Thursday, March 29, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Countdown to running group reunion! In just over two weeks I get to see some of my favorite running buddies when we tackle Runaway to the Bay, a 55-mile relay from Oshkosh to Green Bay. So excited for this first-year event. Not only for the running aspect, but just getting to hang out with these girls, who I logged so many miles with last year.

2. I had an iPod failure on multiple runs this week. Monday night (when I decided to run in circles for 10 miles), I was all set to try out a new play list. See how the music matched up with the run, if I needed to move songs around, etc. Well, apparently I started with the wrong play list and didn't realize it until 4 miles into the run. Sigh. This is why I try to only have one play list loaded on the iPod Shuffle at a time. And then last night? I'm less than a mile into my run and the music fades to nothing. Nope, no transition between songs. I'm talking mid-song. The iPod was dead as a doornail. Guess I should listen the next time the Apple Lady says, "Battery low." At least I learned I can still (barely) run for 3 miles without tunes or a friend to talk to.

3. In non-running news, guess what happens when there's no new TV on, college basketball is limited to the weekends and you need something to entertain you on TV? You get sucked into a series that you're almost ashamed to admit you like. At least I did. And that's how I've managed to watch 2 entire seasons of Gossip Girl in the last 2.5 weeks. Can't. Tear. Myself. Away. I have Season 3 in my hands right now, and I've been good in terms of limiting how much I watch. I told myself I needed to do other things this week, like run and read this thing called a book. But I can assure you there will be more Gossip Girl viewing this weekend.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dipping my toes back into the water

I've added something back into my workout schedule that I used to do, but haven't in over a year.


I used to swim at least once a week back when I was training for some triathlons, but last year I made a decision to really focus on running and half marathons. And when I was running five days a week, I kind of lost my way to the pool. As in, the last time I was in a pool was in January 2011, when I did an indoor tri on what just so happened to be my first run with my half marathon group (and also happened to be below zero that day).

So I haven't swam in over a year. But three weeks ago I was up at my parents' house and my mom and aunt were going to head over to the YMCA on a Sunday morning to water walk. They both recently joined t he Y and are really enjoying the ability to use the pool. So I went with.

And as I was floating up and down the walking lane with my noodle, I was glancing over at the people in the other lanes. Swimming. And I was jealous. Wishing I had my goggles and swim cap. Because darn it. I wanted to swim laps.

With broken goggles and no wearable swim cap, I made a quick shopping trip and picked up the necessities.

And two weeks ago I swam. And I did it again on Sunday. Both times I cranked out 925 yards. I admit. That first week? I remembered how hard swimming was. Seriously. I was lucky if I could crank out 50 yards and I'd be gasping for breath. But I took it slow, swam back and forth and got the laps in and in the end felt good. And it got easier this week.

So I'm happy I found my way back to the pool. And I'll be back this weekend. It's a nice change up from running and a little cross training is probably a good thing.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Running in circles

I skipped my long run over the weekend and tonight I paid the price. Saturday's weather was cruddy - cold, wet, dreary - and Sunday I spent the day battling a nasty headache, so running 10 miles really wasn't an option.

I could have just skipped the run entirely, but I knew I would regret it. So tonight after work I was planning on running long. I didn't know if I'd get all 10 miles in, but I wanted to run something longer than the typical 4 that I've usually been doing on a Monday. But our summer-like weather that we've been having? It disappeared over the weekend and we're back to more normal March weather in Wisconsin - mid-40s, windy. Knowing this and knowing I wouldn't be able to get a bunch of miles in before dark, I decided to head over to the YMCA indoor track for the run.

And I ran. I ended up doing all 10 miles. For those keeping track at home, that's a new mileage high for me on the indoor track and a 110 laps. That's a lot of running in circles. And although my cranky IT band (which had been behaving lately) got a little angry towards the end, the run went really well. The first 7 miles were kind of speedy - at least in terms of my long run pace - and the final three turned into the mental battle that I was expecting. But it was a good run.

I also learned that it's not the smartest thing to skip your weekend run and wait until Monday night after work to log a 10 mile run. Pretty sure I'll be busting out the compression socks for work tomorrow.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Then the dancing stopped

I'm a sad Badger.

It was a hard fought game, but Wisconsin came one shot shy of knocking off Syracuse tonight. So close. Yet the invitation to keep dancing was so far away.

Another season's done. Another one that left me with a broken heart. But I'll always love my Badgers and will bleed Badger red for the rest of my life.

Only 132 more days before NCAA football kicks off.

Photo credit: Associated Press

Three Things Thursday

 Photo Credit: New You Daily News/Associated Press

1. My Badgers are in the Sweet Sixteen! Needless to say I'm beyond excited to go home and watch them take on Syracuse tonight. I have a feeling waiting until 6 p.m. will be kind of difficult.

2. I'm hoping to sneak in a short run tonight before the game starts. This might be hard considering the start time. But if I can be out of work by 5 it is very possible that I'll be able to squeeze in 2 or 3 miles and a quick shower before tip-off.

3. I haven't mentioned a thing about my bracket this year. That's because it was busted beyond belief in the span of a few hours last Friday when both Missouri and Duke lost their opening games. In fact, the entire left side of my bracket was a disaster after the first round. Not pretty. In fact the only region that I picked well in was the East Region, where my Badgers are a No. 4 seed. I ended up going 7-1 in the first round, only because I went out on a limb and picked No. 12 Harvard over No. 5 Vanderbilt. Didn't matter because Vandy ended up getting beat by Bucky. But like I said, the bracket? It's busted. And I'm bringing up the rear in the pool I'm in. Not pretty. But the tournament's been fun to watch.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Did we just skip over spring?

I don't want to complain, but I'm going to complain for a moment. Well, maybe complain is a bad word. More like whine.

Mother Nature, where did the springtime weather go? It's not that I don't like this summer-like weather we're having - seriously, another day of upper 70s and I think we even broke 80 today - but I have to admit. I'm not ready for having to run when the mercury in the thermometer is still hovering in the upper 70s after work.

Tonight I had 4 miles to run. Nothing long. Just four miles stood between me, sweat pants, a quick blogging session and settling in to watch more episodes of Season 2 of Gossip Girl.

But those 4 miles tonight? Hard. As in it felt like I was running a lot faster than I actually was. And I had to stop for more short stretching/catching my breath breaks than I normally would. And I was wishing cursing myself for not bringing water along with me even though it was just four miles. Because I seriously felt like I was dying of thirst. The promise of an ice cold glass of blue Gatorade and water was the only thing that got me through the final half mile. That and the fact that there was a nice stiff wind from the south that made it feel somewhat cool. Of course that was also the direction I was running into for the final half of the run.

Even as hard as that run was, it got done. And I admit, I'm looking forward to the end of the week when high temps are supposed to drop down into the 60s. Still unseasonably warm, but at least it's cooler.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Running with the Raiders

The Panty Raiders: (from left) Linda, me, Amy Ze., Kim, Falon, Lisa, Amy Zy., Rachel. Missing Panty Raiders (but not forgotten) were Amy G., Running Diva Mom, Marcia and Amy N. All photos were swiped from Rachel and Falon!

Last week I got a chance to meet up with a group of fabulous ladies last weekend.

Two-thirds of my Ragnar Chicago team, the Panty Raiders, made plans to meet up in Madison for a run (of course), some Ragnar talk and just a chance to get to know each other. It's a team that's made up of mostly female bloggers from the Midwest (Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa and Michigan are represented) and while some of us knew people in real life, a lot of us just had connections with each other through the Interwebs.

One windy mile left to run. What better way to wait out a stop light than snap a picture?

The plan was to meet up around noon at Olin Park in Madison for a run. The plan was start at the park, head north along Lake Monona and then up through campus until you hit Camp Randall where we turned around. Most of us did 6 miles, a few went further and some who are nursing injuries cut it short. And in true Wisconsin fashion, it couldn't be a nice tame day for running. Nope. Yes, it was perfect temperature-wise, with temps in the upper 50s/low 60s. But the wind. Oh the wind. It was steady  25-30 mph winds from the south. Which was great for part of the run, but oh so brutal during that last mile. I ran with Rachel, Falon and Lisa.

A windy run is done! Now time for some food and drink!

After the run we all met back up at the park and headed across the street to a sports bar to grab some food and watch the Badgers take on Michigan State. Lots of chatter. Lots of running talk. Some had to take off for prior commitments, but after we were sufficiently fueled, the rest of us headed over to a campus-area hotel to de-stink-ify ourselves and make ourselves presentable for a dinner and drinks on the Capitol square.

The Panty Raiders require food and beer to refuel after a windy run in Madison.

On oh so delicious dinner and more chatter later, I had to take off. But the remaining Panty Raiders were off to explore a Capitol Square tavern named Woof! I can only imagine the fun they had based on the photos I've seen. :)

I'm so excited to get a chance to run 197 miles from Madison to Chicago with these ladies. Can't wait for June and our Ragnar adventure!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A week's worth of catching up

Things have been a bit busy here at Badgergirl's house. Last weekend there was a meet up with three-quarters of my Ragnar Chicago team (a recap of that will come) and then I spent most of the week without Internet access because one week ago today I replaced my dinosaur of a desktop computer with a new laptop.

Of course the switch to a laptop meant I spent most of the week waiting for the cable man to come to my house to hook up my wireless connection. And when the appointment finally came, he called and cancelled at 6:59 p.m., one minute before the end of the one-hour slot he was supposed to show up during. Something about he ran out of the necessary equipment to hook up my wireless due to some problem at an earlier client. Uh, OK. I guess. Long story short, the wireless finally got hooked up Friday during my lunch hour, just in time for me to leave for the weekend.

But this weekend? It was absolutely amazing.

Not sure what's going on with the weather, but we've had some very unspring-like stuff this past week in Wisconsin. We're talking 70s. Sunny. Summer-like. And it makes it difficult to remember that's it's still March. But I'm taking advantage of it.

Saturday morning I met up with my friend Peggy for a 9-mile run. We haven't seen each other for a few weeks, so it was great to get a chance to catch up over the course of 9 miles. It was a route we've route countless times over the last year. Even though we started at 7:30 in the morning, it got warm. Quick. She was the smart one, wearing a tank. I had to deal with sleeves, even if they were little cap sleeves, they were still too warm. My legs felt good throughout the run, even with all the hills in the last 3 miles.

The rest of the afternoon was spent watching college basketball, and almost having a heart attack when the Badgers were playing Vanderbilt. A couple of nicely timed 3s, great rebounds and, oh yeah, 6-11 Jared Berggren blocking the inbounds pass to deny Vandy a chance at a 3-pointer that would have sent the game to OT, and the Badgers left Albuquerque with a invite to the Sweet 16. Yes.

Which brings me to today. More gorgeous weather on hand. For the first time in more than a year I headed to the pool for a swim workout. And let me tell you, I forgot how hard it is to swim. But I managed to bust out 925 yards in the pool. And since it was so nice out - a bit windy, but nice - I decided to get my bike out and head out for a ride. I ended up going 15 miles. Of course as I sit in my recliner, blogging on my new laptop tonight, my legs are starting to grumble at me a bit. I think there might be a date with my foam roller once I hit publish.

So that's what's been going on with me. I've still got some blog posts in my mind that I want to write. Hopefully I can get them done in the next few days.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Things I learned this week: Putting off the weekend long run until Sunday afternoon isn't the best idea. Especially when you don't have outdoor running gear and have to run 99 laps on an indoor track in order to get your 9 mile run in without killing yourself on the treadmill. But that's what I did.

I paid for it Monday with achy legs, that got even more achy since I spent Monday through Wednesday sitting on an uncomfortable courtroom bench covering a murder trial for work. Hard benches, long hours sitting in one place coupled with very bad hydration (word to the wise, I've learned to limit my water intake when I'm in a courtroom all day since judges control when you get bathroom breaks) probably didn't help with recovery. So ultimately it was probably a good thing I didn't get to run.

2. But the jury took 30 minutes to return a verdict Wednesday and I got out of work at a normal hour! First thing I did? Run. I would have loved to log some miles outside, since it was 60 degrees and sunny. In Wisconsin. In March. But there were the steady 30 mile hour winds that almost blew me off the courthouse steps to contend with. So I headed inside. And the run felt good. Second thing I did (after scarfing down some dinner), I started watching Season 1 of Gossip Girl. Yes, I think I've found my new guilty pleasure.

3. Can't wait for this weekend. I'm heading down to Madison to meet up with some of my Ragnar Chicago teammates. We've got plans for a 6-mile run on Saturday followed by food and getting to know each other. I'm pretty sure there will be lots of talk about our upcoming Ragnar adventure! Can't wait.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Seroogy's Run 15K Race Report

Where do you even start with a recap for a race that was almost a month ago?

I don't know. And honestly, the details of the race are a bit fuzzy at this point. What I do remember about the Seroogy's Run 15K? It was cold. Oh so cold. We're talking maybe 7 degrees when the race started, but when you factor in the wind, it was closer to feeling like -10 degrees. Yes, below zero. So cold.

And when I went to pick up my packet there was a tiny part of me - ok, a big part of me - that wanted to switch over to the 5K distance when I saw all the other runners doing that. But then I remembered I had friends who would be out on the course suffering through 9.3 miserably chilly miles with me.

So I didn't.

I ran with my friend Krystal - the one who paced me through the miserable conditions at the Oshkosh Half last spring - and I admit, this turned into more of a just get the 9.3 miles done kind of run rather than an actual race.

The course is a simple out and back, mostly through residential areas, but there was a pretty section through an abbey, which would have been prettier had I not been freezing cold and miserable. Yes, I was freezing and miserable within the first mile.

But I kept running. Keeping a somewhat decent pace. Actually I was feeling pretty good through the first six miles. Started to struggle a little bit after the turnaround point. Took a Gu Chomp and kept running.

Then I hit mile 7.5. And we turned right, which meant we were running straight into that bone-chilling cold wind - and uphill - for the final 2 miles. Brutal. So brutal there were moments I just wanted to find a pile of snow (because of all weekends it decided to snow the day before), curl up in a ball and cry. Or freeze to death. But Krystal wouldn't let me. So I kept running.

I was losing feeling in my legs at this point. And my face. And my IT band was getting a bit cranky (you would have thought the coldness would have numbed the annoying pain). And even though I had my hand-held water bottle with me, it wasn't very useful since it had frozen. Yup. I was left with a frozen bottle of Gatorade. So I kept running.

Eventually I made one last left hand turn and I was in sight of the finish line. Of course this was the crappiest footing on the entire 9.3 mile route. But whatever. I crossed the finish line. Frozen cold. But happy to be done. Krystal and I met up with Peggy - who rocked the freezing cold race - and we went and got our cheese and chocolate. Yes. The promise of chocolate was the only thing that kept going during those last 2 freezing cold miles. And the chocolate was good. Very good.

I ended up finishing in 1:50 and some seconds. Not what I was hoping for. But it was cold. And I could have stayed in bed or dropped down to the 5K distance. But I didn't.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Reading Recap: February

Two months of 2012 are already done? Geez. Where's the time go?

Since there wasn't a whole lot of running this month, I guess I spent the time reading. Because I did read. In fact I finished four books in February for 1,437 pages. That brings me to a total of seven books and 2,341 pages. Pretty decent progress towards my 40 books goal for the year. For those keeping track at home, by the end of February last year I had finished five books and 1,652 pages. And nine days into the month of March I started the beast that was Les Miserables. And we all remember how that turned out.

Any way. Back to February 2012 and what I read:

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
50/50 by Dean Karnazes
Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Cutting for Stone was the main one this month. I had heard so many great reviews from friends. But honestly? I thought it was good. But it was long. And the middle kind of dragged and there were parts where it was just too much in-depth medical detail that I thought could be summed up or chopped out of the book completely. Don't get me wrong. It was a great story. There were just parts where I wish the story would have moved along a little quicker. I'd still recommend to friends, but just with the warning that I didn't think it was as amazing as some of the reviews made it out to be.

The Dean Karnazes book was good. I wish there was a little bit more detail about the actual marathons he ran instead of the pages and pages of detail he went into about training pointers. But then again, I guess that was kind of the point of the book. An interesting read, but not necessarily a must read for runners in my opinion.

And I can't seem to go a month lately without some fluffy, trashy young adult material. Yes, Gossip Girl falls into that category. Spoiled rich kids who can drink and smoke and sleep with whomever they want. But it draws you in. And just a warning, the second book of the series will show up on the March recap. Catching Jordan was better. Throw together a high school girl who is the star quarterback who is vying for a scholarship to a Division I program and a love triangle with her and two boys. Fluffy. But good.

At this point I'm not sure what March will have in store. Probably depends on what the library can get me.

What did you read this month?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. I've spent a lot of time this week working on a story about concussions and youth sports. Makes me glad I didn't play football or any other contact sport (I played tennis in high school). Up next week? A homicide trial that will be fairly gruesome.

2. Since I'll be sitting in a courtroom all week I'm pretty sure I'll be needing to get out and run once my work days are over. Not only to stretch my legs and log the miles needed for my training plan, but to keep my sanity. Promises to be a bit of an intense week.

3. Races. Races. And more races, oh my! I'm already signed up for Runaway to the Bay (a 55-mile relay), the Capital City Half Marathon (in Columbus, Ohio), the Cellcom Green Bay Half Marathon and Ragnar Chicago. I'm toying with doing the Oshkosh Half Marathon in April again just because it fits in with my training plan and it's so much easier to run 13.1 miles with hundreds of other people rather than solo. And let's not even talk about summer and fall. So many races that I'd like to do, just not sure which ones I can. Decisions. Decisions.