A Very Pumpkin Weekend

In case you missed it, this weekend was Halloween weekend!

We celebrated with a complete pumpkin overload and watching by our favorite Halloween movies (aka movies that are not scary like Hocus Pocus, Casper, and Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin).

Saturday morning we had pumpkin waffles with homemade pumpkin spice lattes.

Sunday afternoon we took a break from all the orange and went to see The Blue Man Group perform.  For the most part, it was a pretty impressive show that included a rock concert, a nightclub, a variety show, and some good old fashioned paint splashing percussion.  Works of art were created.

Sunday evening we carved our pumpkins while watching Monster House (another Halloween classic).  Aaron pulled out the jigsaw (somewhere in this house exists actual pumpkin carving tools, but power tools are more fun).  I printed off a template and spent too many hours carving multiple tiny holes into a pirate.

Aaron's Masterpiece

My Finished product

 

Giuseppe sadly did not win the Pet-a-Palooza contest (thanks for voting!), but he still enjoyed himself today as a moo cow.  And by enjoyed I mean he tried to get that costume off anyway he could. I thought I would take him to the office to show him off and he proceeded to pee on my office carpet in front of the CEO.  I don’t think he will be going back to work with me for a while. At least it was in my office and not in the middle of the hallway or something…

Now we are sitting here with a bowl full of candy and underappreciated jack-o-lanterns because we live in a make-shift retirement community where kids don’t exist.  At least I have an excuse to eat lots of chocolate for the next few days (or next 1 day…). 

Tomorrow I feel that it will be socially acceptable to sing Christmas songs and watch Christmas movies. Tonight, I will watch Hocus Pocus on the Family Channel for the 2nd time this year while I eat another Reese’s.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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What I’m Loving Wednesday October 26

Linking up with Jamie at This Kind of Love for a weekly dose of Wednesday Love…even though Wednesday is really almost over and I should most likely be sleeping right now.

This is what I’m loving as I listen to the sounds of rain outside, drinking my pumpkin beer on this Wednesday evening:

1) Thriller (the Michael Jackson song): One of the best Halloween tunes ever.  Actually, just one of the best tunes ever.  Last year I learned the moves!

Zombie walk!

2) Christmas in the air: All of the sudden, Christmas is everywhere! In the stores, on commercials, on movie previews. This makes me very happy even if the cold temperatures do not.

3) The feeling of finishing my first half marathon: I know everyone is probably tired of hearing me talk about this, but I can’t get over it. I’m a half frantic!

Sorry, sport photos. I promise I'll purchase something!

4) Will and Grace: Reruns are on every morning on Lifetime as I’m getting ready for work (don’t judge).  This is such a clever, well written, and well acted show.  I laugh hysterically while Giuseppe looks at me like I’m crazy.

5) My new “Races” sub page: Since I’ve done a few races now (almost all in the last 6 months), and I seem intent on doing as many as I can in the future, I’ve started a list to keep track of it all.

Happy Wednesday! And remember to vote for Giuseppe please! We appreciate your support in getting Giuseppe to the top spot!

Training Tuesday Week 11 and a First Half Marathon

On Sunday, after running 13.1 miles and for a little more than 1 hour and 45 minutes, I sprinted across the Duke City Half Marathon Finish Line!

I ran without music, without any gels, and without a timing device.  I didn’t really get bored and I didn’t ever feel like I was going to die.  I was amazed at how easily my body took on the challenge and went with it.

The race itself was fairly well organized.  Parts of the trail were pretty narrow, the styrofoam cups at the water stations burst at the bottom when you squeezed them, and the 5K walkers seemed to be finishing about the same time, so both Aaron and I got stuck behind some slow people at the very end, but the experience was mostly all good. The course was beautfiul, there were plenty of water/aid stations, milage was clearly marked as was the course, other runners were polite, the volunteers were doing their jobs, and the crowd was encouraging. 

Aaron, trying to finish despite the walker people

Except for the results.

I know it happens every race.  Someone who crossed the finish line doesn’t end up on the results page. I’ve always assumed it was through some fault of their own.  For this race I was that person (and according to the DCM facebook page, there were at least 5 others).

I came off the race, feeling great and wanting to know my time.  I didn’t have a timing device, they weren’t calling out times on the course, and I didn’t see the time when I crossed the finish line, so I literally had no clue how fast I was going.  Plus, I WAS SUPER EXCITED TO KNOW HOW I DID!

It was a little discouraging not to see my name come up on the computer at the event after all the anticipation.  It was downright devastating to not find my name when the results were posted online.  I was frustrated that after working 10 weeks to get to the point where I could run a pretty decent half marathon, it might not even count.

Finally this morning (more than 48 hours after finishing and more than 36 hours after they were initially posted) the results were updated online, and my name magically appeared! As much as I want to not get all whiny and complain about something not all that important in the grand scheme of things, the results of a race, especially a Boston qualifying one, are pretty important. In fact, they are pretty much the whole point for most people! Not knowing if mine existed was kind of scary.

*ANYWAY*

I ran the course in 1 hour, 45 minutes, and 38 seconds! In August I made a goal for myself of 1 hour and 45 minutes for a race at sea level, and I wasn’t sure it was going to happen. BUT I DID IT!  And it felt great! 1,196 people ran the race, and I beat 1011 of them!

Aaron did amazing as usual.  He finished in 1 hour, 30 minutes and 26 seconds, putting him in the top three in his age group (he gets a medal!), and the top 40 overall!

And seriously, this means if my poor couch potato butt that thought 3 miles was a “long” run less than a year ago can do this, I really think anyone can.

It also means that I will have to lower my goal time for the next half marathon coming up in 2 weeks since I met my goal with Duke City. The race directors just altered the course due to construction and we now have to endure a pretty substantial hill at mile 7 and a really narrow course for 2 miles, but I’m feeling ambitious and now that I know I can push myself a little harder, I want to aim for 1 hour and 40 minutes.  We’ll see if I can pull off a 6 minute reduction despite the course changes.  I’m kind of wishing I had more time to train.

Post race (my parents brought me flowers!)S

Since it is the last two weeks before our “REAL”‘ race, we are tapering.

TRAINING TUESDAY WEEK 11

Saturday: We rested, but should be a 5 mile run

Sunday: Half marathon race! (should be a 1 hour, 55 minute run)

Monday: Easy 3 miles, strength training

Tuesday: Hill Intervals: 1.5 mile warm-up, 6 sets of alternating hill sprints (half mile) and recovery, 1.5 mile cool down

Wednesday: Easy 3 miles, strength training

Thursday: Tempo Run: 10 minute warm-up, 20 minutes at half marathon pace, 10 minute cool down

Friday: Rest Day

Also, Giuseppe made it to the final round of Pet-a-Palooza! After this week, I won’t ever beg for votes again (until next year!)….We would appreciate if you would please vote for him HERE.  Thank you!

What I’m Loving Wednesday, October 19

What I’m Loving Wednesday Link-Up with Jamie at This Kind of Love.

1. It Happened on Fifth Avenue: I was flipping through channels at 5 a.m. yesterday and found this on TCM.  I couldn’t stop watching.  It was filmed in 1947 and has charm, glamour, and all of the elements of a perfect Black and White film. 

2. William Sonoma Pumpkin Spice Latte kit: My mom gave me this as a present last week.  Now I can have a Pumpkin Spice Latte any time I want!

4. Illy Coffee: I’ve never bought it because I knew I would love it, but it is too expensive to purchase regularly  Well, it came with the PSL kit, and of course I love it. 

3. Nike Women’s Marathon Tiffany Necklace: I just found out yesterday that the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco gives out Tiffany necklaces (handed out by firefighters no less!) to all the finishers. Even though it is a competitive lottery process to get in, I AM DETERMINED!

Spunky Runner via The Eyes Have It

5. Boardwalk Empire: I have a strange fascination with the mafia.  Boardwalk Empire gives a great insight into how the great mob wars of the 20’s/30’s/40’s started out. 

6. By this time next week…I will have run my first Half Marathon!: Right now, this is all I can think about.  In just a few days I will know how fast I can run a half marathon!  (And then the REAL panic starts).

2 Days until the weekend!

Training Tuesday Week 10 and a “Practice” Half Marathon

The finish line is in view.  In just a few short weeks, I’ll be running my first half marathon.

Well, that isn’t exactly true.

We’re running one on Sunday, so I guess technically that will be my first.

The Duke City Marathon just happened to fall right in the perfect weekend for a “practice half” for us.  Even though I think Duke City is supposed to be a more serious and higher regarded race than the “real” one we’re  doing, it is much cheaper and with about a fourth of the participants, so I’m ok using it as a dress rehearsal.

Even though this should be more of a training long run instead of a run-so-hard-I-want-to-die race, I’m incapable of not being competitive.  Based on my pace from Sunday’s 12 mile run (much of which was along the same course), there is no reason that I won’t finish in under 2 hours.  I would be thrilled if I ran my first (practice) half marathon in 1 hour and 55 minutes.  If I run it in 1 hour and 50 minutes I will buy myself a present (but we all know I will buy myself a present regardless). 

If I somehow by the grace of Apollo manage to do this half marathon in my overall goal time (1 hour and 45 minutes) not only could that put me in the top 3 for my age group based on last year’s results (yay medal),  but I will probably also insist that a holiday be created in my name. 

But really, the likelihood of me sustaining an 8 minute mile for 13.1 miles at this high elevation at this point in my training would be a miraculous best case scenario.  Though I never thought I’d run a 5-k in 21 minutes either.  So you never know. I’m kind of a nervous wreck already even though it isn’t until Sunday and it is a PRACTICE race.  Silly Amy. 

Aaron has run this race several times including last year.  He’ll do just fine.

Pre-race…he looks so happy!
Strong finish!

(Friend Dustin ran the 2010 race as Batman…which is pretty typical for him…)

Here is our training plan for this week (because we have a race on Sunday, we’re doing a modified taper week).

TRAINING PLAN WEEK 10

Saturday: 4 mile run (should be 5)

Sunday: 1 hour and 50 minute run (we got in 12.1 miles)

Monday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Tuesday: Intervals: 1 mile warm-up, 5 sets of quarter miles alternating between 5-K pace/recovery pace, half mile cool down

Wednesday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Thursday: 40 minute Tempo run:  10 minute warm-up, 30 minutes at 10-K pace, 10 minute cool down (should be a 50 minute run)

Friday: Rest day

Oh…and don’t forget to vote for Giuseppe today! (Please and thank you!) 

Our Pumpkin Picking Country Goodness Adventure

McCall’s Pumpkin Patch in Moriarty, NM (about 40 miles east of Albuquerque) has been around for over a decade.  For some reason I hadn’t heard of it until this year. I told Aaron I had to go to a corn maze.  He found this place through a Google search.  Once I found out that I could get a corn maze, pumpkin patch, AND hayride all in one place, I knew  we had to go to McCall’s in order to have any hope for a perfect Fall.

McCall’s Pumpkin Patch was a little out of control (in a good way, not in a chaotic, scary way).

If we had kids, they could have taken a ride on the cow mobile, jumped on a giant pillow, fed goats, fed bunnies, raced rubber ducks, gone down a giant slide, mined for gemstones, and drove pedal carts.  Hello, kid heaven (and Aaron heaven)!

Aaron WOULD get stuck in the mud!

But, since we didn’t want to be the weird creepy adults that do the kid activities at the pumpkin patch… without actually having any kids, we decided to keep to the more socially acceptable “adult” actitivies…The Corn Maze, the Hayride, and the Pumpkin Patch excursion!

Shoulda taken a left at Albuquerque...

The corn maze was shaped like Bugs Bunny…at least that’s what we were told.  From the inside it just looked like a bunch of corn stalks.  It kind of felt like being back in Michigan with all that corn everywhere. Aaron was our navigator, and he managed to know where we were at every turn (I was too busy taking pictures of corn to notice).  We definitely had some families following us around, mooching off of Aaron’s navigation skills.

At night, they have a haunted corn maze.  As much as it has always been a life dream of mine to experience the feeling that I’m about to get murdered with a chain saw while in a dark corn field in the middle of nowhere, I think I’ll pass.

The hayride takes all the happy pumpkin seeking people from the main activity area to the pumpkin patch.  Turns out Aaron is allergic to hay.  Oops.  Other than his throat closing up, the ride was cool, but I kind of felt like we should have been singing country songs or John Denver or something. “Country roads, take me home, to the plaaaace I belongggg.”

I found out that if you lay a pumpkin on its side and keep it there for a while, that side turns flat.  I had a bunch of flat sided pumpkins to choose from. I did find one I was quite satisfied with at the very edge of the patch, but then I had to carry all 11 pounds of it back through untamed pumpkin field/dirt/potential rattle snakes in my flip flops.   Eventually, after enough grunting on my part, Aaron felt sorry for me and carried both pumpkins back to the wagon.

McCall’s, the little farm attraction full of autumny goodness, turned out to be a fantastic way to spend a fall afternoon (plus it was about 80 degrees, so it was perfect weather!)   I got my corn maze, I got my hay ride, I got my pumpkin pie flavored salt water taffy, and I got my farm fresh pumpkin! My fall bucket list is close to complete, and I still have about a month to go!

 

ALSO…Giuseppe made it to Round 2 of Pet a Palooza and needs to make it to the next round before we can even hope to win.  You can vote for him HERE (and we appreciate it!).

What I’m Loving Wednesday, October 12

Linking up with Jamie at This Kind of Love for What I’m Loving Wednesday…even though apparently I’m running pretty low on love today (I’ll blame it on BlackBerry issues and not enough coffee).

 

1. Fiat:  Fiat is making its US debut (hence the JLo commercial).  I don’t really want a new one, but I would love to motor around town in a vintage model. 

 

2. Christmas Commercials: Oct. 9th shall go down at the first day that I saw a Christmas commercial this holiday season! Avon, you make my Christmas dreams come true!

 

3.  Warm Weather:  I was a little nervous this past weekend when we woke up to snow, so I unpacked my sweaters. But it was a false alarm! We’re still holding strong at almost 80 degrees this week.

 

4. McCalls Pumpkin Patch:  located on the other side of the mountain, McCall’s Farm is a wonderland of Autumn goodness.  I hope to wipe out half my “Fall Bucket List” with a visit there this weekend

Training Tuesday Week 9 and a Marathon Baby

So I was planning on writing about how I went to Heart and Sole Running Store on Saturday and got analyzed for the proper  shoe by running on a treadmill equipped with a foot camera that recorded my movements.  I got to see how much my foot rolls in on each stride (pronation) and how the right shoe actually corrects it.  I was going to write about how I learned I was wearing the wrong size running shoe (half-size too small), and how I picked up a pair of Mizuno Wave Inspire 7’s with the hope that these shoes will magically help me run a really fast half marathon. 

 

I was going to write about this until I read this headline:

“Woman Gives Birth After Running Chicago Marathon.”

Um….WHAT?

Turns out homegirl (27-year old Amber Miller) decided to run the Chicago Marathon a mere 8 days before her due date (this was the third marathon she ran while pregnant and 8th overall).  She did get her doctor’s approval to do a walk/run, and she finished in 6 hours and 25 minutes.  Then she realized she was having contractions and went to the hospital where she delivered a baby 7 hours later.

I don’t quite know if I should be in awe of this woman’s dedication and strength…or to think of her as completely crazy.  I’ve seen women 8 days before their due date and they are mostly sweaty, have swollen feet (that they can’t see), and just want the baby to come out already.  Why would you decide that was a good time to move 26.2 miles in a racing situation? I’m miserable if I run a few miles after ingesting a breakfast burrito.

Mostly, I feel like if this lady can run/walk 26.2 miles with a 7 pound, 9 ounce kid attached (as in umbilical cord attached), then I should pretty much not be feeling sorry for myself on mile 11 out of 13.1 when I have no 7 pound 9 ounce kid ready to pop out.  Way to make the rest of us look lazy, Running Pregnant Lady.

But congratulations! I’m glad everything turned out ok, and better you than me, my friend. 

On that happy thought….

TRAINING PLAN: WEEK 9

Saturday: 4 mile run (we incorporated balloon chasing into it!)

Sunday: 1 hour, 45 minute run (we got in 11.5 miles…almost to 13.1!)

Monday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Tuesday: Hill intervals: 1.5 mile warm-up run, 12 uphill sprints alternating with downhill recovery, 1.5 mile cool-down run

Wednesday: Easy 3 mile run, strength training

Thursday: 50 Minute Tempo Run: 10 minute warm-up, 30 minutes at 10-K speed, 10 minute cool down

Friday: Day of Rest

Sometimes, Balloons and Snow Sabotage Our Morning Run

It seems that Albuquerque decided to skip right over fall and go straight into Winter on Friday night (though it has returned back to normal). 

Aaron and I woke up and got out the door on Saturday morning for our 4 mile jog, and we were quite surprised to see snowy mountains.  New Mexico has some nutty weather, but a snow storm on the second weekend of October is a little unusual.

If that wasn’t crazy enough… This weekend was the last for this year’s Balloon Fiesta.  Typically, the balloons follow a wind pattern called “the box” which takes them in a giant loop around the Balloon Fiesta park. 

It looks like the box wasn’t quite boxing it up on Saturday morning, because the balloons were all hovering right above our neighborhood (which isn’t really anywhere near the park)!  While this probably caused some problems for the balloonists, we were thrilled! Aaron grabbed the camera, and we started off our run/picture-taking extravaganza. 

View from our front yard!

As we were running and snapping pictures, we noticed the balloons were heading toward the golf course down the street, so we started chasing them.  What else could we do?

See? I'm chasing!

It looks like half the city had the same idea.  When we got to the golf course, there were hundreds of people there to watch the balloons land.  The golfers looked a little bit (actually a lot bit) annoyed.  Some continued to hit balls even though very excited little kids (and large balloons) were standing right there. 

I usually don’t put on make-up or do anything to make myself presentable before a morning run.  I kind of wish I had on Saturday.  Not only was Aaron going picture crazy, but a nice lady asked if we wanted our picture taken.  I apologized to her for looking so yucky.  We were drawing lots of attention because we were running and picture taking at the same time. 

We're so cute and put together!

We did get our 4 miles in, but it was a very distracted (and cold) run.  And of course completely beautiful. I made my peace with fall (pre-winter?) on Saturday morning.

Also, FYI, Giuseppe is running for cutest pet in the Pet-a-Palooza contest.  You can vote for him once per day until Friday for the first round HERE.  Giuseppe thanks you!

Balloons in the Sky

 

Tomorrow is the start of the second (and final) weekend of the 40th Balloon Fiesta.  I guess all good things must come to an end.

Despite perfect conditions last weekend, overall, the weather has been less than cooperative this year with unusual rain storms and high winds.  Today is the 2nd day in a row of event cancellations. 

Luckily, Aaron and I got out to the field last Sunday to experience firsthand the thrill of being surrounded by massive, vibrantly colorful hot air balloons (and sleepy people).  Last weekend had record-breaking crowds (and record-breaking balloon take-offs), so we were not the only Crazies up at the crack of dawn to look at balloons.

Pictures obviously speak so much louder than words.