective to take it several hours before going to bed.  It's not supposed to illicit feelings of sleepiness - it's meant to train your body to produce more melatonin.  Now I try to take it with dinner or within a couple of hours of going to bed.

4.  If you are awake for more than 10 minutes during the night, get out of bed and go do something, like read.  This is BY FAR the hardest piece of advice to put into practice.  It's common for me to wake up during the night and not fall back asleep and the last thing I want to do at that time is get out of bed, even though I know that laying in bed and tossing and turning won't help me.  I've gotten better about being disciplined about this but it's so hard.  I usually only have to read for 20-30 minutes and then I'll feel tired enough to go back to bed, but it's still frustrating and annoying.  Some weeks I only have to do this once but last week I had to get up and read 4 nights!

Those are the 4 big things I've been doing and they are definitely helping.  I'm still not sleeping as great as I'd like to be but I'm certainly sleeping more than I did in August!  Hopefully my sleep continues to improve!

Would you characterize yourself as a good sleeper?  If you aren't, what tricks do you employ to improve your sleep? 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Post-race Reflections

It's been several days since the marathon.  The soreness is starting to slowly subside although it is taking longer than I'd like.  My legs are starting to recover but the pain from my blisters is awful!  My marathon recap was very stat-heavy what with all the splits and such so I thought I would do another post with some of my post-race thoughts.

- Full disclosure - I did get a little teary-eyed on Monday morning when my colleague/good friend asked how I felt about my race but I quickly tried to block out any feelings of disappointment.  It helped when my boss, who has ran several marathons, told me that I should keep in mind that I missed my goal by less than 1% and that running a 4:02 marathon is an amazing accomplishment.  I work with some really awesome people, by the way.

- After that little mini pity party, I have tried to shift my focus to what I accomplished. I'm so grateful that I was able to train for and finish a marathon.  When I was not able to run the Chicago marathon due to my stress fracture and RA diagnosis, I hated how the decision to run that race was taken away from me and I felt like my body betrayed me.  Now the ball is back in my court and I get to decide what activities and races I will tackle.  Having control is a big deal for a control freak like me!

- One of the best things I gained from training for this marathon was gaining a new friendship.  A new girl joined our club and we pretty much did all of our training runs together and got along super well.  I mean, you know it's a true friendship when you can run 3+ hours together multiple weekends in a row and not run out of things to talk about!  Forming friendships and bonds like that is what running is really all about for me.  Sure, we all have our personal goals that we are looking to achieve but the greatest gift of running is the many friendships I've formed and continue to form.

- Training for and running this marathon made my love for Minneapolis grow even more - as if that was even possible!  I was so excited to show John the beautiful running paths of Minneapolis and St. Paul during the marathon. Our marathon is known as the most beautiful urban marathon in the U.S. and it certainly lives up to that distinction!  I feel so lucky to live in a city with such a well developed trail system.

- To be quite honest, training for something like a marathon is a selfish pursuit. It takes many many hours and it seeps into other areas of your life since it impacts things like your sleep schedule and nutrition needs. Phil was a total trooper through the training and never complained. He provided a lot of encouragement, did some of my training runs with me, and put up with complaints about hot runs, exhaustion, and blister, among other things, and he was out there on race day cheering me on.  Knowing I would see him around mile 22 was pretty much the only thing that kept me going during the miles leading up to that.

- So the million dollar question is - "will I run another marathon?"  My answer is that I don't know.  I am not going to say I won't run another marathon but at this point I don't have any intentions to run one in the year to come.  We'll see what the future holds.  In the mean time, I'm looking forward to adding more diversity to my workout regimen.  I've got Groupons for a month at Core Power Yoga and 10 barre classes and after that, I'm thinking about getting a Class Pass membership for the winter. If I choose to not run another marathon, I know there are other fitness-related goals for me to achieve.

Monday, October 5, 2015

2015 Twin Cities Marathon Recap

Greetings and happy Monday!  I'm feeling sore and tired this morning but pleased with how my race went.  I did not make my goal of running a sub-4 marathon, but I am OK with it.  I gave it my all and left everything I had out there on the course.  I ended up running a 4:02:33 which is about a one minute PR so I can not complain.  After my RA diagnosis, I questioned whether I'd ever run again and never dreamed I would run another marathon.  So I am choosing to focus on that accomplishment rather than the time on the clock (although I am also proud of my time). 

Clothes and gear all lined up the night before!  I taped my name to my shirt but it only stayed on for the first 8 miles or so.

All ready to go on race morning!

John, Megan and I at the start!

Now for the race recap.  I lined up at the start with John and my running club buddy Megan.  Our goal was run around a 9 minute mile and hold that pace as long as we could.  Here are my splits:

Mile 1:  9:57
Mile 2:  9:02
Mile 3:  9:04
Mile 4:  8:50
Mile 5:  9:07
Mile 6:  8:55
Mile 7:  9:12
Mile 8:  8:45

** I saw Phil around this point which gave me some extra energy!**

Mile 9:  9:03
Mile 10:  8:42
Mile 11:  8:49
Mile 12:  8:57
Mile 13:  8:58

** Just after mile 13, I saw some of the awesome friends I've made through Phil.  It was so thoughtful of them to come out and cheer me on - and they even made a sign!  That's the first time anyone has ever made a sign for me so I was so touched!!**

Mile 14:  9:17
Mile 15:  8:54
Mile 16:  9:11
Mile 17:  9:09
Mile 18:  9:19
Mile 19:  8:55
Mile 20:  9:15

** at this point we entered a very hilly part of the course.  It's pretty cruel to have to tackle hills at this point of the course which makes Twin Cities a very challenging course.**

Mile 21:  9:16

** I pulled ahead of John around this time and Megan pulled ahead of me.  I tried so hard to keep her in sight but I just couldn't.**

Mile 22:  9:24

** I saw Phil at this point and was really hurting.  I wasn't even able to muster a smile.  :/ **

Mile 23:  9:46

** After that crappy split at mile 23, I dug deep and tried to pick up the pace.**

Mile 24:  9:08

** That faster pace lasted about a mile.  I knew at this point that sub-4 was not a possibility.  I fought the urge to walk and just kept putting one foot in front of the other.  At this point the blister that had developed on my pinky toe during the race popped so the pain from that was pretty intense.**

Mile 25:  9:43
Mile 26:  10:13
Last 0.2 (or 0.4 according to my watch):  9:03 pace

I hobbled across the finish line and boy did it hurt.  But I was done and was proud of my performance.  The race weather was perfect, I was cheered on by the 300,000 (!!!) spectators that lined the course, and I was cheered on by a far by a whole lot of friends and family.  My phone was definitely blowing up with congratulatory text messages when I finished which was cool to see. 

Now I get to relax and enjoy some down time.  I've got a lot to look forward to between Julia Child Night and my trips to Miami and Boston.  I've worked so hard over the last 6 months between training for a triathlon and training for this marathon so I am looking forward to giving my body a much-deserved break. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Music, Books, Miles and Looks of September

Good bye September and hello October!  September was a great month but I'm excited to move onto October as I have so many fun things planned!  


Beethoven's 5 Secrets by The Piano Guys - I heart The Piano Guys so much and find their music so calming and soothing. This is one of my favorite songs of theirs. They are coming to Minneapolis in March and I am going to their concert with 2 of my good friends.  I can't wait to see them live!


September was another strong reading month for me as I read 9 books.  I started to be disciplined about my sleep training (more on that in another post) which meant that I was up reading in the middle of the night when I couldn't sleep. So that is part of the reason why I am able to read as many books as I do. My favorite books were The House at the End of Hope Street, Circling the Sun and Station Eleven.

Joyland by Stephen King - 4 stars
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel - 4 stars
Circling the Sun by Paula McLain - 4 stars
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - 3 stars
On Love by Alain de Botton - 4 stars
10% Happier by Dan Harris - 3 stars
Christmas Confessions & Cocktails by Vicki Lesage (reviewed for author) - 4 stars
Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill - 3 stars
The House at the End of Hope Street by Meena van Praag - 5 stars


September was a strong month for me in terms of workouts as I ran 116 miles and biked 64 miles. Besides that I fit in 5 strength training workouts and went to yoga once. The miles will decline and the strength training sessions will increase as I shift into my fall/winter workout regimen!


After a couple of months of lackluster looks, I finally have a couple of outfits to share with you! 

The first look is a "weekend" outfit. I got the pants at a Cabi party this spring and wear them often on the weekend as they are sooooo comfortable.  The top is something I purchased at Banana Republic over 2 years ago.

The second outfit is something I wore when I went to Chicago for work. It's a Banana Republic Dress that I've probably owned for 4-5 years.  I love the cut of the dress and I tend to get compliments when I wear it so I should wear it more often!