Thursday, March 28, 2013

Three Things Thursday

1. I don't want to jinx anything, but I think spring has finally decided to show up in Wisconsin. For the last three days the mercury has hit 40 degrees. And there's been sunshine! And lots of melting snow. So of course, I took advantage of it. Yesterday I got home from work, threw on some running pants and a long-sleeved shirt and headed out the door. It was only two miles - and while the run itself wasn't stellar - I LOVED being able to head outside and run without worrying about slipping, sliding or freezing. Now I don't like to put too much faith in weathermen, but look at what's forecast for the weekend:

I can't wait to run in near 50 degrees for a long run Saturday!

2. It's been no secret this winter that my training for my upcoming half marathon(s) has been less than superb. Lots of weeks of skipped runs. Lots of long runs missed. Heck, if I was being totally honest with myself, there's no way I'm prepared to run a half marathon in Raleigh in a little over two weeks. The consistency, the preparation. It just hasn't been there. And I really think it's partly due to the never-ending winter that we've had. It's hard to psych yourself up for a long run knowing it'll be many miles on a treadmill to nowhere or so many laps on an indoor track you can't even keep count.

But I'm running. And even though I feel woefully unprepared for the RunRaleigh Half, I know it will be a good, albeit possibly painful, 13.1 mile journey. Because I'm excited to run with my BFF Jess. And we will have a good time. And if anything? It'll be a nice training run. Because from now until I toe the line at the start of the Cellcom Green Bay Half in May, it's on. No more excuses for missed runs.

3. In non-running news, I needed to revamp the reading goal for the year. When I set my goal of 45 books by the end of the year, I thought I was pushing it. After all, the last few years I either missed my 40 book goal or barely beat it. So I thought this was challenging.

I finished book No. 22 tonight.

I'm not sure why I've been able to read so many already this year. They aren't particularly short books and yes, they may not take a lot of thought to read, but they're still books that I have to read. It's not like they're picture books. Maybe it was the weather and the never-ending winter.

Whatever the reason, with already having finished 22 books in less than three months, I decided that I needed a bigger goal. So the new reading goal: 52 books. That's one book per week. According to GoodReads, I'm already 10 books ahead of schedule, so even if I do get bogged down and run into a week where I find it's impossible to read, I should still be OK. Look for the March reading recap in a few days to see how I've gotten to where I am.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Catching up with March

Wow. It's already March 18. Where's the month gone? I'll give you a few bullet points to catch you up on what's been happening with me.
  • It's been a pretty crazy, busy two weeks at work. Long nights. Long out of town training sessions. And because of that? There have been a few runs that have been missed. Probably more than I would have liked to miss. But I did.
  •  It's March. Therefore, the madness has begun. Love watching all the late season college basketball, especially the late season run by the Badgers. And absolutely can't WAIT for the tournament to begin this week. Which reminds me, I really need to find some time to fill out my bracket.
  • I leave for Raleigh, NC in less than a month! Vacation was officially approved today. Plane ticket has been purchased and I finally registered for the RunRaleigh Half Marathon tonight. Yes, yes. I know. I managed to screw up and missed the last price increase. Oops. But I'm still running it!
  • I'll be the first to admit it. I've been missing too many long runs. I've apparently become a wimp and can't handle running outside in the cold, Wisconsin winter. I guess I got spoiled last year with the super mild winter, because the thought of running many miles outside in the cold, snow, ice and wind, it's just not appealing. Especially since I'd be running them sans running buddy. There have been some long runs done on the treadmill and a few on the indoor track at the YMCA, but this last weekend? I just couldn't do it. A long run will happen this upcoming weekend though. It has to. Race day in Raleigh is like four weeks away. Eek!
  • Speaking of winter. The beginning of spring is on Wednesday. Today we got a fresh 4 inches of snow. And Wednesday's forecast? We'll be lucky if we hit 20 degrees. What the heck Mother Nature? I'm over winter. When will the spring weather arrive?

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Racing plans for the spring

After a lackluster December and January, I think I'm finally back on track to running with some regularity. Well, if you don't count the last week.

I guess that's what happens when I plunk down some cash and register for a race. Knowing there's a date on the calendar where I have to line up at a starting line and run a specific number of miles, regardless if I want to or not.

For me, it's two dates in the spring.

In April I'll be flying out to Raleigh, NC to visit my BFF Jess and run the RunRaleigh Half Marathon with her. It'll be Jess' second half marathon and my first time seeing her since she moved out to NC a little over a year ago. Needless to say I'm excited. I've decided to use the race as a supported training run, a way to get the miles logged and an opportunity to pound the pavement for 13.1 miles with a dear friend. We've already had the discussion. There will be no worries about time (although I might try to help her get a new PR). We won't feel bad if we slow down to walk. Heck, we won't feel bad about running slow. We just want to go out, run the 13.1 miles, and have a good time.

I can't wait.

My goal race for the spring is the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon in late May. It'll be my fourth year in row that I've done this race. Needless to say, I kind of love it. I mean, who wouldn't? You get to run through Lambeau Field! I'm just crossing my fingers the wind and heat that has plagued this race the last two years doesn't return.

My only other spring plans are the Sole Burner 5K that I do with my family every year in mid-May. And of course, Ragnar Chicago in June. I toyed with throwing in a third half marathon, the Wisconsin Half Marathon in Kenosha in early May, but after a lot of thought, I decided against it. Not only would that get pricey, but I really wonder if my super busy spring schedule last year was part of the reason why I ended up dealing with the nasty IT band issue the second half of the year last year. Really don't want to go through that again.

While I have gotten back into a routine and have been logging my runs, I have been struggling with my long runs. February was a super busy month, especially weekends. Two weekends where I ended up working (dang sturgeon) and those were longer than expected work days, meaning I didn't get my runs in. But now that it's March, I'm planning on getting back on track and logging those weekend miles, even if it kills me.

And there might be just a tiny bit of a bribe hanging over my head today. I've told myself, if I run my 6 miles, I can treat myself to Twilight Breaking Dawn Part II that comes out today. What? It's just a little motivation.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Reading Recap

I’m not sure how I was able to read so much in February considering it is the shortest month and I was fairly busy. But I did. And let me tell you, there were some good titles this month.

 I ended up finishing eight books in February for a total of 2,195 pages. That brings the yearly total to 12 books and 3,678 pages. Compared to last year at the end of February when I had finished seven books and 2,341 pages. Needless to say, I’m well on my way to my 45 book goal.

So what did I read this month?

Looking for Alaska by John Green
Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? By Mindy Kaling
The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo
If I Stay by Gayle Forman
MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend by Rachel Bertsche
Where She Went by Gayle Forman
Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Easy by Tammara Webber 

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.

Looking for Alaska by John Green ****
I read Green’s The Fault in Our Stars last year and I REALLY liked it, so I was eager to pick up another one of his books. This was the story of a group of tight-knit friends at a boarding school and what happens when tragedy strikes. Sucks you in.

I heard a lot of good reviews about this one, but maybe I’m just not an autobiography-type person. There were parts that were funny and other parts where I was just like, really? Overall, this really didn’t do it for me.

This was one of those random books that I picked off the library shelf thinking it might have potential. It was decent.

If I Stay by Gayle Forman ****
I don’t remember where I came across this recommendation, but I’m glad I did. A YA book that focuses on Mia, a teenage girl who is in a horrible accident that kills her parents and brother. She’s in a coma and left trying to decide whether to hold on or succumb to her injuries. Sucks you in.

OMG. I wanted to punch this author by midway through the book. Whiny. Annoying. She’s got her work friends, her couple friends and a bunch of BFFs scattered across the country, but now she wants more. Her Chicago BFF. So she goes on 52 girl dates in an attempt to find that person. And tells you about every single one. Horrible. Don’t pick it up.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman *****
The follow up to If I Stay. Told from Mia’s boyfriend’s point of view. Gives a glimpse into what happened after the accident. Couldn’t put it down.

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally ****
A YA novel. Teenage girl gets into a love triangle. Entertaining, light read.

Easy by Tammara Webber *****
Another one where I can’t remember where I got the recommendation, but SO good. Jacqueline goes to college, her longtime boyfriend dumps her, but she meets this bad boy who saves her from an attacker who her friends say is the perfect rebound. At the same time, there’s this econ tutor, who she never actually meets in person. There were some twists and a storyline about overcoming fears and standing up for yourself. Good stuff. Read it.

While I finished eight books last month, I am also in the middle of two at the moment. There will be a few books popping up on next month’s list that are re-reads from previous years. I normally don’t re-read a lot of books, but they’re part of series and new books are coming out. And because they’re all in that young adult dystopia genre, I need to refresh my memory so I don’t get multiple series mixed up in my mind!