Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Hang on, it's going to be a busy month or two

Seven days into August, you would think my summer would be starting to wind down.


If anything, my summer is about to get crazy busy. And I'll have to remind myself to take time to breathe.

It all started last week, when I spent the entire week out at AirVenture. For those of you have been around for a few years, you know this is my favorite event to cover each summer for work. A week of airplanes and aviation enthusiasts. So much to see, so many stories to tell.

 This is what I watched in the afternoons last week.

Since I left the shack on Friday at 5 p.m., I've been on vacation. It's been needed. I haven't done too much. I've gone to two going away shin-digs for two co-workers, read two books, got in a decent 9-mile run and even a bit of speed work. Today, I've watched as people throughout my community have had to clean up after a wicked storm moved through the area overnight.

 Seen on my long run.

My plans for the rest of the week include more reading, a possible trip to Packers training camp tomorrow and sneaking in a 10-mile training run before the weekend. And then there will be rest. Because Friday afternoon the craziness of the next two months begins.

Friday I'm taking off for Milwaukee where I'll meet up with friends to volunteer Saturday at the USA Triathlon Age Group Nationals. We've got aide station duties and I'm pretty sure it'll be a good time.

Then it's off to Madison on Aug. 16-17 for my third attempt at the Madison Mini. To say I'm looking forward to a weekend in Madison is silly. I mean, come on. It's Madison, one of my favorite places. Plus, it's a gorgeous - albeit somewhat hilly - course through some of my favorite places in Madison.

I get a weekend off! Mostly to catch my breath.

But then it's back to Madison on Aug. 31 for the season opener at Camp Randall! Football's back! I'm going to watch the Badgers with my friend Renee. And while the game itself won't be nail biting, it'll be a great day. Football. Badgers. A good friend. And Madison. Need I say more?

I throw in one more trip to Madison on Sept. 7-8 for Ironman Wisconsin weekend. I'm helping cheer on a good friend's husband and I hope to spot a few other folks who will be out on the course as well.

I get lucky and get another weekend off before it's time for the Fox Cities Half Marathon on Sept. 22.Yeah, during all this craziness and traveling I've still got to fit in time to get the long training runs in.

Finally after Fox Cities things start to die down a bit and I don't have any other races on the schedule until I head back to Lake Mills in November for the Tyranena Beer Run.

It's going to be a crazy, busy few weeks, but it's going to be so fun. However, I'm tired just typing those plans out. I think I need to go take a nap now.

Monday, August 5, 2013

July reading recap

I had good intentions of blogging in July. Really. I did. But then life got in the way. I got busy.

Strangely. I still managed to find time to read. And quite a bit.

In July I read five books and 2,408 pages. That brings the yearly total to 44 books and 15,275 pages (give or take a few pages since a few of the books I've read this year were the Kindle variety). Compared to last year when I had finished 24 books and 8,259 pages, I'd say I'm doing OK.

In fact, at some point during the last month, I decided I needed to revamp that yearly reading goal - again. Remember at the beginning of the year I was aiming for 40 books. Then I upped it to 52. Well, I've upped it again. Now I'm aiming to finish 60 books by the end of the year.

What'd I read in July? Take a look:

The Elite by Kiera Cass
The Likeness by Tana French
The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes
A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin
Austenland by Shannon Hale

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 Elite by Kiera Cass ****
This wasn't bad. It was the second book in a series and I had to wait for it for a while from the library. It was a quick, easy read, although there were a few parts where I wondered where it was going. It all came together in the end though. Waiting for the third book to come out.

The Likeness by Tana French *****
This is a follow up to In the Woods, which I read last month. So, so glad I had friends recommend this author. So good. I liked In the Woods a lot, but I liked this one even better. So many twists, turns and surprises and it kept me guessing until the final pages.

The Princesses of Iowa by M. Molly Backes ***
I don't remember how this got on my to-read list, but I finally read it. And it was just kind of, eh. Yes. I realize this is a YA book, but it was a little too high school drama-ish for me. Honestly, if I could give half stars, this would probably get a 2.5.

A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin ****
The second good in the Game of Thrones series. I had watched season 2 of the series, so I knew what was going to happen, but at 969 pages, this was still a good read that pulled me into the stories and added more details than the TV series couldn't.

Austenland by Shannon Hale ***
A quick, easy read about a woman who loves Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice and sets out to get the full Jane Austen experience. Cute story.

So what's next? Well, I have a few  titles that I got from the library just in time for my vacation. After that? Who knows. What are you all reading?