Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Remembering Boston

One year.

It doesn't seem like that long ago. But it was.

Like many others, I paused today at 1:49 p.m. central time. I stopped working. Paused the iPod. I just sat there and thought of Boston, what damage those bombs inflicted. But also the strength the injured showed as they overcame their injuries. They really are #BostonStrong.

And tonight, when the work day was done, I headed out for my run. It was a speed work night, a night I typically cut the cool down short. But tonight, I ran. I ran every single mile and minute that my training plan called for, because tonight I ran for Boston.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Half Marathons from the sidelines

Today was the Oshkosh Half Marathon.

I've done the half marathon twice and the 5K three or four times. But this year I didn't pin on a number. Instead, I watched from the sidelines and covered it for work.

The weekend didn't start out very promising. It poured all day on Saturday. As in 3 inches of rain that left some streets in Oshkosh flooded. And the forecast called for more heavy rain today. And while I know Mother Nature doesn't care (hello, remember the winter we had), I said a little prayer, asking for the rain to stop just for a few hours (ideally between 6 and 11 a.m.) today.

Mother Nature apparently listened. It was cloudy and cool, but there was no rain this morning. Actually, it was pretty perfect weather for running. Sadly, by the time I got my story and video done, the radar was starting to look pretty green and I knew there was no way I'd get all 8 miles I had to run done before the next downpour.

So I had to head over to the YMCA treadmill. It was definitely a rough run. I seriously wanted to quit after 3 miles. Then 4 miles. But I kept running and finally talked myself into gutting it out. I'm not going to lie. The last 2 miles were tough and there may have been a few short breaks, but the 8 miles got done.

Oh, and for anyone who cares, this is the story I wrote and the video I put together for the Oshkosh Half.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Keep the feet happy

Let's talk about shoes for a few minutes.

For the last four years, my feet have been happiest running when there's a pair of Brooks Ghosts involved. I've been through quite a few pair - three pairs of the orange/silver combo, a pair of magenta-y pink/silver combo and two pairs of these teal/silver combos. Yes, the colors haven't been amazing, but my feet have been happy.

I did try to go the minimalist route once. I snagged a pair of Brooks Pure Flows and took them on a 3 mile run. My feet didn't hate them, but that was right when I came down with the really, really nasty IT band issue. And while it probably wasn't due to that 3 mile run, I just couldn't try running in them again.

So it was back to the Ghosts. And my feet - and IT band - have been happy.

But when it came time this spring to get a new pair of shoes, I decided I'd go to Fleet Feet and have an analysis done on my feet, just in case. I mean, it had been like 4 years since I had one done. Plus I'd heard rumblings from other runners with Brooks-loving feet whose feet haven't been as happy with some of the newer models.

That scared me.

So last weekend I went in. I waited my turn and finally it was time to get my feet analyzed. There's no change. I'm still a runner who needs a neutral shoe.

So the clerk goes into the back and brings me out three pairs of shoes to try. She brought the Ghosts just so I could try them. I'm not going to lie. My feet were happy. And it was a pretty snazzy color combo. She brought some Nikes (I'm not sure what model, I forget) and I absolutely hated them.

Then she brought the Mizuno Wave Sayonara.

These things looked like Easter eggs. Talk about fun colors. And when I tried them on, my feet didn't hate them. So I took them for a spin on the sidewalk outside the store. They weren't bad. A little different feeling, but my feet and legs kind of liked them.

So as much as I didn't want to end my relationship with the Ghosts, after a lot of thought and lots of trips up and down the sidewalk, I decided to go with the Mizunos.

Tonight was my first run in the Mizunos. I'm not going to lie. I was a little nervous. And apparently I had a right to be.

Not even a mile into my run I had to stop, sit down on the curb and retie my shoes. My feet were screaming at me. I don't know if I had the shoes tied too tightly or if my feet just don't like the shoes. I finished up my 3 miles (I had originally wanted to do 4 or 5, but I thought I better stop early given the shoe issue) and I came home.

It was frustrating. On Saturday when I went shoe shopping, my feet didn't seem to mind the Mizunos. I thought they even liked them. Tonight? Oh boy. They were not happy.

I heard from someone they didn't like the Mizunos initially either, but after they broke them in, they fell in love. So I guess I'll keep trying some shorter runs with them. But there's also a part of me that's 90 percent certain I might be making another shoe purchase in the very near future and I might be coming home with the old reliable Ghosts.

My feet might thank me.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Final Four Day!

 Hoping Frank "The Tank" Kaminsky and the rest of the Badgers can cut down some more nets. Source: AP

Guys! It's Final Four Day!

In a matter of hours, my eyes will be glued to a television, watching the Badgers take on Kentucky in the Final Four. If you've been , who around this blog for any amount of time, you know how much I love my Badgers. I was seriously pacing in circles around the living room during the final minute of that Regional Final against Arizona last weekend.

So tonight I'll be heading down to Milwaukee to watch the game with Renee, who has said we match each other in insanity when it comes to our Badgers. It will be fun.

Today also makes me think back to the last time the Badgers played in the Final Four. It was my sophomore year in college and Wisconsin took on that underdog role, battling as an eight seed in the West Region, knocking off No. 1 Arizona and No. 4 LSU before beating Purdue to win the West Region.

That was a fun team to watch. Jon Bryant got hot beyond the arc. Andy Kowske in the post. Kirk Penney and his adorable accent. And don't forget Mike Kelley. Oh, Mike Kelley. Yes, he was my Badger crush. Not a player to put up a ton of points, but defensively? He was a beast.

Mike Kelley and Coach Dick Bennett. (Source: Journal Sentinel)

Some friends and I gathered in my dorm room to watch Wisconsin take on Michigan State (anyone else remember the 19-17 halftime score?).  Sadly, I don't remember much of the actual game. I was battling mono and ended up sleeping through half of the game. Sad. And then Wisconsin lost to the Spartans. Double sad.

But since I was well rested (well, as rested as someone battling mono can feel), my friends and I trudged down to Camp Randall later that night for a welcome home celebration after the team returned to Madison.

It was madness. The entire field was elbow to elbow with students and supporters. I don't remember there actually being any ceremony, but then the players were wandering through the massive crowds. It was a pretty spectacular moment.

Great cover, disappointing lack of content.

One I wasn't sure when I'd see again.

But here we are today. Bo Ryan is in his first Final Four with a team that has gelled so incredibly well (and they're funny! Read this and thank me for the laughs later) and can play some amazing basketball.

And if you need me tonight, look for the girl decked out in red pacing in front of the TV.

Go Badgers!

Friday, April 4, 2014

March Reading Recap

How is it already April? Seriously. The days are just flying by this year.

Maybe it's because the weather is crap, but I read a fair amount in March. I finished eight books in March for a total of 3,120 pages. That brings the yearly total to 20 books and 7,237 pages. I'd say that's a pretty good start on my 77 book goal for the year.

So what'd I read?

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Living Proof: A Novel of Key West by Kevin May
Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson
The Game Changer by J. Sterling
Broken Harbor by Tana French
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh

Definitely a mix

And now for the brief reviews, complete with number of stars given out on GoodReads. Follow me here if you’d like a more timely update on what I’m reading, what I think and what’s been added to my to-read list.

Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead  ****
Go read last month's reading recap for a full review of the series. This was a decent ending to a six-book series, it tied stuff together.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion  *****
I had no idea what to expect when I picked this up. I put it on my to-read list because it was a catchy title. Turned out to a fun story.

Living Proof: A Novel of Key West by Kevin May  ***
I picked this up after seeing it on a counter in a little off the beaten path restaurant (with amazing quesadillas) I ate at in Key West. It was a quick read.

Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson  ****
This was cute. A fun read.

The Game Changer by J. Sterling  ***
A decent read, but it was kind of annoying that it seemed like every other word out of the male main character's mouth was profanity.

Broken Harbor by Tara French  *****
One of my favorite books this month. I really, really like this author. She creates a story that leaves you guessing until the very end.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell  *****
Another one of my favorites. There was something about this story that just sucked me in. I seriously devoured this book in 24 hours, and that included taking breaks for sleeping and watching a lot of NCAA basketball.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh  ***
I don't read this blog, so I'm not sure exactly how it ended up on my to-read list. It was OK. The chapters about the dogs were the best. That and the one about the goose.

So that was March. In what might be a first, I actually don't have a stack of books sitting on my table waiting to be read and my hold list at the library is non-existent. Guess I better starting sifting through my somewhat lengthy to-read list and try to find some titles. Anyone have any suggestions?

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mostly Madness here

Just thought I'd check in.

Nothing too exciting to report. There's been some running. Mother Nature still hasn't decided if spring can officially arrive here in Wisconsin, although it is supposed to be almost 40 today and quite possibly break 50 tomorrow.

I've been watching a lot of NCAA basketball, because really, March Madness is an amazing time of year. And this year's there's been a lot of Madness. Surprisingly, my bracket held up pretty well through the first weekend of the tournament. But then last night happened and Louisville decided to lose to Kentucky. There goes one of my championship game picks. Ugh.

Source: Associated Press

But the Badgers.

Oh the Badgers. They're making me happy. They clobbered Baylor in a much-talked about Sweet Sixteen match up. Seriously, the Badgers went Bear hunting and the Bears looked like they didn't have a clue what a basketball was at times.

So tonight they play Arizona for a trip to the Final Four. And of course I'll be watching. And screaming. And pacing. And hopefully when it's all done, sometime around 10 p.m., I'll be a very happy Badger. If not? Well, they still had an amazing season.

And if you've got a few minutes to kill, read this. Seriously. The best piece I read in all of the Elite 8 bound Badger coverage (and of course I read a lot). It says nothing about Xs and Ox, rather it's about the people. Specifically coach Bo Ryan and his Dad.

Now, off to decide if I want to run today, or wait for slightly warmer temperatures and battle some potential wind tomorrow. I'm leaning towards tomorrow at this point.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Battered legs and sunshine

I've been on a bit of a running/working out hiatus for almost the last two weeks.

See, I nearly killed myself stepping into the shower two weeks ago Wednesday. I had one foot in the shower, one foot on the bathroom floor and the foot in the shower slipped. I nearly faced planted, but was able to avoid it. What I couldn't avoid was banging my other leg into the side of the tub.

Photos don't do the bruises justice.

That's left me with some pretty epic bruises from my ankle to my knee. So I babied it for the first three days. I was all set to go for my long run that weekend, but then I got this weird twinge in my knee (the one that was in the shower). I hurt. So I decided to take the time off, rest it and ice it.

It finally felt better this past weekend, but I had a family emergency come up and I wasn't able to get a long run in.

My training plan said today was a cross training day and I was excited to get back to P90X, but then the weather happened. And after the winter I've just been through - 50 or more days when the temperatures were sub-zero, lots of wind - meant I spent way too much time on a treadmill or running in circles on an indoor track.

So when it's 53 and sunny out on March 10, I didn't bat an eyelash at changing my training plan. I'm all for being flexible.

Especially when this is the forecast for the rest of the week:

I snuck out of work a little early and headed home to run. I can't remember the last time I dressed in capris and a short-sleeve T-shirt for a post-work outdoor run. Oh yeah, that was the other thing. Daylight! And the sun was still shining for an hour AFTER I was done running.

Since I wasn't sure how my beat up legs were going to feel, I took the run nice and easy. It was four glorious miles. The kind of run I needed to remind myself why I like to run.

Now if only the snow and cold would disappear from the forecast. At least until December.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February Reading Recap

The theme of February's reading choices is vacation mode. As in, I wanted quick, mindless entertaining books to read while in Key West. Because who wants to read books that actually require thought while on vacation? Not me.

So I finished six books in February 2,478 pages. That brings the yearly total to 12 books and 4,117 pages. I'd say I have a decent start on my 77 book goal. Only 65 more to go.

So what'd I read?

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

See the theme? Yup. I started in on the six-book Vampire Academy series. Nothing like YA books and vampires to keep me entertained while on vacation. And since I had all six in my possession, I had to keep reading them once I got home. I mean, it only makes sense.

And now for the brief reviews, complete with number of stars given out on GoodReads. Follow me here if you’d like a more timely update on what I’m reading, what I think and what’s been added to my to-read list.

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood  ****
A psychological thriller. I'm not sure where I first heard of this title, but it was definitely a good read. Kind of kept you thinking throughout.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead  ***
Frostbite by Richelle Mead  ***
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead  ****
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead  ****
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead  ***
These all get lumped together because, well, vacation read. Mindless and entertaining. Pretty quick reads. Although I am kind of getting to the point where I'm wondering if this really needed to be a six-book series. But of course I kept reading, because I need to find out what happens.

So I've got one more of the Vampire Academy books left to read and then it's returning to some non-vampire books this month. And of course the library has come through with about a million of my requests at once. So it looks like I'll be doing some reading and probably collecting a few late fees at the library in the process.

What are you all reading?