Sunday, October 31, 2010

October reading recap

So apparently the key to me tearing through a bunch of books in a month is to give me a bunch of books that have vampires, werewolves, fairies and demons in them. Huh.

Why you ask? Well I managed to finish six books in October totalling 1,930 pages. For those of you keeping track at home, the last time I managed to read six books in a month? December 2009. And I still fell short of my yearly goal of 40 books. But I think 40 is totally doable this year. Through the end of October I've finished 32 books for a total of 11,292 pages. Only eight more books to go. And two months to do it.

Given that bit about the vampires, werewolves, fairies and demons, it shouldn't be a surprise what I read in October. But here's the list:

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris
Definitely Dead by Charlaine Harris
All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

For those keeping track, that's the entire Sookie Stackhouse series. Or at least all of the ones that have been written and published. Take that back. A friend of mine did loan me a collection of short stories involving Sookie and her non-human friends. But I think I'm going to wait a bit before diving into it. I need a Sookie break. But don't worry. I've got other titles on my "to read" list and my friend the public library is coming through for me with books to read.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I should have known it wasn't going to be a good day today when I dropped, and busted, a jar of grape jelly while making my peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch this morning. So not only was there no J for my PBJ, I also had to clean up a sticky floor. And I don't think I managed to clean up all the glass (or heavy-duty plastic) shards. Because it feels like there's one stuck in my foot. Work stunk. It was cold. And then I come home, make dinner and SPLAT! This time it's about a quarter of a jar of spaghetti sauce that I spill onto the floor. The same spot where I had a sticky jelly mess 12 hours earlier. Sigh. I should just stay out of the kitchen.

2. I did have a moment of happiness when I came home and saw the FedEx man had left me a present. A few weeks ago I won a giveaway on Suzy's blog, Running on My Time. I had my choice between a pair of Brooks running shorts or a jacket. Since I live in Wisconsin - and shorts weather is pretty much gone until April - I went for the jacket option. I ended up choosing the Brooks Infiniti Jacket. I haven't gotten a chance to wear it outside yet, but it felt really comfortable when I tried it on tonight. I may just have to wear it to work tomorrow. Thanks for hosting the giveaway Suzy!

3. While we're talking about Brooks I should probably mention the shoes. I went to Fleet Feet last weekend to pick up a new pair of running shoes. My trusty pair of Asics Cumulus 11s had gotten me through most of training for Green Bay and my lackluster training for Fox Cities. In all there was probably around 300 miles on them. I could tell they were starting to die though. So I went to get a new pair to break in during the last month of Las Vegas training. Well there still must be some kind of Asics shortage because Fleet Feet didn't have any. OMG! What I am going to do? I've always been an Asics girl. Ever since I started running in 2007. But I needed new shoes. I couldn't wait. I was going to have to try something different. Gulp. I tried on a pair of Mizuno Wave Riders. They weren't bad. But they weren't the most comfortable. Then it was on to a pair of Brooks Ghost 3s. So light! It didn't really feel like I was wearing shoes. I was pretty sure I had found my new shoe. But I tried one more pair, some kind of Addias, and they felt really really clunky.
The Ghosts it was. I was excited. Tonight I took them for their first run - a 5 mile journey on the YMCA treadmill. During the first mile I was worried. My right foot on the outside hurt. But it went away after a mile. I'm hoping it was just the whole "I'm wearing brand new shoes on my first run" thing and that the Ghosts won't really hurt my feet. Because the rest of the run felt good. Hopefully me and the Ghosts become friends. Who knows, maybe I'll turn into a Brooks girl.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Pushing the long run to Monday

That weekend long run? Yeah. It never happened. I came up with excuses.

Saturday? Too much rain during prime running hours and a must-see Badger victory once it actually did stop raining. Sunday? I don't really have an excuse. Some rain in the morning. And it looked iffy in the afternoon. So I decided to go running shoe shopping instead.

So it's now Monday and there's still a 9 mile run on my training schedule just waiting to be run. I got up this morning and kept putting it off. And I had a few things to do in the early afternoon. So when the clock struck 4 p.m., it wasn't raining and I still hadn't run those miles. I knew I had to do it. Because I can't really bail on a long run, especially when I've had the last three days off of work.

It was time.

It was overcast when it came time to run. At first I debated about heading over to the YMCA and running on the indoor running track. I've been up at my parents' house the last few days, so at least it would be a new running track. But it didn't look like it was going to start pouring buckets anytime soon. So I decided to do a 5 or 6 mile loop and stay kind of close to home. That way if it started to pour, I could head back to Mom and Dad's and finish up the run on their treadmill. And if the rain held off, I could just add some extra loops to finish out the 9 miles.

I ended up running all 9 miles outside. And let me tell you, it was wonderful. I don't get to do too many non-weekend runs outside due to the fact that there are no sidewalks in my neighborhood and I really don't feel like becoming road kill. But the roads I was running on this afternoon didn't have heavy traffic, so even as it was getting dusky, I was OK. The roads that did have heavy traffic had sidewalks. And once it started getting dark I was actually on a bike path that runs alongside the road, so I wasn't fearing for my life. I finished up the 9 miles in 1 hour, 45 minutes.

I was pretty happy with my mile splits. The first four miles were all in the 10:30/mile range. Once I finished up four, I started to throw in some short walk breaks every mile and the times creeped up a bit as a result. But they were still OK times. I did struggle during Miles 7 and 8 and took some longer walk breaks (Mile 7 is also where I took my mint chocolate GU), but that final mile actually felt pretty good.

So 9 miles is in the books. I might sneak in a short recovery type run tomorrow. But most likely that will be indoors on the treadmill since the weatherman is telling me to expect storms and steady 40 mph winds, with gusts up to 60 mph. And since I really don't want to get blown away, I'll stay inside.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Some weekend randomness

It's Saturday night. My mind has pretty much shut down for the night. That's why you get bullet points.

  • My night as a Diva. Thursday night I headed up to Fleet Feet Sports Fox Valley with my friend Jess for Diva Night. There were chair massages, a chocolate. A little bit of cheese and wine. Add in some shopping and a bra fitting along with the pre-Diva Night dinner and girl talk and it was a good night. I couldn't resist making a few small purchases. I picked up a Nathan Quickdraw Plus handheld water bottle (in pink - it is October you know) and a Moving Comfort Charity sports bra (in plain old white). And today I learned my name had been drawn to win a free Enell sports bra, which was one of the raffle prizes. Pretty good night. The photo above is Jess (in black) and I talking to a chiropractor about the wonders of Biofreeze. More photos can be found here.
  • My original plan for the weekend had me running my 9 mile run this morning. The weatherman said there was a chance of rain, but the morning should be dry. I thought I was good to go. Nope. I opened my eyes and didn't even need to look out the window. I could hear the rain pounding on the window. I don't run outside in the pouring rain. It eventually stopped in the afternoon, but it was too late.
  • Because it was time for the Badgers to take on Iowa. Coming off a huge victory over then-No. 1 Ohio State last weekend, Wisconsin was heading to Iowa to take on the Hawkeyes. Amazing game. Back and forth. It all came down to a final drive - which included a fake punt on fourth down - that ended with a Badger touchdown with 1:06 remaining. Then it was time for the Badgers to play some defense. And yes, they got a little help from the Iowa coaching staff - still not sure why they decided to call that time out after getting a first down with 12 seconds remaining. But what matters is the Badgers win 31-10!
  • I've still got a 9 miler on tap for the weekend. It'll get done Sunday. And it's still supposed to rain. Either outside or else I'm heading over to the YMCA to run circles around the indoor track. Because honestly, 9 miles on a treadmill? I don't know if I can do that.
  • I finished the first 13 episodes of Glee. Loved. It. Now I have to patiently wait until the library decides to get me the next installment.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. Apparently I like to jump on the bandwagon late. Example: The Sookie Stackhouse series. They've been around for how long? And I just read the first installment back in August? Well since then I've gotten through eight of the 10 books. And I've got about 100 pages left in book No. 9. But it's taken me a bit longer than I expected. Because I've been distracted by something else.


Yeah, it only took me almost two seasons, but I finally watched my first episode on Monday night. Loved. It. But the library wants its DVDs back on Friday. And I've still got 6 more episodes to watch. Either it's going to be a few late nights or I'm going to start racking up a late fee. My money's on the late fee.

2. My sports bras and I are not getting along this week. Well actually just one of them. I wasn't thinking on Saturday when I got ready for the St. Joe's 5K and put on a sports bra I've had trouble with on longer runs. So midway through my 5 mile jaunt home it started. The chaffing. And now I've got a big ole raw spot on my chest, right where my regular bra sits. Kind of painful. It was healing up OK, but for some reason I wasn't thinking again last night when I packed for my 5 mile run on the treadmill. D'oh! Needless to say I've been gooping it up with Aquaphor or Neosporin all week.

3. I'll be channeling my inner diva tonight. After work I'm heading over to Fleet Feet Fox Valley for Diva Night with a friend. I've been told there will be a bunch of cool things going on, including a cooking demo, chair massages, raffles and bra fittings (probably a good thing given my luck with sports bras this week). I'll be back with a full report on how it went on Friday!

Monday, October 18, 2010

St. Joe's 5K Race Report

If your name doesn't appear in the official results, does that mean you really didn't run a race? Even if you swear you were there? And have photographic evidence?

Because if it does, that means I didn't run the St. Joe's 5K on Saturday. But I did. You just can't find my name in the results anywhere. And it would have been nice to see my name and time in the results since I turned in a new PR.

But I'm ahead of myself.
So Saturday was the St. Joe's 5K, the race that had the Portsmouth start. I got to the race sit early, like almost an hour and a half before the runners would start. My dad was walking the 5K and the walkers took off a half hour before the runners. So I was early.

I made use of the time though. There were two visits to the port-a-potty, I snapped some pictures of my dad starting the walk. I did a tiny bit of stretching. And then I watched the 20-some waves before me go off.

Finally they called Wave 34 and it was my turn to run.

The course was an out-and-back that wound through a neighborhood before heading out on to the converted railroad trestle. After you got across the lake, you turned around and headed back to the starting area. There wasn't anything too exciting. Thanks to the staggered start, there weren't massive crowds of people. Which there wouldn't have been anyway since I think maybe 300 people were running. It did get a bit crowded once we were on the trestle. They had the trestle divided, but some of the back of the pack walkers decided to walk more than 2 abreast. Add that to runners coming back off the trestle and it got crowded. It was kind of hard to pass anyone, much less keep a steady pace at those points.

Oh and it was pretty windy.

I hit the turnaround and started back. One thing to note, there was no water station on the course at all. Not sure what was going on there. I wasn't dying of thirst or anything, but it would have been nice to have a sip or two of water at the halfway point. Just sayin'.

For about 2.2 seconds I debated with taking a short walk break once I hit land and was in the final mile. But I opted not to. And I'm glad I didn't. Once I rounded the final corner and the finish line was in sight, I kicked it into high gear, passed a few folks and booked it to the finish line.

I hit stop on my Garmin as I entered the finisher's chute. A volunteer took my tag from my bib and I got a barely filled glass of water before glancing down at Garmin Gus.


That folks is a new PR. I shaved 10 seconds off my previous PR which I set back in May at the Sole Burner 5K. Of course looking through the results the next day I was a bit disappointed when I couldn't find my name. Makes me wonder what the heck happened since the volunteer woman took the tag with my identification off my bib.
EDIT: While grabbing a link for the race website for this post, I checked the results one more time. My name was there this time, but I swear it wasn't there on Sunday when I looked.  And according to the "official" results, I finished in 31:17. It's still a PR though. A PR of the 8-second variety. I'll take it.


Of course even though I managed to PR, my running wasn't done for the day. I still had to tack on an additional 5 miles in order to get the 8 miles in that my half marathon training plan called for. Originally I was just planning on doing it once I got back to my parents' house. But the door prize drawing at the race took WAY too long. So what did I do?

On the way home I had my mom drop me off at an intersection and I ran the rest of the way home. I thought the intersection was 5 miles from their house, but turns out I was about a mile short, so I had to add in some extra loops.

 Not as speedy as the 5K from the morning, but I finished up 5.1 miles in 57 minutes. With 8.2 miles in the books, I was then able to enjoy a brief stop at a classic car show, a Halloween party for The Rugrats and, oh yeah, watching the Badgers beat up on Ohio State. I'd say that was a pretty good day.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I was cranky. And tired. And kind of hungry. And did I mention I was cranky? But you know what? Even though all I wanted to do was go home after work, throw on some comfy sweats and not deal with people until I go into work at 1 p.m. on Friday I didn't. Nope. I got in my car and pointed it towards the YMCA. Because I knew even though it was going to hurt, I knew once I started running I would feel better. And I did. For 6.2 miles I lost myself. There was no more work drama. No more work frustrations. And while I'm still tired, the run did exactly what I needed it to. It made me feel better. More relaxed.

2. Anyone ever run a race with a Portsmouth start? I'm running a 5K this weekend, the St. Joe's 5K, and it's got a Portsmouth start. According to the race brochure each runner is assigned to a wave based on their age and gender and the wave is determined by the USATF 5K single age road race records. The clock counts down to zero, with the slowest waves starting first, and once the clock hits zero, it starts counting up. Your finish time is clock time plus wave start time. Hmmm. Sounds like it could be interesting. But the race course looks like it'll be pretty neat. There's an old railroad trestle that goes over a lake that's been converted into a rec trail that we'll be running over. Should be a nice course, but there is the possibility the trail could be a bit crowded.

3. Now that the run is out of the way and I'm in my comfy pajamas, I'm planning on settling into my recliner, turning off the lights, popping Dear John into my DVD player and losing myself in a movie. Sounds like a good way to end a not-so-good week to me.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Moving the long run to Monday

There was no running this weekend. But there was a weekend-long babysitting gig. And I'm beginning to think chasing after two boys (ages 4 and 5) was more tiring than the 7-mile run I had planned.

There was time spent playing Mario Kart on Wii and I was told numerous times by my 4-year-old nephew that I was going the wrong way. Who says you have to go in the right direction around the track? What if Yoshi wanted to go from the finish line to the starting line? That's what he wanted to do. But the 4-year-old? He wasn't having any of that. Then a sleep over. And a daylong trip to two parks where we played on the playground, played on the beach, played on the rocks, took a small hike through the woods and climbed the observation tower.

While my Mom took sleep over duties Saturday night, I went out with my Dad for a bit. He told me we weren't going to be out late. Which was fine by me, I was running on fumes by the time we left to go listen to the band. But apparently my definition of late and my Dad's definition? Not the same thing. I could barely stay awake by the time we got home. And I had good intentions to get up and run my 7 miles before meeting my Mom and the boys for lunch.

The alarm went off. I did get out of bed. But only to throw a pair of capris in the wash so I'd have clean pants to wear. Then I went back to bed for an hour. Had some food, went back to my parents' house with intentions to watch the Packer game and promptly slept through the second and third quarters. Oops. But I was tired.

So no running this weekend meant I had some miles to make up tonight. Since I didn't want to become roadkill, I headed over to the running track at the YMCA for my 7 miles. And you know what I realized tonight? I actually like the track. Yes. I'm running in circles. A lot of circles. But I like that more than the treadmill. And at least on the track I can run at my own pace rather than the treadmill where a machine is telling me how fast to go.

And tonight? Everything was clicking. Seriously. I felt good. Effortless almost. There were multiple sub-10 minute miles (I swear that's a first for me) and there was only one mile that was over 11 minutes - the final mile and that's because I took a very brief walk break during that mile. I'm actually pretty proud of my splits:


 I've got goals for Las Vegas in December. I'd love to run 11 minute/miles and finally get a 2:30 half marathon. And I know tonight was only 7 miles and I was starting to get tired by the end, but looking at those splits tonight? It makes me feel like my goal is definitely reachable. Eight more weeks.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Things Thursday

1. I'm a slacker. I should have just gone for my run after I got done with work today. But I didn't. I decided to come home and have dinner first. The plan was to wait until about 7:30ish and then head over to the YMCA for a run. Well 7:30 rolled around and I just didn't feel like leaving my apartment. So I didn't go. Oops.

2. Mother Nature's confused. Or just mean. Last weekend? It was barely breaking 50 degrees and super windy. This weekend? It's supposed to be in the mid- to upper-70s. What happened to the fall-like mid-60s? Not that I'm going to complain. Because there will be running and biking this weekend.

3. Speaking of running, it's about that time to buy a new pair of shoes. I'm toying with trying out a different kind this time around. Maybe it'll help with my black, bruised toenail issue I've been dealing with. Not sure though. I'll talk it over with the fine folks at Fleet Feet.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Let's get the Vegas training started

Nothing like starting off a training cycle for a half marathon by skipping a run.

That's exactly what I did.

This weekend (while I was watching somewhat painful football and avoiding running) I put together a training plan for the Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. It's nine-weeks, features two 10-mile runs and an 11-mile run and has me running 4 days a week. I think it's doable and hopefully it will get me to that 2:30 half marathon time I've been chasing all year.

I was supposed to start off with a 6-miler on Monday. And since I'm super dedicated when it comes to following a plan...I bailed. Skipped it. I ended up working later, was pretty hungry and starting to get a headache. So I skipped the run. But I figured I could do it on Tuesday instead. Because after all, it's all about flexibility. Then I remembered I had dinner plans after work on Tuesday and wouldn't be able do it. So I was set to start off the cycle by skipping the first run.

Lucky for me, my friend who I had dinner plans with tonight sent me a text message early this morning canceling our dinner plans. Suddenly I had a free evening. Which meant I'd be able to get that run in. Yipee!

Now it was a gorgeous day outside. Perfect fall running weather. And I ended up indoors at the YMCA. See I really didn't want to run the risk of becoming road kill since there are no sidewalks in my neighborhood, people drive about 45 miles per hour or faster down my road and it was going to be getting dusky by the time I could start my run. So it was indoors for me.

I avoided the treadmill though. Remember a few weeks ago when I did a majority of my nine-mile run on the running track at the YMCA? The track where 11 laps equaled a mile? That's what I took advantage of tonight. Me, the track and 66 laps. That's a lot of running in circles, but it was so much more tolerable than running to nowhere. I know, I know. At least with the treadmill I'd have TV to distract me. But still. That's hard.

So circles it was.

Of course I started too fast (but it didn't feel like I was running fast!) and got slower as the miles wore on. But actually with the exception of the last mile (where I threw in a short walk break), I was happy to keep my miles under 11 minutes. Which if I could do that for 13.1 miles in Las Vegas in December? I'd be a happy girl. According to my watch my splits were 9:30, 10:14, 10:30, 10:45, 10:45, 11:30. I finished the six-miles in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 14 seconds. Not too shabby. I'll take it.

After I was done with the six miles, I tacked on an extra 0.2 to make it a 6.2 mile run so I can use it for Running Diva Mom's virtual 10K in honor of 10-10-10. With the extra distance, my time ended up being 1 hour, 5 minutes.

Overall I'm pretty happy with how Run No. 1 went. Even if I was running around in circles.