Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Wednesday Words: Passionate

I'm linking up with Deb Runs again for Wednesday Words.

Deb Runs

This week's word is Passionate.

Boy, this could go any way, right?

Passionate defined means "having, compelled by, or ruled by intense emotion or strong feeling, fervid." But also "easily moved to anger; quick-tempered; irascible." As a redhead, that's probably a better description of this word for me, but we're going to focus on the first definition. :o)

I think that if you know me, or you've been around here long, you probably know the things I'm passionate about. They are typically the things I write about.

1. Family
2. Running
3. Cooking
4. Books/reading

There was a time in my life when my one, true passion, that nothing else compared to, was my horse Oliver and riding.

Sadly, life changes some things and horses are no longer a huge (or even small) part of my life, but I would change that in a heartbeat if given the opportunity. 

As we grow and learn, our passions change in the same way we do. My daughter is currently passionate about all things Frozen, and Disney princess in general. But she's also starting to learn new things in school and make new friends. I hope (and pray!) that she becomes passionate about learning and opens her minds to new things. 

Sometimes these changes are slow, and you wake up one day to realize that all of a sudden your life focus has really switched gears. My running is a good example of this. I started out just kind of putzing around, hoping to lose some baby weight, and now it's on the forefront of my mind at any given time. 

Some times you dive in head first and immerse yourself in a new interest that becomes a passion. My relationship with my husband was like this. I pretty much fell head over heels, and we quickly started spending all of our time together. 10+ years later...

Or the moment my daughter was born. Talk about some intense emotion! After spending 9 months wondering who this little person would be, and what she'd look like, the love and passion I felt for her was immediate. 

So what are you passionate about? Did you dive right in, or did you gradually warm up to it? 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Training for Tuesday: the Hay is in the Barn

Today I'm linking up with Tracy and Alyssa for their Training for Tuesday link-up. It's a monthly post where we can check in on our training, on the other blogger's training, and take some time to reflect on where we've been and where we're going.

A saying that gets thrown around a lot on my training website ( is that "the hay is in the barn." Basically, it means that you've done all the work you can this training cycle, and it's time to relax and put that hard work to good use. Reap what you've sewn, if you will.

With less than 3 weeks until my marathon (20 days!), this is where I'm at. I've done all the hard work. Now it's time to start tapering, get lots of sleep, rest, recover, and maybe get my nutrition on point a little. (Definitely an area that I still need to improve).

After this morning's run, I've officially completed my toughest month of training. Seriously, when I looked at the training plan for this month, I was not sure how I was going to accomplish all of the workouts. A) they were tougher than anything I've done so far, and B) they were much longer - 8-9 mile workouts in the middle of the week!

But I'm happy to show you this today!

Every run is highlighted! I did it! 

Honestly, completing each run and workout just helped boost my confidence. Some runs I went in thinking "no way can I pull this off", and then I'd be pleasantly surprised when I was successful. This month has given me so much confidence going into my race. Sure, there will still be some anxiety, nerves, and lots of doubt. Hopefully I can draw on some of the workouts I've done this month and think "remember when you ran those 3 miles at a sub 8:30 pace in the middle of your 16 mile run? Yea, you can do this too."

I have to laugh when I think about how I'm officially in "taper town", but I still have long runs of 12 & 8 miles, plus 6-8 mile workouts. My training plan likes to keep the mileage up in the taper period so your legs don't get stale, but also helping to blow off a little of that nervous steam. 

The pace bands I ordered from Races2Remember showed up yesterday in the mail, with a sweet note from one of their employees wishing me good luck. 

I've never used a pace band before, but I figured it's worth a shot. Math is never my strong suit, and math after running 15 miles is like asking me to perform surgery while doing a headstand - bad idea.

So, it's starting to feel official! The hay is in the barn, and now I've just got to ride it out the next few weeks, stay healthy, and hopefully have a great race! 

How's your training going? Join up with us and tell us about it!


Monday, September 28, 2015

Fall Recipes

I normally do a weekend review on Mondays, but our weekend was pretty uneventful. We did go to an open house at our fire department, but Emily didn't want to do any of the activities they had (fire safety house, fireman obstacle course). So we were there for 20 minutes, got this picture, and left.

Besides a long run and watching football, we really didn't do anything. 

I have been knocking it out of the park in the kitchen lately, though. Fall is time for comfort foods, and there has been no shortage of that in my house lately. 

First up: Apple Bacon Stuffed Sweet Potatoes from How Sweet It Is. This recipe combines sweet and savory with a mix of the the sweet potato & apple with bacon, goat cheese and sage seasoning. One potato per person felt more than enough and filled me up, but you might want to serve it with a side salad.

Next we enjoyed this Stuffed Acorn Squash from Prevention RD. It's stuffed with sausage and apples, as well as some other things. The recipe calls for mushrooms, but I felt it was hearty enough without so I omitted them. Your call. 

Lastly, this yummy Greek Yogurt Dip from Food Faith Fitness. I wanted to make something yummy for the football game on Sunday, but not completely wreck my diet. I've also been having trouble with spinach lately, so this recipe really intrigued me. It's like a spinach artichoke dip, but it uses kale & cauliflower instead, along with a lot of parmesan cheese. While it's not exactly a salad, it's definitely better than most game day food. 

I also have to totally laugh at this picture, because it is my life. Adult food and drinks, eaten on my daughter's coloring table, surrounded by her toys. She was supposed to be napping, but ended up coming down after about an hour to crash our party. Such is life with kids. Here's a much better pic:

Taylor (Food Faith Fitness) uses a Blendtec to make this dip, but I just used my blender. While it probably didn't work quite as well as a Blendtec, it got the job done. First world problems, right? 

How was your weekend? Enjoyed any good eats lately?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Fitness Friday

Hello and happy Friday! I'm nearing the end of peak training, and it seems like there is a light at the end of the tunnel! It's getting closer!

This week was relatively "easy".

Sunday - 12 miles at easy pace, average of 9:43. The weather was gorgeous - 40 degrees, but sunny enough to warm me up so much that I had to take my lightweight jacket off mid-run. It's finally starting to feel like fall! Some trees are starting to turn color too, and there's some leaves on the trail too.

Monday - 7 miles on the bike, but they were pretty slow. My average speed was 12.3mph. At one point, a few miles in, I thought "oh yea, I have gears that could make this hill a little easier." Duh. That's what happens when you work out at 5am sometimes. Not all pistons are firing...

Tuesday - Tempo Intervals - 3 x 2.5 miles with 3 min rest periods. This is the longest workout in my training cycle (versus long runs, not to be confused), and I'm so glad to have it behind me! Also, totally loving the new Garmin watch. With the workout plugged in, I didn't have to worry about laps and checking my watch every few minutes. Very cool. I walked the rest periods and did a little backtracking so that I didn't run out of road for this route. Overall, really good run. 1 mile warm up: 9:38, 1st 2.5 mi: 8:38, 2nd 2.5 mi 8:41, 3rd 2.5 mi 8:38, 1 mile cool down: 9:49. 

Wednesday - Normally a rest and/or cross training day, but I had to switch things up this week. So just an easy 3 miles. Yay for only 3 miles!! There is a light at the end of this peak-training tunnel. My body is TIRED, and even this 3 miles felt like hard work. 

Thursday - My company had planned on participating in the National Run@Work day sponsored by the Road Runners Club of America, (technically last week but rain delayed to this week). Unfortunately, no one else wanted to go. Since I had planned on running that evening no matter what, I decided to take my new treadmill for a test spin. It's pretty nice! Even better is that my new Garmin watch clocked my miles in a little faster than the treadmill said I was going, I guess based on the historical data from my cadence (yep, fancy), so I was able to still get split pace data while running inside. Cool!

It's ok, you can be jealous.
Friday - This morning was rough. I had no idea what day it was when my alarm went off, and I stood next to my dresser with my pants half on for a good 30 seconds trying to convince myself to get out on my bike. A good dose of healthy guilt kicked in, and I got a workout in. 7 miles on the bike, in foggy/misty weather. I know I'm not going to be able to ride outside for much longer, so better get it in now!

This weekend is my last "big" training weekend before taper. I have a 7 mile steady pace run for Sat, and 16 miles on Sunday with a "fast finish". The weather looks like it's supposed to hold out, so hopefully this is a successful end to my peak training!

How's your training going? Do you have treadmill envy?

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Wednesday Word: Comparison

I'm linking up with Deb Runs again this week for her Wednesday Word link-up. This week we're talking about Comparison. 

Photo Credit

This is the first thought that came into my head when I read the word. Immediately. 

Mainly, because it's so true. 

It's so easy to look at what others have and start to become envious. Dare I say...jealous. Especially when everyone and my mom has a Facebook account, and you know 90% (or some other statistically correct number that I didn't make up) of people are only posting the good stuff. 

So it's easy to start feeling down on yourself when you come home with a filthy kid that needs a bath, laundry to do right away, step in cat puke in the meanwhile, and a host of other things go wrong in your evening. (For real: my Monday night) Then you see Sally Smith and John Jones living it up on a beach somewhere, and you think "whhhhhyyyyy me?"

But you know what? My life is pretty great already. I'm betting yours is too.

When I first started really getting into running, the comparison bug started rearing it's little head. I'm talking like after my first 5k, while training for my first half marathon. Like when I realized that pace = finishing time, and sometimes those finishing times are considered "good" depending on your age and experience. 

Then I joined a running group, and a Ragnar team, and this comparison bone started to get even bigger. Honestly? It took me awhile to knock it off. 

I still have to remind myself that everyone runs at different paces, and that everyone is capable of different things. Yes, I'm training for a full marathon. No, I do not need to do an ultra marathon to be just as cool as so and so. And just because I'm training for a full does not mean that I'm better than someone else. That I can enjoy my own accomplishments and only compete with myself. Because really...

Don't you think?

What comes to mind when you think of the word "Comparison"? Link up and tell us about it!

Deb Runs

Monday, September 21, 2015

Weekend Review: Picnics and Presents

This weekend was our annual company picnic. It used to be called the annual "summer" picnic, but we kept pushing the date back farther into September to accommodate for everyone's schedule (no one in northern MN likes to give up a summer weekend!), so now it's just the picnic.

Although the weather was beautiful - not a cloud in the sky - it definitely was not summer weather. Everyone showed up in jackets and sweatshirts, and I don't think it hit 70 until very late in the day.

This is the second year that I've been on the picnic planning committee, so I get to show up early and go home late.

Teamwork makes the dream work....

We always have the picnic at a nearby town hall that has a nice big kitchen for our caterers, a huge playground for the kids, and a large backyard for the bouncy house. Because, really, it's all about the bouncy house. We also host a bean bag tournament (sometimes also called cornhole?), and the winning team gets $100. Not too shabby!

This year we also did site tours, because our mine is really coming along. It's been under construction for awhile, but this year we have almost completed buildings and equipment. Like a real mine! We got to stop and take pictures with some of our newly acquired mine trucks.

I'm the ant-like figure in blue, holding the speck-like figure in pink.

Just in case you can't tell, they are huge. The tire is twice as tall as me. Pretty impressive.

My sister-in-law also works for my company, so we did a group photo.

The company also does giveaways, like gift cards, an extra day of PTO, and "big" prizes like tickets to sporting events. This year, I won tickets to a U of Minnesota - Duluth (UMD) hockey game! I never win anything, so I was pretty stoked!

It turned out to be a pretty great picnic, and I think everyone had fun. That's the most important part.

Speaking of presents...(subtle, right?)

My birthday is in less than 1 month! This year, we will be spending my entire birthday in the car, driving to Detroit. Nothing like forced bonding via a 12 hour road trip, right? 

Since we're taking this trip, kind of for my birthday (and kind of for the little marathon I'm running 2 days later), I told Travis no presents.

But then my Garmin watch started to malfunction, and made a liar out of me. I mean, I don't need a GPS watch, but it sure makes a lot of running easier. So I bought myself an early birthday present.

Forerunner 220! This watch is so sweet. It wirelessly uploads my saved runs to my phone, and I can also program workouts to it. So no more staring at my watch for 30 second intervals or whatever. I just plug the info into the website, send it to my phone, and it beeps at me for intervals, rest periods, etc. So awesome! I think the best part so far is that it it finds GPS satellites so fast. Like, I step out the door and it's already found it. My old watch would take up to 5 minutes to find a satellite. There I'd be, pacing in front of my watch staring at the screen, waiting. 

In my defense, I have a new friend from running camp that works at Garmin and helped me get a pretty sweet discount. So, it's not all that bad. Really....

I've used it twice now, and I'm definitely in love.

So besides some more running, football (Go Vikes!), and some housework, that about wraps up our weekend.

How was your weekend? Does your company host annual picnics or other parties? 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Fitness Friday

Another peak weak in training, and this girl is dog tired. I don't think there's enough coffee today to save me. Send an IV, stat!

Saturday - 6 miles, steady pace work out. Since my training program believes that running over 3 hours during training starts to negate your fitness gains, most of the runners (including myself) only see 16-18 miles as their longest long run in their training cycle. The way that they replicate the accumulated fatigue of a 20+ miler is to have a steady run the day before. So for me, it was 1 mile warm up, 4 miles at 8:40-8:50 pace, 1 mile cool down.

My watch has been losing satellite and being all kinds of goofy lately, so I ended up having to use the Mapmyrun (MMR) app on my phone at mile 2 for the rest of the run. Since I wasn't going to stare at my phone the entire time, I basically had to run this by feel which meant that my pace was kind of all over the place. So those steady miles were 8:31, 8:40, 8:50, and 8:44. But I got it done and took care of business on the fly.

Sunday - This run was originally planned to be 16 miles, with marathon surges: 6 x 90 sec @ 8:10 pace, 5 min rest at 8:55 in between starting at mile 9.

From the start, this run was a comedy of errors. Tummy trouble almost immediately that called for pit stops at both mile 5 and 7, then my fuel belt kept popping off mid stride. I finally got settled in and started the surges at mile 9, successfully completing 5 of them roughly at 8:00 min average with the rest periods being around 8:45-8:55, when my Garmin flashed "lap database error". Great. It stopped tracking me, reverted back to December 13th, and said that I had run 21 miles. So I took a break to regroup a little and figure out what I should do. I turned on my MMR app again, but I wasn't sure how far I'd gone at that point since I was so wrapped up in the timing of the surges. I figured I had about 7 miles to go, so I used my watch to time my last surge and ran that by feel before settling back into an easy pace. I got my watch to pick up satellite again with 5 miles to go, so I figured I'd at least be able to see my pace in real time.

When I got home, I plugged my route into the map feature on MMR. It said that I had actually run about 19.25 miles. Whoops. Apparently I was a little farther along then I originally thought when I started having my tech problems. I probably could have figured out how far I'd gone a I was just running an out & back course, but math on the fly is not my strong suit. Ah well, I ended right around 3 hours - I think. I also wasn't sure exactly what time I started running, but I figured it was around 6:25am and I ran till 9:30am. Good enough.

Monday - A very slow, easy 5.5 miles on the bike averaging 12.5mph. I was a little sore this morning, but actually not as much as I thought I'd be. Hooray for ice baths, foam rolling, stretching and plenty of couch time. But I am definitely glad to not be running today.

Tuesday - 9 mile cutdown: 2 mile warm up, then 6 miles at 9:15, 9:05, 8:55, 8:45, 8:35, 8:25, 1 mile cool down. I was tired from the get-go with this run, and really was not sure that I'd be able to hit the paces. Somehow I managed to muscle through it, but it definitely left me drained. Paces were: 9:39, 9:29, 9:12, 9:02, 8:53, 8:41, 8:38, 8:26, 10:13. I made sure I went to bed early enough the night before to get in 8 hours (bed by 7:20pm, asleep by 8:00pm, up at 4:15am), but I know the rest of the day will be a caffeine ride on the struggle bus. Running in the evening is just not fun or easy for me though, so it is what it is.

Wednesday - Yoga! I am starting to feel all kinds of stiff and sore with the increase mileage, so I thought my Yoga for Runners DVD would really help. It did, but it always makes my legs feel really heavy afterwards.

Thursday  - 8 miles easy at 9:43 average pace. This was hot and humid, and although I started off too fast, the humidity put me in check pretty easy. My hamstrings were bugging me Tues & Wed, but this morning it was my quads that were barking at me. What gives?

Friday - Another 8 miles easy, average around 9:38 pace. The most exciting thing about this run was that it was a brisk 47 degrees. Love! My quads are feeling a little better, thanks to a lot of stretching during the day. However, our power was out for 4 hours last night, which lead to a crappy night of sleep for me. Also, we went out to dinner last night and I probably (definitely) overindulged, which made for an unhappy tummy this morning. Not the greatest run, but it's done. Now I need to find a quiet place to nap.

Also, a quick note on marathon training and eating. A lot of people said that I would be hungry all the time. I'm not, but I know I should be eating. Which leads to overeating (because I'm not hungry to begin with). I'm a little sick of this cycle, but I don't really know what to do about it. The struggle is real! Also, I've gained 6-8 pounds, which I am really unhappy about.

How's your training going? Are you hungry all the time from running? 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wednesday Words - Cautious

This week's word from Deb Runs Wednesday Word Link-up is Cautious.

Deb Runs

I think this can be interpreted in a lot of different ways, but for me, runner safety was the first thing that popped into my head.

Mainly because a woman was grabbed early in the morning 2 weeks ago in my hometown. She is ok, but obviously this is something to be cautious about when running.

Being aware of your surroundings, being cautious of who's around you when you are running, especially for women, is so very important.

I always run with runner's mace in my pack, but lately I've been wearing it on my wrist like it's designed for.

It comes in black too, but I fancy the pink. :o)

I always wear a headlamp when running in the dark (inevitable for an early morning runner), and I wear a safety singlet. That way I can see and be seen.

If I see a parked car somewhere that I'm not used to seeing it, I'll take a wide berth around the car. Same goes for seeing someone on the street when there's usually no one. 

Often times, we women are more worried about offending the stranger: "Oh, they'll think that I think they're an ax murderer if I switch to the other side of the road. I don't want to offend them!" Who cares? It's 5am and you'll likely never see the person again. Listen to that inner voice of yours, and switch to the other side of the road! 

Also, change up your route occasionally. During the winter, when it's dark in the morning, I run through our hospital parking lot, rather than around it on the roads. Mainly because there is a dark clump of trees and a culvert where I'm convinced Stephen King's "IT" lives during the winter, but also because the parking lot is well lit.

It's also wise to be cautious of your physical surroundings. What's the road like, or the sidewalk? There are many places where I choose to run in the road because the sidewalk is too uneven. Those bumps may be easy to see in the daylight, but not so much when it's dark out! I really don't want to twist an ankle with a month to go before my big race.

How would you interpret the word "cautious"? What are some safety pre-cautions that you take while running or in your every day life?

Link up with us and chat about it!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

It's been awhile since I've reviewed a book here on my blog, but don't let that fool you. I'm still reading like crazy. I've read 30 books so far, have one I'm in the middle of and started an audiobook over the weekend. What can I say? Reading trumps most things.

Recently, my book club read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr.

A brief snippet from Goodreads: "...about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II."

This book has been on the New York Times Bestseller list, won the Pulitzer Prize, and the Andrew Carnegie Award for Excellence in Fiction. 

So...a good book, yes? We were all very intrigued and ready to read and discuss it.

While I did really enjoy the short chapters in this book, which made it easy to read while traveling, at work, before bed, etc., each chapter flip-flopped between the two characters, Marie-Laure and Werner. At the beginning, it was hard to get into because I felt like I wasn't getting enough of each story to really keep me engaged. Occasionally, there were chapters from a 3rd narrator as well - von Rumpel, a Nazi officer in search of the precious Sea of Flames diamond. 

Wait, you didn't know that this book centered around a diamond? Apparently, it kind of does. Marie-Laure and her father have to flee Paris with 1 of 4 copies of the Sea of Flames Diamond (or maybe the original?), previously held at the Museum of Natural History where her father was a locksmith. They go to Saint-Malo, where her hermit great-uncle lives. 

Werner grows up in a mining town, where he stumbles upon some radio parts at the town dump and eventually hones his craft of building and repairing radios. He is sent to one of the Nazi youth academies and gets to work on a pet project of building a radio transceiver. He is eventually thrust into the army at age 16, the school saying that he lied about his age, so that he could help a small outfit find rebel resistors who broadcast the whereabouts of the Nazi Army and other secrets over the radio. This takes him all across Europe from Russia to Germany.

Eventually, his travels bring him to Saint-Malo, where they are receiving transmissions from a hidden radio broadcast - which just so happens to be Marie-Laure's uncle. 

Without giving too much away, this is obviously where their stories come together. However, it's not until late in the book. The feeling that I had, as well as the other members of my book club, was that the first half of this story was long, drawn out, and frankly - not very interesting. 

Give it 250 pages, I swear you'll get interested. 

I disliked the ending, but for my own reasons and ones I will spare you. Overall, I rated this a 3.5 star on my own scale (since Goodreads only does 3 or 4), because although I liked the story once it was over, it took so long for me to actually be interested and like where things were headed. 

So, maybe I just don't have good taste. What do I know? A lot of my friends really loved Doerr's novel. 

Have you read All the Light We Cannot See? Is there another book you disliked that everyone else seemed to love?

Friday, September 11, 2015

Fitness Friday

Saturday -  Rest day. Which included laundry, cleaning, grocery shopping, and pulling out all my fall decorations. So much for "rest".

Sunday - 12 miles easy. I was 99% certain that this was going to be on the treadmill, but I lucked out. I still had to run in the rain a little bit, but after 2ish miles the rain stopped. Unfortunately, we received so much rain the previous day and night that there was water in our basement. So that may have been a motivating factor to get me out the door. Yes, I did leave Travis to deal with the mess, but it really is a one-man job. The day was super humid, but overall it wasn't a bad run. I ran into a runner friend around mile 7 so we stopped to chat for a couple of minutes. By the time I got home, I was feeling pretty good. Average pace: 9:48.

Monday - Rest day. I really wanted to ride our bikes to the park for a picnic, but Trav's back wasn't feeling great (probably from all the mopping), so we drove there and had a picnic instead. Eh, sometimes a break from exercise is ok.

Tuesday - Alternating tempo run: 1 mile warm up, 6 miles alternating pace (8:40, 8:15, 8:40, 8:15, 8:40, 8:15), 1 mile cool down. I got up really early to get this run in, but my body had different ideas and it took awhile to get out of the house. Fortunately, I got this run in, showered, and was still at work by 7:30. That's pretty speedy! I was a little intimidated by this run, mainly for holding the 8:15 pace, but I actually did pretty well. Even with some inclines. Paces were: 9:24, 8:36, 8:13, 8:39, 8:17, 8:34, 8:16, 10:05.

Wednesday - A nice, easy 3 miles. Only 3 miles! It was like I blinked and the run was over. Even better - the temp was only 45 degrees. So nice! I did hear a report that a woman was attacked yesterday morning while out running, right after she split up with a friend. She's ok, and while she did report it to the police, they don't have any leads on the guy. So I made sure to run with my runner's mace actually on my wrist, where it's supposed to be, rather than in my fuel belt pocket. It pisses me off that I even have to think about this, but that's the world we live in I guess.

Thursday - Supposed to cross train on the bike today, but I was up too late and had too much fun at book club. Ah well, rest is good too!

Friday - Easy 3 miles. It was downright chilly this morning, but I'm not complaining! I am going to complain about my Garmin losing satellite and throwing off my pace and time. When I got home and uploaded the data into my computer, the map said that I started about 5 miles away from my house in the middle of no where. Uhm, yea Garmin...get it together. Thankfully it was just an easy run on a familiar route so no harm, no foul.

This weekend is a peak running weekend in my training. I have scheduled a steady state run of 6 miles tomorrow, and then 16-18 miles on Sunday with marathon surges. That's when you do 90 sec at 5k pace, rest at marathon pace for 5 min, repeat, somewhere around the middle to tail end of your run. Mile 9 for me, specifically. The weather is supposed to be really nice, so I'm looking forward to it all. Hopefully I survive!

How's your training going? How do you stay safe while running?

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wednesday Word: Carefree?

This week's word from Deb Runs is Carefree.

Deb Runs

To be honest, there is not a bone in my body that knows how to be carefree. Not one.

I am your typical Type A personality. I'm a planner. A doer. A list maker.

I know what I'm doing in 1 hour, in a day, and next month. I plan out meals, cleaning, laundry days, training, run routes, even rest days!

So being carefree is a bit hard for me. Just relaxing and letting the day slip away...that almost gives me hives.

But then there are days when I say to Travis "hey, let's just go hang out on the porch." Let's do nothing. Let's have some snacks, some adult drinks, and maybe just sit there.

Snacks are always included.

I try not to think about the cleaning that needs to be done, the laundry, the strength training I still need to fit in that day, and just relax. 

Admittedly, these days are few and far between. They are probably going to be even fewer and even farther now that Emily has officially started preschool. (Yikes!)

But there will still be days when we can let it all go and just hang out. Forget the "schedule" and allow for some unscheduled fun...

Maybe I should check my calendar and pencil that in...

What does Carefree mean to you? Link up and tell us about it!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Labor Day Weekend Recap

Labor Day....


So yea, Labor Day...I got nothing.

Is it ok to admit that we didn't do anything special for Labor Day? That's kind of the point, right? Enjoy an extra day off work, which our forefathers fought so hard for when they unionized? Or something like that? Maybe I should do a little research before spouting off about something on my blog.

But this is my blog, and I'll do what I want.

So yea, Labor Day!

We really had an uneventful weekend, which I think was very much needed. Emily didn't get out of pajamas until Monday. (Bad parenting alert!) In my defense, they were different pajamas though. We also spent roughly $5 in Redbox movies this weekend.

Saturday I pulled out all of my fall decorations, despite the warm temperatures. #idontcareilovefallanyway

We also had some torrential downpours throughout the weekend, which led to a bit of water in our basement. Thankfully, we didn't notice the water until I was literally steps away from walking out the door for my long run on Sunday. "Sorry hubby, see ya later!" Mopping up the water in our tight basement really is a one man job. Really.

The weather finally cleared up on Monday, and the temps finally broke. Highs in the 70's? Hallelujah!

You can't see the wine glasses, but I swear they're there. Filled with lemonade though. 

We decided to take advantage of the weather and head to the park for a picnic. I have to laugh, because there were lots of other families there with the same idea. Except I'm the only one with an actual picnic basket. And plates. And napkins (paper ones). And mini plastic wine glasses for our lemonade, and dipping oil for our bread. What can I say? Sometimes, I'm fancy. Also, the basket came with the wine glasses, so it would be dumb to take them out and not use them. That is what they're for! #donthate

Then we all came home for naps, and I made refrigerator pickles because no one in my house really likes cucumbers. Our CSA has been giving us cucumbers like they're going out of style, which is a problem for a house that does not like them. Travis doesn't like pickles either, but Emily and I do.

Mmm, pickles

These were ridiculously easy, but don't mix them up in a white plastic bowl. Unless you're ok with your white bowl turning yellow from the mustard seed. I think I'm going to have to bleach that sucker.

Then I was in bed by 7:30 again, due to a 4:30am wake up call for my 8 mile workout Tuesday morning.

Whoopie! We're so exciting! But honestly? It was a great weekend doing nothing but enjoying my family.

How was your long weekend?

Friday, September 4, 2015

Fitness Friday x 2

Since I kind of ditched the internet for awhile while I was at camp. I'll share a brief version of 2 of my training weeks!

Saturday - I headed out to a group run for this 14 mile long run on Saturday, since I knew our weather would be pretty unpleasant on Sunday. High winds made coming home pretty rough, but I got through it.

Sunday - Just rest and recovery.

Monday - 3 easy miles on the treadmill. Again, it was windy and just cruddy outside. But day one of vacation with Emily!

Tuesday - Tempo Intervals: 1 mile warm up, 2 x 2.5 mi at 8:20-8:30 pace with a 4 min rest, 1 mile cool down. I felt like this was going to be easy, but it was definitely not! Maybe because of the accumulated fatigue, or the humidity, or a combination of it all. But this run was tough. I managed to hit the paces though at 9:58, 8:22, 8:24, 8:32 (rest) 8:26, 8:29, 8:24, 10:19.

Wednesday - rest and packing!

Thursday - My first day at Zap! We arrived in a later group, so we headed straight to the park for a run. I managed just under 4 miles at an easy pace, usually around 9:45 average.

Friday - Steady state run at the park. I ran this with one of the other campers who definitely runs much faster than I do, but he was taking it easy as he is in taper mode for his upcoming marathon. So we did 1 easy loop around the lake, then a steady 3 at 8:45ish, followed by a cool-down mile. You wouldn't think it, but running on even a hard packed trail is much more taxing than running on roads. It makes for some strong legs!

Saturday - the hardest long run of my life. I recapped it more in my camp post. It was tough, but I got it done. Hooray!

Sunday - The morning of our last day at camp we were supposed to do a "prediction" run around the camp. There is a relatively flat trail right around the grounds, but it's only about 1/2 a mile long. So the prediction run was supposed to be 3 loops, and you guessed your finishing time. I was so tired though, and really needed the rest, so I opted out of this with a few other campers.

Monday - still resting, and trying to get back to the swing of things in real life!

Tuesday - Basic tempo run, except it was 8 miles long. 8 miles! On a week day! Holy crap folks, we have hit peak marathon training. The rest of my mid-week workouts are 8-9 miles, with easy runs varying between 3 miles on low weeks and 7-8 miles on high weeks. Yikes.

Anyway, this run was pretty good. I started off thinking there was no way I'd hit the paces (8:20-8:30) for 6 miles, but I eased into it and was able to keep pace relatively well. It was only 61 degrees, but 100% humidity so that made things tough. But talk about feeling like a rock star when this was over! Paces were: 9:58, 8:30, 8:22, 8:33, 8:31, 8:30, 8:24, 9:56.

Wednesday - I absolutely, 100% did not want to get out of bed this morning for my bike ride. I even reset my alarm for an hour later, and rolled over to go back to sleep. About 30 seconds later, I talked myself out of bed. Cross training is especially important in this month, and I knew it would be good low-impact activity for my hip which was aching a bit after Tuesday's workout. So off I went for a slow, 7 mile ride, averaging 13.4 mph. Of course, now, I'm glad I did it. I do wish I could have a nap today though. Early bedtime for me tonight!

Thursday - Easy 7 miles. I was up super early again for this run so that I could get it done before heading into work. It was dark, of course, but also very foggy. I've started listening to the Serial podcast on my runs, which lent a special sort of creepy factor to this run. I definitely felt like the boogey man was out this morning. Maybe that's why my paces were a bit fast for an "easy" run. I averaged 9:32 for this one. "Easy" pace is 9:35-10:20. Whoops!

Friday - Another easy 7 miles on the schedule, and I was able to slow it down a bit more for this one. Probably because of the accumulated fatigue in my legs. 22 miles already, and I haven't even done my long run yet! Average pace of 9:44.

So marathon training is in full swing and ramping up. I think my top week peaks at 36 or 40 miles. Which actually is on the low side for traditional marathon training, but it seems a lot to me! Also, being tired all the time is starting to become normal.  I actually went to bed at 7:30 on Thursday night. No lie. I'm not as hungry as I thought I'd be yet, but I certainly am not turning down food. This girl loves to eat.

How's your training going? Do you feel like a zombie when training for distance races?

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Wednesday Words: Accountability

I'm linking up again with Deb from Deb Runs for Wednesday Words. This week's word is Accountability. 

Deb Runs

Sometimes I associate accountability with guilt. I've always said that I would make a good Catholic because I hate feeling guilty, which leads me to living a pretty true-to-my-word lifestyle. But accountability doesn't need to be a bad thing.

In running, just having a training plan keeps me accountable. I used to post a lot of my running stuff on Facebook for a kind of general accountability. No one was ever going to harp on me if I missed a run, but knowing it was out there in a public space led me to feeling like I had to run, no matter what.

Since joining RunnersConnect, I post less on Facebook because I have a new forum to do so. The benefit being that RC has a bunch of like-minded runners, so I'm not annoying the crap out of everyone. Actually, it's kind of the whole point of RC. Also, having a set plan every week, right there in my face (and printed out and posted on my fridge) means I can't ignore the work I have to do.

I also like to sign up for races to ensure that I'm going to continue to run and do the work. Like yesterday, I registered for the Fargo Marathon on May 21st. Before I've even run my first marathon. Yes, I'm a little crazy. But I think, no - I know, that this will keep my running through the winter.

But what about in every day life?

This little girl.

She's basically my everything. I can't tell her we're going to have ice cream by the lake and back out. Even if it is windy and 55 degrees.

Disappointment is a part of life, but there's no reason why I need to disappoint my daughter by not keeping my word. So even if I'm feeling horrible because I ate something I'm allergic to at lunch, we're still going to the museum like I promised her.

Because my family is my number one priority, and if I can't be accountable and dependable for them, then what else matters?

What or who keeps you accountable? Link up and tell us all about it!