Friday, November 30, 2012

November Reading Recap

So many books. So little time.

Obviously running took a backseat to reading this month. I logged a total of 35 miles this month in my running shoes and when you remember that 13 of them were during the Tyranena Half Barrel (a race I’ve yet to write a race report for), that’s not a very impressive number.

Tells you I’ve obviously been doing something other than running.

Well. I’m pretty sure you can say I spent most of the time I should have been running curled up in my recliner with my nose in a book. Because man. It was a good month reading-wise.

I finished seven books. Granted, some of them were kind of short – two came in at less than 200 pages each – but still. That was 2,121 pages worth of words that I read. It’s been a LONG time since I polished off that many books in a single month. I can remember hitting six earlier this year, but anything more than that would require too much work. And I don’t have that kind of ambition tonight. 

So the seven books. That brings my yearly total to 42 books and 14,655 pages. Considering my yearly goal is 40 books, it’s safe to say I accomplished that when I finished Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Love and Loss on Nov. 19. Compare it to last year when I’d finished 30 books and 11,018 pages by the end of November.

So what’d I read during November? Take a look:

Passion by Lauren Kate
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Love and Loss by Matthew Logelin
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Matched by Ally Condie

So you see, it was a nice mix. Not all young adult titles this month. :)
I did finally get my one classic in for the year. Can you guess which one? A friend recommended One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I wanted a somewhat quick read and know that sometimes classics are anything BUT quick reads (Hmmm, can we say Les Miserables?). But at 178 pages, Ivan (yes, after reading about his entire day I'm on a first name basis with Ivan) was just what I was looking for. It wasn’t bad.

A title that I could have done without? That would be book No. 40 for the year  - Two Kisses for Maddy. This is based on a blogger, who created this blog for his newborn daughter after his wife died less than 48 hours after giving birth. The book was born from the blog and honestly? It wasn’t what I was expecting. Kind of that poor me attitude and way more vulgarity than was necessary. Would I recommend it? Probably not.

What I would recommend was Gone Girl. Oh my gosh. I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this from the library for months. I’d heard a lot of good things and the recommendations didn’t disappoint. I flew through this thing in like three days. I seriously couldn’t put it down. Twists. Turns. Unexpected stuff. So. Good.

So what’s up for December? Well the library has continued with typical library behavior. Going for long periods of time without giving me any of my holds and then all of a sudden I had like six of them come in in a span of two or three days. So I’ve got a pile to get through by mid-December. I finished a couple already and have a few more waiting, so at this point I haven’t run out of reading material for the year!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Festival Foods Turkey Trot race report

I had plans start my Thanksgiving by heading out for a run with a turkey sitting on my head.

Yes. You read that right. A turkey. On my head.

But that all changed this morning when I heard the howling wind outside the window.

No. No. Don't worry, I still ran the Festival Foods 5-mile Turkey Trot. I just did it without the turkey on my head. Let's just say the turkey wasn't the best head gear when it comes to aerodynamics.

Other than the 20-25 mile wind gusts, it was a perfect morning for a turkey trot. Sunny. Temps in the low 50s. Perfect weather. Just that darn wind.

Oh well. I lined up with the almost 2,500 other runners who were heading out on the 5-mile route and after the national anthem we were off. I've done this race before, but this year it was at a new location, one that had me running through the neighborhood I grew up in.

The first three miles went smoothly. Nothing major. I was just out enjoying a run, and maintaining a decent pace. The last two miles were a bit tough. Probably because I haven't run anything longer than 3 miles since Tyranena almost a month ago.

But I kept running. I threw in a short little walk right after passing the 3 mile marker. I started running again, hit the downhill and the a nice little flat section right along the river.

It should be noted that I saw a lot of people who started out the turkey trot wearing the turkey hats. But either they got to warm or got sick of the turkey head flopping around, because I saw so many of those hats either tied around their waist or their neck. Anywhere but on their heads.

And then right after passing the 4 mile marker, I saw it.

The uphill.

Ugh. I knew it was coming. I just didn't remember this hill being quite so steep. Seriously. Like straight up.

And knowing my IT band still doesn't like hills, if I was smart, I would have slowed up and walked the hill. But I'm stubborn. I pushed ahead and ran. Well, if you could call the shuffle I did up that hill running. But I ran. And then promptly took a 30 second walk break once I hit the top.

I'm pretty sure I deserved it.

I finished up the less three-quarters of a mile, crossed the finish line in 54:56  and collected my free personal sized pumpkin pie. It wasn't my fastest turkey trot, but it was a nice run this morning.

And made feel slightly less guilty about taking that second piece of desert after a Thanksgiving feast today.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Three Things Thursday: Tyranena Edition

1. Want to hear something funny? I'm running the Tyranena Beer Run half marathon this weekend. Why's that funny you ask? Well, since my stellar performance at Fox Cities on Sept. 23, I've run a grand total of 33 miles. Yup. You read that right. I believe if you look back at my training log, you'll find one 10.3 miles run and a handful of 3- and 4-milers. Needless to say I haven't had much of a desire to run this month. So, I'll go into the run Saturday woefully undertrained. I fully expect to be slow, I'll probably end up walking some (the cranky IT band isn't going to like those hills) and there's a chance I might just set a PW for the year. But I'm OK with that because....

2. I never signed up for this race to be fast. I signed up because of all the people who will be there! My Ragnar Chicago team will be there for a mini-reunion, a ton of the Milwaukee/Madison running peeps I know will be there along with my running partner in crime Peggy and our good friend Myriah. So if I have to run 13.1 miles in order to hang out and drink beer with these folks? It's totally worth it. Needless to say I'm super excited.

3. What's not so exciting? Looking at the forecast.

Huh. Rain. Temps in the low 40s. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, it seems like every race I've run this year (with the exception of Fox Cities and the Madison Mini) has come with not so ideal weather conditions. The saving grace? We all know weathermen aren't exactly the most reliable folks. Heck, when I looked at the weather forecast Wednesday afternoon, the rain chance was higher. So there's hope yet that the rain drops will disappear or just be random, light sprinkles.

Bonus Thing: Since it is a race, I really should have some goals. But I admit, I feel a little odd putting goals out there since I honestly don't care that much about the number on the clock when I cross the finish line. But I'll throw some out there.
A Goal: 2:25. This might be do-able. Who knows.
B Goal: 2:30. I think I should be able to do this, even with some planned walking.
C Goal: Just have a great time, running and spending time with friends.