Friday, May 29, 2015

Fitness Friday

Man this week just flew by! I love short work weeks...bring on the weekend!

Sunday - 13 miles, easy pace. This was the best run! I ran with a couple of guys from my running group, on a new-to-us stretch of the bike trail. There was one killer hill, but overall it was a nice route. Good conversation on the way out, and then I turned back before them so I had a little "alone" time with my thoughts. I also tried out PowerGels for the first time. Pretty sweet, but not so bad. One of the guys said "just think of it as the filling in a jelly donut", and honestly - that really helped! They sat well with my stomach, so I think this might be a good alternative to the chews I used to eat pre-braces. Average pace: 9:43.

Monday - no fitness was to be had on Monday. Well, not true. I did hip strength and lower leg strength exercises. But besides that? Nada.

Tuesday - 5 mile cutdown run. 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 8:55, 8:45, 8:35, 1 mile cool down. For some reason, I had trouble hitting the paces in those first two cutdown miles. I was way too fast, then slowed down too much, then had to catch up. It wasn't until that 8:35 mile that I finally leveled out and ran at a consistent pace. Overall though, it was a good run. Paces: 9:50, 8:52, 8:45, 8:34, 9:16.

Wednesday - I was totally going to get up and do yoga on Wednesday morning, but I went to see Pitch Perfect 2 on Tuesday night, and even though I wasn't out late I did have trouble falling asleep. Too hyped up from being out past 8:30pm? I don't know. So I opted for an extra hour of sleep. I did get in about 15 minutes of yoga in the evening, along with my core strength exercises.

Thursday - 4 easy miles. Nothing special about this run. The miles were easy, the weather was beautiful. Average pace: 9:40.

Friday - 5 easy miles. It was supposed to rain this morning, but the roads were dry when I left the house. I figured I'd just deal with it if I got rained on. But apparently my subconscious was worried about getting wet, because my first 2 miles were too fast. Once I told myself to stop being silly, 10 or 20 extra seconds was not actually going to get me home that much faster, I was able to slow down back to my easy range. Paces: 9:28, 9:32, 9:36, 9:48, 9:38

Saturday - tomorrow I plan on doing the circuit training routine, then I'm off to have lunch with a good, old friend. Not that she's old, just I've known her for a few years. Although she is quite a bit older than me. Uhm...I'm really not calling anyone old here. Moving on!

How's your training going? Do you use gels when you run?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Recap

Hello! Isn't it nice when your week starts on Tuesday? That pesky Monday is already done and over with, and Friday is that much closer!

We had a pretty laid back Memorial Day weekend. No parties or picnics for us this year. It rained all day on Monday anyway, so that would have put a damper on a BBQ anyway!

Friday night & Saturday we did have some pretty beautiful weather though. We were able to have our first bonfire of the summer on Friday night, thanks to all the rain we had previously. We were on a burn restriction for awhile, but a week's worth of rain will change that in a hurry!

Emily enjoyed a s'more (or two), and roasted her own marshmallows. That made mama a little anxious, but she did a good job with only a little help from me.

Saturday we spent almost the entire day outside. I got some flowers to plant in our planters on the front porch - white columbine and pink inpatients. I always misjudge how many flowers I will need, and buy too many. So then I had enough inpatients to do a hanging planter, and two small pots for the back yard. I also bought some fresh basil, since our grocery store never seems to have any. 

Travis built a raised bed, and planted green onions and carrots there. He also put in some sugar snap peas and pumpkins in our old garden. He has plans to put some asparagus too, but I've heard that those take a few years for a good crop. But they they come back for something like 20-30 years. Crazy! The next owners of our house will thank us. 

We also found a robin's nest in one of our trees, with a pretty little egg in it! So there had been a lot of excitement about that. "Where's the mama bird?" Or if she's at the nest, "where's the daddy bird?" I hope we are able to see the baby bird when it's born, and that we don't freak the mom out too much. We're trying to steer clear as much as possible. 

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to meet a couple of guys from our running group. We ran a new-to-us section of the Mesabi Trail. I only planned on 13 miles, while they did 14. Since it was an out and back route, I ran the 2nd half by myself. Those miles felt a lot longer than the 1st half! I did stop to snap this pic of the cool bridge over the highway.

That evening, we made "beer can burgers". Or basically, a burger patty made into a cup using the form of a can or jar, then wrapped in bacon, filled with cheese, sauteed veggies, and topped with cheese again. We filled ours with green pepper, mushroom, and onion. Very good, but next time I wouldn't saute the veggies, I'd just let them cook in the burger. 

Figuring out how to eat this with braces was pretty comical. But I managed!
Monday was rainy and gross, pretty much all day. We had a lazy day filled with movies and crafts. I had to run to Walmart, and I knew we were all going bonkers out of boredom, so I picked up some construction paper, pipe cleaner, glue, etc. 


Emily's butterfly magnet on the fridge.

Emily made a couple of other things as well, mostly all butterfly related. Travis got into it and made a couple of magnets, too. He's just a big kid at heart.

We wrapped up our weekend with Sons of Anarchy and some popcorn. We just started watching SoA on Netflix. Someone tell me, does the acting get better as the seasons progress? Right now, we both laugh a little at the characters and the way they over-sell their lines.

How was your weekend? Filled with Memorial Day Activities or laid back like ours?

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fitness Friday

Saturday - Since I knew we would be down in the Cities, and no running was going to happen on Sunday, I opted to do my long run before we left. Last week was a cutdown week for me, so only 6 miles were scheduled, all at an easy pace. The best thing was that I got to listen to a podcast with Doug Kurtis, who (unknowingly to me) was the race director of the Detroit Freepress Marathon for 7 years. He's the very reason why the race goes over the Ambassador Bridge! It was a really great interview, and made the miles fly by.

Sunday - rest, rest rest.

Monday - I had the best of intentions to wake up for yoga this morning. I set my alarm, but apparently didn't actually turn it on. So I woke up "late" at 5:30. Skipped yoga, but I did get in some hip and lower leg strengthening in the evening.

Tuesday - Tempo run: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 8:40-8:50 pace, 1 mile cool down. I was so not happy when I started this run in the wind and snow showers. Maybe it was more like freezing rain, but it was pelting me in the face, getting in my eyes...ugh! The precipitation stopped after about the first mile. My paces were 9:18, 8:45, 8:45, 8:41, 9:30. I like this workout because you get to stretch your legs a little and really practice consistency. Something I definitely struggle with! In the evening I did the RC leg circuit workout, which has lots of lateral lunges, mountain climbers, regular lunges, etc. Lateral lunges seem easy at the time, but they make my inner thighs and glutes really work!

Wednesday - Circuit training instead of yoga. I am just not feeling yoga lately. I'm not sure if it's just not doing it for me or what. But after getting so sore last week, I'm hesitant to jump back into it. So circuit training instead. This is a fun workout that gets your heart rate up and keeps it there.

Thursday - Easy 3 miles, average pace 9:39. A truly beautiful morning. Cool, gentle breeze as the sun came up. I wish every run could be like this! (I'm looking at you, Tuesday run!). My legs felt a bit heavy and stiff from all the circuit training, but they felt better by about mile 2. Also, I listened to a podcast with Susan Russell, who ran the Himalayan 100 Mile Stage Race with a colostomy bag. about inspiring!

Friday - Another easy 3 miles. 9:38 pace. I ran an out & back course from my house, so 1.5 miles then turn around and come home. It was like I blinked and it was over! Although some days, that's ok.

I've got a 13 mile run planned for this weekend, hopefully with some of my running group members. Wish me luck! I'm so glad we have Monday off too, I might need a little extra R&R.

How's your training going? Do you have big plans for Memorial Day? 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Favorite things: Running Edition

I saw this post over on The Turkey Runner, so I'm keeping it going!

1. Location: Trail, Road, or Indoors? Roads, thankyouverymuch. The treadmill is ok when the weather is horrible and I have no other option. I am so not a fan of trail racing though. Here's a pic of my one and only trail race, and I really think my face says it all. I was trying to be positive, but it was horrible. Rainy, humid, trail was wet, way hillier than I thought it would thank you.

I can't believe I'm actually sharing this with you.

2. Time of Day: Morning, Noon, or Evening? Morning. Noon is kind of difficult with work on the weekdays. Most evenings, I just want to relax. I love the quiet in the mornings, that I'm usually the only person out there, and that I start my day off right.

3. Fuel: Before, During, or After? For me, this depends on the distance. If it's a short run, then I'll just eat something when I get home. If it's a long run of 7 miles or more, I make sure I eat a little something before I hit the road. For long runs, I also eat something during, and of course refuel after. Always refuel after! Usually it's a banana and nut butter. I used to eat chews during my long runs, but had to stop after I got braces. So I started eating Fig Newton cookies, but I think I'm going to try out gels because the cookies can get a little bulky.

Post-run recovery snack. Coffee just because.

4: Accessories: Music, Watch, More? All of the above? On a typical run, I carry my phone, MP3 player, water bottles, and runner's mace. And fuel if it's a long run. If it's dark, I'm also wearing my headlamp and safety Xinglet. It's a good thing I have my fuel belt...that's a lot of crap.

Laughing at myself prior to a run in single digit temps.

5. Reward: Food, Wine, or...? Both! I love to eat, and I love to eat well. I love to drink wine, too. Naps are typically a reward after a long run if I can squeeze one in. Also: chocolate. All the chocolate.

6. Type of Run: Long, Easy, Tempo, Hills? I really like cut down runs, where you drop your pace by 10 seconds each successive mile. I enjoy hill workouts after they are done, because I know they're good for me. Tempo runs build confidence in my ability to sustain a pace. Long runs, for me, are purely "hey, look what I just did. I am pretty awesome!". Easy runs are great for clearing my head, getting a workout in, but not really working that hard. So...I like them all!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend Recap - Birthday Weekend Extravaganza

Saturday was Trav's 31st birthday. Amazing! I still remember celebrating his 21st birthday at the Chili's in Gainesville...oh to be young again!

I decided to surprise him with a weekend in the Twin Cities, including a Twins baseball game and dinner out at a nice restaurant. Thanks to my great in-laws, Emily got to stay with them so it was an adult-only weekend.

We managed to get down to Minneapolis in record time, getting to our hotel at 12:15. We had planned on leaving our car there and taking an Uber car to the game. Have you used Uber before? It is pretty slick - I am a fan!

Everything went seamlessly with Uber, and the driver dropped us off right by the front gate. Unfortunately, Travis realized that he left our car keys in the Uber car just as we were about to walk into Target Field. Thankfully I was able to get the driver's cell phone number through the Uber app in about one minute (seriously, they have a great response time), and the guy came back with our keys. Hooray! That was our only bump along the way. Everything else was great!

Get ready for a picture overload!

We had pretty decent seats - not quite nosebleed, but not box seats either. Of course we had to grab some food before we got to our seats. I had a pork belly bacon sandwich with jalapeno jelly and vinegar slaw. Uhm, OMG was this good! Travis had a really great Cuban sandwich. I think I would get the Cuban if we ever go back.

The game was pretty exciting with lots of hits and plays. In the end, Twins won 6-4!

We decided to walk to the restaurant we were going to for dinner since the clouds cleared out, and we had tons of time. We walked across the Mississippi River into an area of the city known as "dinkytown". Ha! It's close to the U of MN, so lots of students, bars, and funky restaurants.

We ate at a place that came highly recommended by a cousin, called the Red Stag Supper Club. Even though we were an hour early for our reservation, they let us sit anyway. So we ordered some appetizers and some adult beverages. We had a delicious cheese plate, and their signature Truffled Kettle Corn. Kettle corn drizzled in truffle oil - hello yum. No pic of that because it just looks like regular popcorn.

Bleu cheese, gouda, and goat cheese with candied walnuts, apples, and cherries. 

Their menu is small, but pretty diverse. I had a really hard time deciding! Travis got the hanger steak, while I opted for the green garlic risotto with a side of grilled baby carrots. The risotto was delicious, but those carrots were to die for! Both Trav and I agreed that they were the best thing we ate there. Weird but true.

Afterwards, we stopped at a little gallery that was having a small show. One of the artists was there, and we started talking after I read his bio. I was amazed to find out that he's actually colorblind! He explained it as being able to see most colors, just not as many variations as you or I. Because of this, he works with one color at a time, so his colors are very crisp and clean. We couldn't afford any of his pieces, but I did buy some cards. This was one of our favorites.

Check him out:

We stopped at a bar that was supposed to have a great cupcake menu, but that was a flop. So we hightailed it out of there and went to a little place called Aster Cafe. They were having an open mic night with four different singer-songwriters. They had a great patio, and since we had some time before the show, we ordered a drink on the patio first. This Sweet Bitch Sangria was supposed to make the world a kinder place. I'm not so sure about that, but the drink was good! 

It started raining just before the show started, so we moved inside and nabbed a table. The music was pretty good, or half of it anyway. We both agreed that two of the songwriters were good, while two of them needed some work. 

Trav's feeling about sappy love songs, and bright flashes

We decided to head back to the hotel, and got another Uber car. Luckily, no keys were lost in the process! Our hotel had a fun bar, so we had a night cap there as well. 

Travis trying to look sober.

This is a more accurate account. :o)

Our hotel did not include a free breakfast, so we decided to check out a place nearby called Good Earth - lots of organic and locally grown ingredients on the menu. Travis got a plate called "Joe's Eggs", while I had the stir fry omelette. I liked his better, although my sweet potato hash was delicious. Some of the veggies in my omelette were a bit too watery, making it kind of soggy. Also, the cheese ended up all on one side in a big, globby mess. 

We ended the trip with a quick stop to the Saint Croix Vineyards, and then made our way home. Even though we were both exhausted, we invited Trav's parents over for dinner and cake for his birthday. They brought Emily back to us, so this worked out perfectly. We had a quick dinner of burgers and salad, cut the cake, and then called it a night! I was in bed, asleep, by 8:05, and I don't think I moved all night long. Talk about exhausted! But it was a really great birthday weekend. Now we'll be eating Ramen noodles for the rest of the month to make up for it. Ha! Hey, you only live once, right?

How was your weekend? Have you ever used Uber?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fitness Friday

Another Friday is upon us, which means it's time for my Fitness Friday wrap up!

Sunday - 12 miles easy pace. I'm not sure if it was because of Mother's Day, or maybe I just wasn't feeling it, but this run was work. I didn't eat the greatest on Saturday, so my stomach felt kind of icky the entire run. It was also super windy on my way back. A few times I literally felt like I was at a stand-still because the wind was blowing so hard. But I got it done. 9:53 average pace.

Monday - Even though I really, really, really did not want to, I woke up early and got in some yoga. I did the Sun Salutations portion of my DVD, plus the lunges, then skipped to the quick program for just pigeon pose, bridge, and hamstring & quad stretches. 35 minutes total.

Tuesday - Since it was horribly windy and threatening to snow, I decided to make this my easy day instead of the prescribed workout. 3 easy miles on the treadmill.

Wednesday - Hill to Tempo workout: 1 mile warm up, 4 x 90 seconds uphill at 7:35 pace, jog down rest. 3 min rest, then 3 miles @ 8:40 pace, 1 mile cool down. I was super excited about this workout, and nervous. I kind of like hill repeats, even though they're horrible and not fun. But they make you so much stronger! This workout is specifically designed to give you jello legs, and then make you run fast on them, imitating the fatigue you'll feel in the later miles of the marathon. My repeats were: 7:38, 7:41, 7:39, 7:33, and my tempo miles were: 8:39, 8:40, 8:43. I'm pretty proud of myself! Not going to lie, keeping up that pace after the hill repeats was work, but it didn't kill me. This run ended up being way longer than I thought too, at 6.58 miles. But it's Book Club day, so hooray for all those extra burned calories!

Thursday - normally a run day for me, but I decided to switch it up and do yoga this morning. 35 minutes and a bajillion lunges later, and my thighs and quads are not happy with me. Blue Emu oil to the rescue!

Friday - Easy 3 miles. It was a little foggy and a little misty out this morning. Just enough to make it difficult to see through my glasses. So I took them off, which was interesting too. I can see without them, just not very far. Good thing I know my route like the back of my hand! I don't do contacts - the thought of sticking them in my eye makes me tear up. Even putting drops in is difficult. So I wear my glasses all the time, even running. Average pace: 9:34/min per mile.

Tomorrow morning I'm up early for 6 miles, then we're off to the Twin Cities for Trav's birthday weekend extravaganza! More to come on Monday!

How's your training going? Do you run with glasses, if you wear them?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Skinnytaste Cubano Pork Loin

If you like Cuban sandwiches, you have got to try this recipe. If you've never had a Cuban sandwich, I still highly recommend this Skinnytaste recipe, from her newest cookbook. We've made it twice now, and it's come out fabulously each time.

Cubano Pork Tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin or loin
1 tbsp mustard
2 oz Swiss cheese
2 oz deli ham
pickles and/or banana peppers

Rub: (approximates)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp oregano
1/8 tsp black pepper

Kitchen string

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prep a baking dish or pan with aluminum foil. Cut 5-6 pieces of kitchen string, about 8 inches long. Mix your spices together to create the rub in a small bowl.

Slice your tenderloin in half long ways leaving about 1/4 of an inch attached in the middle, then try to slice each half again leaving 1/4 of an inch attached on both sides. Since I used a loin both times, I just did 2 slices. Then cover the tenderloin with Saran wrap and bang it thin with a meat cleaver. Or a hammer if you don't have one :o)

Next, spread your mustard on one side of the tenderloin. Add the Swiss cheese on top of the mustard, then the deli ham on top of that. Last, add your pickles. Since Travis hates pickles, I put banana peppers on his half. Then you'll want to roll your loin up like a jelly roll, basically. Tie it closed with your cut kitchen strings. I find it easiest if I lay the strings out on my pan, then lay the loin over top and tie them off.

Rub the loin first with olive oil, then with the mixed spice rub. Pop that baby in the oven for about 35-45 minutes, depending on thickness. Mine typically takes the 45 minutes to fully cook to 160 degrees. Let it rest 10 minutes, slice and serve!

You see with mine that I only cut it in half. I probably could have done 4 quarters, but it works well this way too. Paired with a fresh veggie, this makes a great, low-calorie meal that still packs a lot of flavor. The three year old clears her plate and asks for more!

Do you like Cuban food? Have you bought the Skinnytaste cookbook yet?

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend Recap

As I type this, I can barely keep my eyes open. So forgive me if there are some typos along the way.

Can someone bring me a vat of coffee? Stat?

Our weekend started off well with easy days of work on Friday, and just nothing too exciting. Some days like that are just nice, right? I picked up some lovely eggs from our CSA farmer on my lunch break. We're not getting our CSA share yet, but he parks his truck & trailer in town to sell eggs & meat until the produce really kicks in.

Saturday we slept in a little, got some stuff done around the house, and then headed up north to the in-laws to celebrate Mother's Day there. Travis is also working on making us some raised garden beds, so he wanted to make some 2x4's with the gadget I got him for Christmas. Don't ask me what it's called. All I know is that you can take a rough piece of timber - like an actual log with the bark still on it - use this tool and cut it down to 2x4 size. It's pretty cool. Since Trav's dad logs all winter long, he had plenty of logs for Travis to use. Some of the finished boards were about 10 feet long, which sell for around $20. He made 6 total, so figure he saved us about $100-120 on this project. Gadget has already paid for itself!

We had a lovely dinner of grilled burgers, brats, and salads. The weather was supposed to be really nice on Sat, which is why we planned on going then rather than Sunday. Well, it didn't really cooperate and stayed chilly, overcast, and windy. So we mostly stayed inside. Oh well. Still a nice dinner and time with family.

Sunday I woke up early to get my long run in. I told Travis that for Mother's Day, I just wanted to run, watch a webinar on marathon nutrition, and relax. Check, check, and check.

I was really wiped out after this run - mostly running into a headwind all the way back - so I did end up spending much of the day on the couch relaxing. Totally fine with me. 

Once I got back and showered, I opened my presents from Emily. She went to a "make & take" event at our local photographer's last weekend, and this is what she made:

Adorable! Dad did a good job getting her dressed in a cute outfit, too. She told me that she got to "paint" over her picture. It's decoupaged on with clear coat. 

They also made cookies and decorated them. I love this girl. Load up the sugar! It was really good. Emily secretly told me that she also got to eat one when they were there. Haha! Big secret, right? She also decorated a little card and colored the gift bag that all of this was in. 

They also made cards at daycare:

Love these little hand prints! 

We ended the day with a yummy dinner: Picadillo tacos from the Skinnytaste cookbook, topped with a cabbage slaw. The picadillo is a bit putzy to make, so I asked Trav to make it for me knowing that we had plenty of time and no plans to get in the way. The picadillo is really good with an interesting mix of ingredients - tomato sauce, red peppers, and alcaparrado (or olives & capers). You make this in the crockpot, but it only needs to go in there for 3-4 hours. I think you could probably make this stove top too, but the flavors really meld together if you let it sit in the crock pot for longer. 

We ended the evening with popcorn and the move "Wild", based on the book by Cheryl Strayed. I know the movie has received some poor reviews, but I liked it. Of course, it wasn't as good as the book, but book-based movies never are. I was ok with the way they put the story together. It was longer than I thought, though, so I got to bed a bit later than I would have liked.

I have to say that it was a lovely weekend. I had a great Mother's Day and felt very loved all day long!

How was your weekend? Did you spend Mother's Day with your family? 

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fitness Friday

Happy Friday!

Here's my weekly training in review:

Saturday - since I was in St. Louis and knew Sunday would be tight on time, I ran Saturday morning. St. Louis is super hilly. SUPER hilly. That's ok if you're used to it, but I had an 11 mile run on tap and really didn't want to kill myself doing it. Lucky for me, the brother I stayed with lives just around the corner from the Katy Trail which follows the Missouri River. It is pretty flat, and is mostly a hard-packed gravel trail. It was a beautiful morning, so even though I was out there at 6 am, I still saw quite a few other runners and bikers. Most of the trail is wooded, but offers some nice views of the river and some creeks along the way. Average pace: 9:43 min/mi.

Monday -  I was still tired from my trip on Monday morning, and it seems that I've come down with a sore throat from allergies and general traveling ickiness. So yoga was ditched for an extra hour of sleep.

Tuesday - Great fartlek run. I was supposed to do 1 mile warm up, 5 x 800m at 7:50-8:00 pace with 3 minutes rest, 1 mile cool down. Since I wanted to do this in the AM and didn't feel like driving to the track, I just ran around town and did 1/2 mile fartleks. That's just about the same. It felt great! Paces were: 9:37 (warm up), then 8:00, 7:57, 7:59, 7:53 & 7:58 for the fartleks, and around 9:40-9:55 for the rest periods, then 9:43 for cool down. Math-disabled me figured this would be 4 miles, mayyyybe 5, total. 5.8! Boom!

Wednesday - I finally got up to do yoga. Hooray! Except that I planned on doing the "quick" program thinking it would just be cut clips of some of the poses from the full video. Nope. It was just a scroll through of the names of some poses to do. So I kept pausing it to do a pose, play to get to the next one, pause, play, repeat. In total I think I did about 25-30 minutes, which is good for me. I think I did plank, downward dog, side plank, upright lunge, pigeon pose, a quad stretch, hamstring stretches, IT band stretch, and then ended with Savasana. My favorite.

Thursday - Easy 4 miles. I was really looking forward to hitting the road this morning. It was warm out, nearly 60 degrees! Ok, 55, but that's a lot closer than 25 degrees! However, the skies opened up right as my watch beeped at 3 miles, so my last mile was in a downpour. Literally. I was soaked by the time I got home. So that mile was a little faster. Average pace: 9:28 min/mi.

Friday - Easy 4 miles. As soon as I stepped out the door this morning, I started getting pelted in the face by sleet. After yesterday's run in the rain, I just wasn't having it. So, I went back inside and jumped on my treadmill. Super boring, but I got it done. 4 miles in 43:07.

Here's hoping for better weather this weekend - especially since I have 12 miles on tap for Sunday morning!

How's your training going? 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Quiet Evenings

After all the excitement from my travels, I was so happy last night to have gorgeous weather and an opportunity to just relax with my family. I felt like I hadn't really even had time to talk to Travis or tell him about my weekend at all. Darn life gets in the way sometimes!

We had some steaks in the fridge, so we decided to grill them up. Even though it was around 70, it was still a bit windy and necessitated at sweatshirt.

Emily had to go inside at daycare after she started getting too hot yesterday afternoon. Probably something to do with wearing jeans on a hot day with the sun blazing. But once we got home, I gave her some frozen fruit and she cooled off in front of Octonauts. Then she was totally ready to head back outside.

You can't tell, but she has a french braid in her hair. She has been all about the braids for the past week or so. But my little wild child's braid usually falls out by the end of the day.

Selfies! See the little red mark next to her mouth? Apparently she clocked herself in the face with her swing over the weekend. Her swing is homemade and has a wooden 2x4 seat. Ouch! Dad said she didn't cry or anything. Usually, after falling or injuring herself in some way, she bounces up and says "I'm ok! I'm ok!". #toughchick

Also, please note how straight my teeth are looking. The braces are still ugly, but we're seeing progress!

Steak, sweet potato fries, and a nice glass of red wine. What could be better? After dinner, bath time, and putting Emily to bed, Travis and I went back outside to enjoy the weather and catch up a bit more.

Busy social schedules are fun and exciting, but sometimes the quiet evenings at home really take the cake.

What's your favorite way to relax at home? 

Monday, May 4, 2015


On Friday, I left you hanging when I shared that I was off on a secret trip to an unknown destination. Well, it was unknown to you, but I knew where I was going...

St. Louis!

May 1st was my brother's 50th birthday. My sister-in-law planned on throwing him a surprise birthday party on Saturday, so my whole family got in on the secret. My parents flew up from Florida, my aunt and uncle drove in from Michigan, and I came in from Minnesota. It was a short trip (arrived Friday at 4:30, left Sunday at 2), but it was so worth it!

We all had to pretend that we weren't in town until the party on Sat evening, so luckily my other brother put us up for a few days. It was really hard to make phone calls and text the birthday boy without alluding to our plans!

Saturday morning, we helped decorate for the party. My sister-in-law told my brother that the party was for her boss who also happens to have a birthday around the same time. She even went as far as mailing herself a fake invitation to hang on their fridge, and they brought a present to the party!

Some of the decorations and the cake table.

The cake!

My SIL made this! Turned out great!

He was so surprised. Not only for the party, but when he saw my parents, aunt & uncle, and myself - his jaw nearly hit the floor!

I hope that works! At first he walked away! My mom and I were trying to stand back a little so he didn't see us until he got inside, so that's why I'm yelling at my Dad who ran right up to the door.

It was so great to see everyone and spend some time together, even if it was a short trip. After the party was over, we hung out a bit at Scott's house. Then Sunday morning we all met up for breakfast in downtown St. Charles. Of course, there was a little shopping afterward, too. St. Charles is a historic downtown area right on the Missouri river full of quaint shops & restaurants. It is definitely one of our favorite places to go when we visit!

Some of the crew at breakfast. From the left there's my Mom, Aunt Candy, SIL Karen, birthday boy brother Scott, nephew Jared, and my other brother Keith. Not pictured: Dad, niece Anna, cousin Jake, and SIL Chris. We're a big group!

The weather was gorgeous the whole time we were in town, so we tried to be outside whenever possible. There are so many places with patios there; we never had any problems finding somewhere to sit outside!

Funny side story: we had wine bottles at the party, but no wine opener. Since I always carry my trusty traveling wine opener in my purse, we thought it wouldn't be a problem. Well, the corkscrew broke off in the cork, so Keith had to run off to buy a new one. They got back just in time, except that we then proceeded to break the new wine opener in the same bottle! Eventually we were able to get two bottles open, but it was an ordeal!

When I came home, this huge contraption was sitting on my buffet. It's a giant, antique wine bottle opener. Sure would have come in handy at the party!

I'm not sure where it came from, still haven't gotten the full story from Travis yet. My plane was a few minutes late getting in last night, so by the time I got home and said hello, I was just ready for bed. Great weekend, but exhausting!

How was your weekend? Have you ever been in on a surprise party? 

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fitness Friday

I am so very happy that it's Friday! I'm leaving today for a whirlwind trip this weekend. It's a surprise, so I'll have to share once I'm back.

This week has been chock full of running thanks to a 5K and an altered schedule. I'm feeling a bit fatigued at this point, so I'm thankful for a rest day.

Saturday - ran the HOPE Springs 5K Run/Walk. Here's my recap in case you missed it.

Sunday - I was a bit surprised to have a run scheduled for Sunday, despite racing on Saturday. I normally would have called it good, but the schedule gods at Runners Connect thought differently. It was an easy pace 6 miler though, so not too bad. My average pace was 9:44 min/mile. It was also sunny and beautiful, so I'll take the excuse to get out of the house!

Monday - Woke up early to get a yoga practice in. I went through the Intermediate DVD again, and was happy that it was a tiny bit easier this time around. I didn't go quite as deep into some of the poses (like lizard...not a fan), so I think that helped to make it easier. I kept an eye on the clock this morning though, because my old yoga DVD was only about 45 min. The new one? 1 hour and 20 minutes long! Now I know why I was running late both mornings with the newest DVD. I did see that there was a "quick program", so I think I'll give that a whirl next time.

Tuesday - Basic Tempo Run: 1 mile warm up, 3 miles at 8:40-8:50 pace, 1 mile cool down. It was super windy this morning, but I still feel like I knocked it out of the park. My paces were: 9:47, 8:47, 8:46, 8:40, 9:16. Perfect!

Wednesday - normally a rest day, but because of my super secret travel plans this weekend I had to change things up. So an easy pace 5 mile run was on deck for today. Average pace: 9:44.

Thursday - Another 5 mile easy pace run. I was definitely feeling it this morning, so I just tried to cruise a bit slower. I changed my route up a little and ended up running by a cemetery. I felt very Claire Underwood for a minute.

Also, listened to my first ever podcast instead of music. It was about the Generation UCAN nutrition for marathon runners, and kind of debunked their claims. Not completely throwing it out the window as far as a fuel/supplement, though. There was a lot of science behind the discussion, which was a bit over my head for 5am. Interesting all the same. Average pace: 9:45

Friday - I was supposed to do yoga this morning, but I knew I wouldn't be able to calm myself enough with all the last minute packing & prepping for my trip. So I got an extra 45 minutes of sleep instead.

Now, off on my little adventure!

How's your training going? Any fun trips planned soon?