Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mostly Madness here

Just thought I'd check in.

Nothing too exciting to report. There's been some running. Mother Nature still hasn't decided if spring can officially arrive here in Wisconsin, although it is supposed to be almost 40 today and quite possibly break 50 tomorrow.

I've been watching a lot of NCAA basketball, because really, March Madness is an amazing time of year. And this year's there's been a lot of Madness. Surprisingly, my bracket held up pretty well through the first weekend of the tournament. But then last night happened and Louisville decided to lose to Kentucky. There goes one of my championship game picks. Ugh.

Source: Associated Press

But the Badgers.

Oh the Badgers. They're making me happy. They clobbered Baylor in a much-talked about Sweet Sixteen match up. Seriously, the Badgers went Bear hunting and the Bears looked like they didn't have a clue what a basketball was at times.

So tonight they play Arizona for a trip to the Final Four. And of course I'll be watching. And screaming. And pacing. And hopefully when it's all done, sometime around 10 p.m., I'll be a very happy Badger. If not? Well, they still had an amazing season.

And if you've got a few minutes to kill, read this. Seriously. The best piece I read in all of the Elite 8 bound Badger coverage (and of course I read a lot). It says nothing about Xs and Ox, rather it's about the people. Specifically coach Bo Ryan and his Dad.

Now, off to decide if I want to run today, or wait for slightly warmer temperatures and battle some potential wind tomorrow. I'm leaning towards tomorrow at this point.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Battered legs and sunshine

I've been on a bit of a running/working out hiatus for almost the last two weeks.

See, I nearly killed myself stepping into the shower two weeks ago Wednesday. I had one foot in the shower, one foot on the bathroom floor and the foot in the shower slipped. I nearly faced planted, but was able to avoid it. What I couldn't avoid was banging my other leg into the side of the tub.

Photos don't do the bruises justice.

That's left me with some pretty epic bruises from my ankle to my knee. So I babied it for the first three days. I was all set to go for my long run that weekend, but then I got this weird twinge in my knee (the one that was in the shower). I hurt. So I decided to take the time off, rest it and ice it.

It finally felt better this past weekend, but I had a family emergency come up and I wasn't able to get a long run in.

My training plan said today was a cross training day and I was excited to get back to P90X, but then the weather happened. And after the winter I've just been through - 50 or more days when the temperatures were sub-zero, lots of wind - meant I spent way too much time on a treadmill or running in circles on an indoor track.

So when it's 53 and sunny out on March 10, I didn't bat an eyelash at changing my training plan. I'm all for being flexible.

Especially when this is the forecast for the rest of the week:

I snuck out of work a little early and headed home to run. I can't remember the last time I dressed in capris and a short-sleeve T-shirt for a post-work outdoor run. Oh yeah, that was the other thing. Daylight! And the sun was still shining for an hour AFTER I was done running.

Since I wasn't sure how my beat up legs were going to feel, I took the run nice and easy. It was four glorious miles. The kind of run I needed to remind myself why I like to run.

Now if only the snow and cold would disappear from the forecast. At least until December.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

February Reading Recap

The theme of February's reading choices is vacation mode. As in, I wanted quick, mindless entertaining books to read while in Key West. Because who wants to read books that actually require thought while on vacation? Not me.

So I finished six books in February 2,478 pages. That brings the yearly total to 12 books and 4,117 pages. I'd say I have a decent start on my 77 book goal. Only 65 more to go.

So what'd I read?

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
Frostbite by Richelle Mead
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

See the theme? Yup. I started in on the six-book Vampire Academy series. Nothing like YA books and vampires to keep me entertained while on vacation. And since I had all six in my possession, I had to keep reading them once I got home. I mean, it only makes sense.

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 Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood  ****
A psychological thriller. I'm not sure where I first heard of this title, but it was definitely a good read. Kind of kept you thinking throughout.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead  ***
Frostbite by Richelle Mead  ***
Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead  ****
Blood Promise by Richelle Mead  ****
Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead  ***
These all get lumped together because, well, vacation read. Mindless and entertaining. Pretty quick reads. Although I am kind of getting to the point where I'm wondering if this really needed to be a six-book series. But of course I kept reading, because I need to find out what happens.

So I've got one more of the Vampire Academy books left to read and then it's returning to some non-vampire books this month. And of course the library has come through with about a million of my requests at once. So it looks like I'll be doing some reading and probably collecting a few late fees at the library in the process.

What are you all reading?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Ragnar Florida Keys - Part V: The Rest of the Fun

So after we finished running from Miami to Key West, I still had 2.5 days to enjoy the sights and stuff that Key West had to offer.

I present to you the rest of my Key West vacation, in picture format with limited words:

After waking from the dead on Sunday morning, I enjoyed some quiet time next to my hotel's pool with my book. Seriously, I could have spent the rest of my vacation here, but there was so much more to do and see.

First it was off to a little Cuban place for some pretty tasty tacos. I may have seen a rooster sneak into the kitchen and steal a piece of meat while I was waiting for my food. Apparently roosters wandering around Key West is completely normal.

Then it was off to jet ski around the island with Erica, Chris and Mo. So. Much. Fun. I hadn't been on a jet ski in nearly 20 years, but I figured out what I was doing pretty quickly. Mo and I doubled up on a jet ski, and I may have almost lost her once or twice on the choppy Atlantic side of the island, but no worries. We made it around the island and no one was lost. The tour was fun, we stopped in a couple of places, learned some Key West history and even had a chance to have fun near the end by either heading off and doing crazy things on the jet ski or floating in the Gulf. Yup. I floated with Mo and Erica. And then fell off the jet ski trying to get back on.

Later Sunday it was time to relax by the pool side tiki bar with some margaritas while watching some Winter Olympics (biathlon). Not kidding.

There was some celebratory drinking and eating on Duval Street at night.

Monday started off with a pool side massage that was to die for.

Then Mo and I headed out to explore the island. This day was a lot of fun. I've known Mo for a few years on Twitter and through mutual friends and we've gotten a chance to meet at races before, but this was the first time I got to spend a lot of time with her.

We took our hotel shuttle down toward Duval Street and started off with some pizza at this little pizza joint. What? You mean you don't go for pizza while in Key West? Well, both Mo and I had been craving pizza since sometime around the end of our nighttime legs. So we got pizza. And it was delicious.

Then it was off to explore.

We headed down to see the cruise ships.

Wandered around Mallory Square and then headed to the check out the Southern most Point. I tried hard, but couldn't catch a glimpse of Cuba.

Then it was time to rehydrate with margaritas at the Southernmost Beach. While watching the Winter Olympics. Today it was curling.

Then we found Mile Marker Zero on our way back.

Mo and I then stopped at World of Beer. So many beers. So many choices. And for this beer drinker it was hard to choose. But I ended up with some tasty drinks. And of course, we caught some more Olympic coverage.

After a couple of drinks - and some chips and salsa - we realized it was nearly sunset and we were close to this fabulous pier where a lot of people watch the sun go down and there's a nightly festival. So we high-tailed it over there. And it was totally worth it.

We got some food at this little out of the way restaurant. It had a restaurant dog! And the quesadilla I had was amazing. And we sat at picnic tables. Then it was time to head back to the corner where the hotel shuttle would pick us up, but not before we got some gelato at the pizza place we ate at earlier. There was talk of maybe heading down to the pool, but both of us sprawled out on our beds with our books and called it an early night.

Tuesday was my last day in Key West, and I only had a few hours before my flight left. But I got up early and headed out for a short run along the ocean path with Mo and our teammate Michelle. The reason? I wanted to catch a sunrise run in Key West.

While the run itself was hard, it was totally worth it.

And on our way back, Mo and I had to stop at the Welcome/Thanks for Coming sign.

Then it was back to the hotel to shower, eat and get ready to head home.

Funny story. I had a connecting flight in Atlanta, and this was the day a massive winter storm was supposed to start hitting the south. I barely made my flight and as I was boarding, the flight attendants were asking passengers to get settled quickly so we could get out of Atlanta. I didn't think anything of it until we landed in Milwaukee and the airport didn't have a jet way for us. Turns out my flight was one of the last to leave Atlanta and Milwaukee thought our flight had been cancelled!