Thursday, December 31, 2009

Books: A Year in Review

So close. Yet so far.

I set out with the goal to read 40 books in 2009, just like I do every year. And every year I've surpassed the goal.

Not this year.

Maybe it was deciding to start out by tackling Gone with the Wind. At 1,024 pages, that puppy took me 51 days to read. Fifty-one days. That's a lot of pages. And a long time. And seeing February end with two books read? Kind of painful. So it was a bit hard to regroup. But I tried. Yes, I tossed in some short books that I've read before. But I tried to reach that 40 book goal.

So close. Yet so far.

I finished the year with 39 books consisting of 12,594 pages. That's compared to 45 books and 15,397 pages last year. The longest book I read this year? Do you have to ask? Of course it's Gone with the Wind at 1,024 pages. The shortest? Why They Killed Big Boy and Other Stories by Michael Perry at 94 pages (yet I still managed to take three days to read it).

There were some good ones. And some not so good ones. I really liked Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer and I just finished Open by Andre Agassi, had to read about the tennis career of the man who made me fall in love with the game. The worst? This award goes to Pan, Pan, Pan! A Survivor's Story by Capt. Denis G. Murphy. Granted I was expecting much since it was thrust into my hands by an over-eager pilot at AirVenture. If you see it on a shelf, take my advice. Let it sit.

So what's the list of 2009 completed books look like?

1. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
2. Testimony by Anita Shreve
3. The Reader by Bernard Schlink
4. The Broker by John Grisham
5. Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron
6. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
7. Mistaken Identity: Two Families, One Survivor, Unwavering Hope by Don & Susie Van Ryn and Newell, Collen & Whitney Cerak
8. Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde
9. The Innocent Man by John Grisham
10. The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde
11. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
12. Why They Killed Big Boy and Other Stories by Michael Perry
13. The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young
14. Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty
15. Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde
16. No Limits: The Will to Succeed by Michael Phelps
17. Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
18. Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs and Parenting by Michael Perry
19: Thursday Next: First Among Sequels by Jasper Fforde
20. Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan
21. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
22. Charmed Thirds by Megan McCafferty
23. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
24. Fourth Comings by Megan McCafferty
25. Perfect Fifths by Megan McCafferty
26. In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
27. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
28. Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen
29. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
30. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
31. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
32. It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong
33. Ford County by John Grisham
34. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
35. It Was On Fire When I Lay Down On It by Robert Fulgham
36. Pan, Pan, Pan! A Survivor's Story by Capt. Denis G. Murphy
37. No Bed of Roses by Chris Kennedy
38. The Christmas Tree by Julie Salamon
39. Open: An Autobiography by Andre Agassi

What's on tap reading wise for 2010? Not sure. I've got a couple on hold at the library that I'm waiting to come in. And there are a few others that I want to read. All I know is I'm not starting 2010 out with a 1,024-page classic.

A 2009 year in review

There are just over 7 hours left in 2009.

Overall I'm OK with how the year turned out. Made some mistakes. Had some some fun. Had some utterly craptastic days. Learned some stuff. In the end it all helped me become the person that's sitting here typing this review up.

So what happened in 2009? Let's take a quick look.

Not a very exciting month. Maybe because it was cold. It's Wisconsin. It happens. There was my first indoor triathlon where I took home some hardware. And that whole turning 29 thing.

It took me a month and a half, but I finally finished reading Gone with the Wind. And it only took 1,022 pages to stumble upon the passage I was looking for. February was also the month of Furlough #1. Took a side trip to the western side of the state and headed to Milwaukee to reconnect with an old friend.

Second indoor triathlon. More hardware.

Tore through the first four seasons of The Office. Managed to get stung while riding my bike. Ran my worst 5K ever. Went on a date with a 30-something guy who seemed to only talk about what he did in college 10 years earlier. The kicker? He reminded me of Theodore from The Chipmunks and every other word he used? Awesome.

A baby baboon took up residence at the community zoo. The lake flies invaded the city. The mosquitoes? They were blood thirsty and almost drained my blood during a run. I conquered the cliff road at High Cliff for the first time. And I ended the month with a nice long, organized bike ride.

Started off the month with Furlough #2. Froze like an icicle testing out the Lake Winnebago water. The cliff road I conquered in May? It kicked my butt during the run portion of the High Cliff Triathlon.

Ran a couple of 5Ks. Shaved almost 17 minutes off my Trek Triathlon time. AirVenture week kicks off. I'm in heaven.

Strapped myself in and flew upside down with an aerobatic stunt pilot. Yes, this is what bosses paid me to do during AirVenture week. Winged it at the Oshkosh Sprint Triathlon. Hot and humid, but I survived.

Started off the month dancing in the aisles to O.A.R. in Madison. Then throwing in a Labor Day run with an old friend. Setting my alarm at 4:45 a.m. on Monday mornings became a habit for me as I joined a triathlon swim class at the YMCA. Wanted to run the half marathon but just wasn't ready, so I experienced it from a volunteer's point of view.

Still swimming. Most of my runs have moved indoors to the treadmill since I'm a wuss and it's getting colder. Log my fastest 5K of the year at my last attempt at the distance this year. Finished up the month with a Halloween visit to Camp Randall to watch my Badgers destroy Purdue.

Had an unfortunate hair cutting experience. Still swimming - was introduced to the time trial. Unusually warm temperatures for November. I wasn't complaining. Tried to scamper after Santa, but got tied up in traffic. No worries, I was on time for my 5-mile attempt to trot like a turkey.

Wisconsin starts the month off on the right foot by beating Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Makes me a happy girl. A certain boy? He doesn't make me a happy girl. Rest of the month is full of holiday madness - cookies and presents and trees and friends. There was even some time to swim and run.

That brings us to today. With just a few more hours left, 2009's getting ready to head out. It was good, but like I said, I'm OK with it going. I've heard 2010 is on its way over. And I'm kind of excited to meet it. Maybe it'll bring some good things along.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A look back at a decade

I can't quite wrap my head around the fact that in a matter of days, 2009 will be over. And it's not just the end of the year. It's the end of a decade. That's big people. At the beginning of this decade? I was in a completely different place in my life.

So when I saw Jess over at 21 Days do a decade in review, I thought that was pretty cool and it was something I wanted to do for myself. So I give you, Badgergirl's review of the decade that was the 2000s.

2000: I was a college kid. As a college sophomore, I rang in the new decade with friends on a street corner in Pasadena, Calif. We had driven cross country for a trip out to a warmer climate to watch the Badgers beat up on Stanford in the Rose Bowl. Bucky continues its good year with a Final Four appearance (miss that game with a nasty bout of mono). In the fall I become a 6-pointer at the Wisconsin State Journal, my first "real" (i.e. non-college) newspaper job.

2001: I meet The College Boyfriend. Fall in love. Watch the Twin Towers fall.

2002: I become a college graduate in May. Follow The College Boyfriend and move to Indiana in the fall. I get my first full-time newspaper job as a sports writer. The College Boyfriend cheats on me. We break up. It's a miserable year.

2003: Misery continues in the spring. I snag tickets to first round NCAA games in Indy. Start looking for a new gig back in Wisconsin. 365 days after I moved to Indiana I leave, go back to Wisconsin for a job in The 'burg. I stop writing about sports and start writing about crooks.

2004: Mid-year I decide to start a weight loss journey. I change my eating habits. Start hitting the gym.

2005: A little more than a year after I started, I'm 50 pounds lighter. I'm happy. I start flirting with running.

2006: In September I leave The 'burg, take a new job at a bigger newspaper in The City on the Water. I still write about crooks. I start my blog.

2007: I train for and run my first 5K since middle school. I catch the running bug. There was the Great Neck Slicing of 2007. And I train for and run my first half marathon. Start dating The Coach. Then The Monster invades my head.

2008: It's a year of recovering from The Monster. The Coach breaks my heart. Not a good year. But I do finish my first triathlon. And get the word from my doctor that The Monster has left my head.

2009: Spent the year regaining my fitness and losing the extra pounds the medicine I took to banish The Monster left me with. Ran a personal worst 5K early in the year, did three triathlons (shaved almost 17 minutes off my time from 2008's Danskin time!) and a bunch of 5Ks (shaved 3+ minutes off that personal worst time from earlier in the year). Rediscovered why I like running. Oh and I flew upside down with a stunt pilot.

Not a bad decade. Some rocky parts. Some smooth parts. Some happy days, some sad days. I'm kind of excited to see what the 2010s have in store for me.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

HBBC Week 5

For a holiday week, I didn't slack too much. Managed to get some good workouts in early in the week and even forced myself to run on Christmas morning. Granted the days after Christmas? Not so much motivation. I thought about running. But that's about it.

One week left in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. Let's see if I can make it a decent one.

Monday 12/21
Swim - 5

Tuesday 12/22
2.3 mile run - 2.3

Wednesday 12/23
5 mile run - 5
45 minutes abs/weights - 1.5

Thursday 12/24

Friday 12/25
4 mile run - 4
.25 mile walk - .25

Saturday 12/26

Sunday 12/27
1 mile walk

Total: 23.3

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Smiles courtesy of a Secret Santa

Secret Santas are fun.

Especially when Santa decides to give you a gift that does not involve pieces of coal. Which is what happened to me last year.

I signed up for a blogland version of a Secret Santa exchange that was put together by Morning Runner and was paired up with Lacey from Common Objects and Everyday Events. And Lacey? She did much better than a piece of coal.

I got home from work on Wednesday and there, sitting propped up against my door was a package. I tried to wait. Really I did. I think I managed to eat some dinner, but that package was just sitting there, starting at me. Taunting me.

So I opened it. And Lacey? She did a really good job as a Secret Santa. When we were first paired up she had sent an e-mail, telling me she was going to stalk my blog to figure out a good gift. And stalk she did.

Figured out I like to read and that I've read Wicked in the past. So she sent a copy of the third installment in the Wicked Years, A Lion Among Men. I've read the first two and a few other Gregory Maguire books, so I'm super excited to crack this one open and start reading. Just might be the first victim for 2010.

And she included some stuff to satisfy a sweet tooth - cookies, ClifBars, peanut and almond butter and chocolate. This Badgergirl's got a stash of tasty snacks for her desk.

So a huge thanks goes out to my Secret Santa Lacey! Great job on putting together the package! Hope you enjoyed yours as much I as I liked mine!


Did Santa forget to leave some goodies in your stocking? Head over to Suzy's blog for a sweet Hammer Nutrition giveaway!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Final swim class of 2009

Monday was the final time my alarm would jolt me awake at 4:45 a.m. for swim class in 2009. Needless to say, I'm looking forward to sleeping past 5 a.m. next Monday.

It was the last swim class of the year and it was a kind of low-key class. Warm up at our own pace. We choose how far. We had 30 minutes from the start of class until the time trial started, and while there was some warm up swimming, there was also a lot of hanging by the wall, chatting.

I think I ended up doing about 700 yards with lots of breaks before getting ready for the 900 yard time trial.

When we first did this a few weeks ago, I finished the 900 yards in 21 minutes, 40 seconds. While I haven't really been working too much on speed the last few weeks, I wanted to shave a few seconds off my time. Heck. Even shaving a second off my time would have made me a happy girl.

Since there were a total of 5 of us in class, we all got our own lane, so no worries about circle swimming or running into your lane partner.

The clock hit 6 a.m., Coach said go and we were off.

And 15 yards in to the swim I had a problem. A goggle malfunction. As in the right goggle was filling up with water. And while I guess I could have continued swimming for the remaining 885 yards with one eye squinted shut, I knew that wasn't going to be very comfortable. So I hit the wall and paused. Ripped the goggles off my head, emptied the water and put them back on. Making sure they were tight against my face this time.

And started to swim again. No water in my goggles this time.

The swim was feeling good. I tried to mix it up. A "fast" 100 yards followed by a nice easy pace. Sometimes I did the "fast" sets. Other times I forgot. Mixing up my speed isn't the only thing I forgot. Around 600 yards in, I totally lost count of where I was. And when I came to the wall I had to pause. I looked at the kick board I had set up with the pennies I was using as counters. And I thought to myself. Am I supposed to move a penny now or in another 50 yards? Looking back, I shouldn't have questioned it. It was time to move that penny. But I sat there and thought about it. Finally I moved the penny and kept swimming.

Goggle malfunction - check. Forgetting how to count - check.

The last 300 yards were uneventful. As I came off the wall for the final turn I had a quick glimpse of the clock which told me I had 20 seconds before equaling my time from the last time trial.

Knowing it would be almost impossible, I didn't give up. I pushed it. Swam as fast as I could.

And hit the final wall in 22 minutes, 2 seconds.

Ugh. 23 seconds is what stood between me and my goal of finishing the time trial 1 second faster. Made me wonder what my time would have been had I not had the goggle malfunction or forgotten how to count.

Next time there will be no goggle malfunctions. And no counting errors. Next time the numbers on the clock will tell me I swam the time trial faster. Next time. In 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

HBBC Week 4 update

Four weeks into the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge. And Week 4? It went better than Week 3.

Monday 12/14
Swim class - 5

Tuesday 12/15
4.5 mile run - 4.5
45 minutes weights/abs - 1.5

Wednesday 12/16
2 mile run - 2
7 mile bike - 2.33

Thursday-Friday 12/17-12/18

Saturday 12/19
1 mile walk - 1 (I feel like I walked forever trying to find those perfect Christmas gifts)

Sunday 12/20
5 mile run - 5
Total points for the week: 21.33

Week 5 has gotten off to a semi-decent start. A swim and the Winter Misery virtual race. I get out of work early Wednesday, so I'm hoping to hit the YMCA for a nice long run and some ab/weight work.


And for those of you who like Gu, make sure you stop by Tall Mom on the Run's blog and check out the holiday-flavored Gu giveaway!

Winter Misery One Miler Virtual Race Report

I was supposed to do the Winter Misery One Miler virtual race on Monday, on the first day of winter, but a tough swim workout and a calf muscle that was acting up made me push it back a day.

Plus it was supposed to be 2 or 3 degrees warmer. And in Wisconsin in December? Those 2 or 3 degrees could make a ton of difference.

After finishing up at work tonight, I went down to my car, grabbed my bag and headed back into the office to change into running clothes. Let me tell you, heading out for an outdoor run in clothes that have been sitting in your cold car all day? Great idea.

But I did it.

The high tech weather machine from the 1970s in my office said it was 28 degrees outside with a wind chill that made it feel like 20. Hmm. A little chilly sounding, especially since I was running towards the lake. Into the wind. But I went anyway.

Threw on some running pants, a long-sleeve tech shirt with a short-sleeve technical T layered on top. Added a fleecy jacket, an ear band, my iPod and some gloves and I was set.

I decided to run right from work because it was dark and there are sidewalks, something I don't have in my neighborhood. Within the first 3 minutes of the run I got a rest break while I waited for a train and then I ran another few blocks before I waited for a gap in traffic at a super busy intersection.

And all the while I'm running on those sidewalks? I'm realizing that the people in the city I live in either A) don't know how to properly shovel a sidewalk or B) decided sidewalk shoveling is dumb and refused to do it. I swear, for half of the run I was running on packed, icy snow-covered sidewalks. And since I'm a bit of a newbie when it comes to running outdoors in the winter? This was a bit tough. I slowed down my pace to make sure I didn't step funny and twist an ankle, slip or fall.

Overall the 2.3 miles I ran were nice. I was running through one of the nicer neighborhoods and got to look at all the houses decked out in their Christmas lights. And once I was running fora few minutes, I wasn't that cold. The only part of me that was a bit chilly were my fingers, but I blame that on my gloves - I'm more of a mitten girl.

I was going to use my time from the second mile, but my first mile was actually faster - go figure, maybe it was because I was trying to move fast so I could warm up! So I finished the Winter Misery One Miler virtual race in 10 minutes, 42 seconds.

I'll take it. And I'm glad I didn't ditch the planned outdoor run and do the virtual race on the treadmill (which I considered). I enjoyed running outside at night and when the temperatures are right? I'll probably do it again.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Weekend Before Christmas


I finally get a chance to sit down. Granted, I'm sitting down to blog, the last item on my list of things to do this weekend. It's been a busy one. Which is why you get bullet points. :)
  • I attempted to finish my Christmas shopping after work on Friday night. Not very successful. Did manage to pick up a gift for my office gift exchange.
  • Saturday it was time for the annual cutout Christmas cookie extravaganza. My mom, two aunts and I get together the weekend before Christmas and make cutout Christmas cookies. Not just a few dozen. Nope. We triple the recipe. Instead of using things like cups of shortening, the recipe See here for photographic evidence of last year's edition.
  • I was in charge of the cookie cutters this year. Actually that's usually my job. Although they did make me roll dough for awhile. Something about getting practice for when they no longer can do this.
  • It took us 3 hours to mix the ingredients, roll the cookies out, cut them and bake. We ended up with 37 dozen. And in case you're wondering, that's 444 cookies.
  • After the cookie extravaganza I headed to the mall. There was Christmas shopping that needed to be finished. And this time I was successful. I've got everyone, except my mom, done. And shopping for my brother? Yeah, that was interesting. Let's just say he's getting the gift receipt, because I'm not sure if what I picked out is what he needs or wants for this hobby he has.
  • Then it was home. Time to shower and relax. Yeah, nope. Got to shower and throw the pjs on, but then it was time to make out Christmas cards. Yeah, I'm a little behind. But they're addressed. Just waiting for stamps.
  • When I got up today, I needed a bit of non-Christmas related me time. So I headed over to the YMCA. Jumped on a treadmill and ran. At first I wasn't sure how busy the YMCA was going to be, so I set the timer for my allotted 30 minutes. When the time was up, there wasn't anyone waiting for my treadmill, so I kept running. Ended up running 5 miles in 51 minutes, 10 seconds. Felt really good.
  • Then it was time to go back home and dive into more Christmas stuff.
  • First up? Decorate my share of the 444 cutout cookies. With the TV tuned into the Packer game (seriously Green Bay? You lose to Pittsburgh on the final play of the game?) I sat down at the table and started frosting. I was done and the kitchen was cleaned up by halftime.
  • Then it was time to move onto wrapping the gifts. Done.
  • Now I need to fold a load of laundry (did I forget to mention I was doing laundry today as well? I'm a multi-tasker, what can I say?) and jump into bed to read a bit before going to sleep.
  • It's been a long day. And tomorrow? Should be interesting. It's the last swim class before the next session starts up after the new year and we've got a 900 yard time trial on the schedule. And I'm lugging my running clothes with me to work because I've got the Winter Misery One Miler virtual race penciled in on the calendar. And since there are sidewalks by work, I figured I'd pound out a short run before heading home.
  • literally calls for an entire CAN of Crisco. And flour? We need so much, and have so much practice at this, that we don't count cups. We just keep adding until the dough gets to be the right consistency.
Whew. Even though that was bullet points, that was a tiring blog post to write!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Who needs a plan?

The legs were feeling a bit sore today after yesterday's run. That's what happens when I disappear from running for almost a week and a half I guess.

But I still wanted to hit the gym after work. So I planned on grabbing a bike and just riding for about 45 minutes. Armed with my iPod and a book I went to the YMCA and was floored to find that all of the bikes (well all of the bikes that I like, not a fan of the recumbent ones) were taken.

But there was a lonely treadmill. The one I used last night that had the non-functioning TV.

Like I said, I don't like the recumbent bikes. So I decided to jump on the treadmill and do a short run while waiting for a bike. I wasn't planning on going far. Maybe a mile and then doing some walking.

But when I started running? It actually felt good. And I was running at my normal early run pace (about a 10:20 mile). So my mile turned into 2 miles. And by the time I finished 20 minutes and 40 seconds later, the bike I wanted was free.

So I finished off the workout with 25 minutes on the bike and rode 7 miles.

And tonight? The troublesome treadmill TV? Worked perfectly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

No televisions were used during this run

It's been more than a week since I laced up my running shoes.

And I could tell. I jumped on the treadmill for a much needed run tonight. The legs felt like lead and it was just hard to run at first. Eventually I got into a decent groove.

But there were other problems I had to deal with other than lead-like legs.

Normally when I use the treadmill, I can stare at the TV that's attached to it. Watch the pretty pictures. Sure, I could opt to hear the sound too, but I'd rather listen to my tunes. So I just watch the images, read the stuff that's scrolling across the bottom of the screen.

Tonight the TV was malfunctioning. No picture. No sound. Just a blank screen.

So I was left with my tunes (thankfully!), the blank screen and the treadmill display screen. And of course, even though I tried to cover it up with the towel, my eyes were glued to the display screen. I watched every second and hundredth of a mile tick by. And let me tell you, those numbers were not moving quickly tonight.

I almost called it quits after 3 miles. But I kept running and finished my 4.5 miles. Was glad when I got it done, because running on a treadmill to nowhere without the pretty pictures to look at? Painful.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Swimmin' and HBBC Week 3 update

The HBBC Week 3 update will be quick. And kind of painful.

I logged a total of 5 points during the week. Between a snowstorm that spread itself over two days while dumping a foot of snow, work and a general down in the dumps kind of mood, it was hard to log some points. There were a couple of short-ish walks. And I spent some time shoveling (that counts as cardio...lifting heavy snow). But that's it.

I'm off to a better start already this week.


It was the second to last week of swim class this morning. And Coach? He worked us hard. The workout was 2,200 yards. Lots of drills and sets focusing on form. And of course we had to end the hour-long class with 10x50yard sprints with 15 seconds of rest in between. Brutal. Hard. But after a 200 yard cool down? It felt so good.

Next week is our last class and we've got another 900 yard time trial planned. I'm hoping I'll be able to shave a few seconds off my time from the time trial a few weeks ago.

I've really enjoyed the class. I learned a lot and feel that I've improved as a swimmer. There's another session starting up in January that I think I'm going to sign up for (hey I'm finally getting used to the early Monday mornings, I should keep doing it) and then another triathlon training class beginning in April.

With my swim out of the way this morning, I had plans to hit the YMCA after work and sneak in a run. But a throbbing migraine (the kind where lights hurts) made me decide to skip the gym and head home. The run will get done tomorrow.

Monday, December 7, 2009

HBBC Week 2 update

Week two of the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge went a bit better than Week 1, but it still had it's challenges. Mainly, I was working a night shift this week, which normally wouldn't be an issue. But my work schedule had appointments that required me to be at work in the morning as well, sometimes for a couple of hours, leaving me a small window of time that was considered my "break." Not real conducive to working out when you're only free time is an hour or two in the middle of the afternoon and you've got other things to deal with.

Enough excuses though. Hopefully I'll be able to banish the excuses next week.

So the challenge. What'd the week look like? Take a look.

Monday 11/30
1.25 hour swim - 5

Tuesday 12/1
4.5 mile run - 4.5

Wednesday 12/2 through Friday 12/4
too much time spent at work means no bootie busting for me

Saturday 12/5
4.5 mile run - 4.5
6 mile bike - 2
30 minutes abs/weights - 1
misc. cardio (a bunch of dancing at a wedding counts, right?) - 2

Sunday 12/6
took the day off to put up the Christmas tree and give the apartment a super hardcore cleaning

Total points for the week: 19

Not amazing. Not awful. I'll take it given the week I had - and trust me, besides working nights, it was not a good week.

Saturday helped out though. After an early morning wake up call to pick up a friend at the airport, I headed over to the YMCA. I just needed to run. Clear my head. Not think. And the treadmill allowed me to do that. So I pounded out 4.5 miles on the treadmill and headed over to the bikes for a short cool down. Six miles, nice and easy. And then the weights were calling my name. So I headed over for a bit, do some weights, some ab work. It was a good morning at the gym (granted I feel the effects of the weight work today) and got me in the right mindset for my best friend from high school's wedding.

Busting a move on the dance floor totally counts as cardio, right?

Friday, December 4, 2009

November reading recap

Eleven months down and that goal of 40 books by the end of the year? I best start choosing short books if I'm going to reach it.

I did read in November. Finished off four books for a total of 1,000 pages (that's freakishly even). That brings the yearly total to 33 books and 10,931 pages. Which means I've got to finish seven books in the month of December. Hmmm. Holidays. Not many days of vacation. Holiday preparations. Lots of work. Might be tough, but I'll try. And for the record, at the end of November in 2008? The numbers were 41 books and 14,437 pages. Yeah, I'm a bit behind.

But remember, I read in November. Take a look:

The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
It's Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life by Lance Armstrong
Ford Country by John Grisham

So yeah, half of the finished titles were actually re-reads, ones I've read before. But they were good ones. I love Armstrong's story. Very inspiring. And it fit well with it being Thanksgiving time I thought.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

When you say Wisconsin...

I interrupt the talk about running, biking and swimming for a moment.

Because my Badgers? They made me a very, very happy girl last night when they knocked off unbeaten Duke during the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Such a good game. Bo and the boys never trailed. Duke made it a nail biter at the end, but when the Blue Devils threw away that inbounds pass with seconds left? Oh so sweet.

And while it was on their home court, at the Kohl Center with thousands of rabid Badger fans cheering them on, so many people weren't giving Wisconsin a chance. But that Badger win? Not only was it the first time Duke's lost in the history of the challenge, they're now 10-1, it also helped give the Big Ten it's first Big Ten/ACC Challenge title.

After knocking off Duke last night and Maryland, who was ranked when the Badgers beat them last week in Maui, people should start giving the Badgers a bit of credit.

Needless to say I was a very, very happy Badgergirl last night.
Photo credit: Associated Press photo

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Not complaining about this December weather

Did I really just flip the calendar over to December today? Because bright sun and temperatures in the mid-40s have me a little confused.

Not that I'm complaining.

Today's original plan was to swing by my office and get stabbed in the arm with my seasonal flu shot and then head over to the YMCA. I rolled out of bed, threw on some gym appropriate clothes, grabbed my gym bag and headed out the door.

The nurse stabbed me with a needle and told me in two weeks (knock on wood) the vaccine should take hold and hopefully I won't have to worry about the seasonal flu. That makes me happy, since I don't function well when I'm sick.

I left the office and was about to head over to the gym when I paused. It was so nice outside. A nice late fall day. This kind of weather? I'm not used to it in December. And with the weatherman predicting snow and cold temperatures for later this week, I'm not sure how many more of these days I'll get.

At that moment, I changed my mind and decided to head back to my apartment and run outside.

Dressed in my running pants, a long-sleeved technical T with a second long-sleeved T layered over the top, I set out. At first my hands were a bit cold, so I was glad I had grabbed my gloves. I wasn't sure how far I was going to run, but I ended up choosing the 3.25-mile route near my apartment.

It's the first time I ran since the Turkey Trot last week and once I got the bit of stiffness out of my legs, the run felt good. So good I decided to add on the extra loop and go for the 4.5-mile run. Like I said the weather was gorgeous for December and being able to run outdoors in the sunlight was relaxing, even if there were huge trucks passing me on one stretch of road.

I probably could have opted for a short-sleeved T instead of the second long-sleeved one and my hands eventually got warm, meaning my gloves came off and turned into something I had to hold. Overall, it was a good run. I'm not sure what Mother Nature has in store for me tomorrow, but if it's half as nice as it was today, I might head outdoors again.