6 Month Bucket List Evaluation and Some Hunky Dudes

So I had a busy night last night, and didn’t have a chance to stalk everyone to find out who was racing this week.  Race Shout-Outs will have to take a break this weekend.  I’m so sorry!

I do know that Rachel is running a half marathon, and I’m hoping that the rain gives her a break this weekend!

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend! 

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So, here we are, halfway through 2012.  I can’t believe 6 months have gone by so fast! In January I made a Bucket List of items that I wanted to accomplish during the year that was a mixture of life experiences, personal growth, and fitness goals. As a bucket list, there is less pressure to make sure everything gets done as opposed to resolutions which sound much more concrete.  But still, I would have a heck of a year if I pulled it off!

So…at the half way point, am I anywhere near meeting my goals?  Time to revisit and re-evaluate my game plan!

1) Get Passport stamp #4: It is still a slight possibility, but it may have to wait until next year.  MAYBE.

2) Pay off credit card debt: Um….this needs to be a bigger priority…MAYBE

3) Ride in a hot air balloon. Wow, it is way more expensive than I thought it would be.  Still in the works though! MAYBE

4) Run a full marathon: ON TRACK!

5) Run a race every month: ON TRACK!

6) Compete in a triathlon: I suppose it could still happen if I can find a sprint distance in like, December, but it may have to wait until next year. And, it all rests on #7. MAYBE

7) Learn to swim: I started to learn, but haven’t been in the pool since February.  MAYBE

8) Read my way through Newsweek’s Top 100 Books of all time: This is probably going to take several years.  I’ve LOVED a few of these books, but some (ahem, Heart of Darkness), have taken me forever.  Like, great that you have such an extensive vocabulary, Joseph Conrad, but you don’t have to use every big word you know in one sentence.  NOT GONNA HAPPEN

9) Go on a White Water Rafting weekend expedition: The ones I want to do are in Oregon, and we probably aren’t going to get there this year.  All of the rivers here are pretty unexciting since we didn’t really have a snowy winter. But still not completely out.  MAYBE

10) Start dressing my age: Ummm (looks down at flip flops)….not even close.  We’ll work on this one. I always feel a little weird walking into a meeting with everyone else dressed professionally while I look like I’m running late to homeroom.  MAYBE

11) Visit a new state: ON TRACK!

12) Send a birthday card in the mail to people on their birthdays: I’ve done this a few times! So, I’d say, DONE!

13) Learn how to use my camera and take awe-inspiring photosI’ve learned a few settings, although Aaron has experimented more.  I’ll resolve to sign up for an online class.  MAYBE

14) Relearn French: I looked into Rosetta Stone, but a lot of people don’t seem to think that it is worth the price.  But I don’t want to spend money on a cheaper product and have it not work.  Anyone have any good suggestions? MAYBE

15) Go horseback riding on the beach: Still a possibility.  I actually looked to see if they offer horseback riding on the beach in Chicago, but it looks like not. MAYBE

16) Write a novel: I need to actually sit down and start first.  This seems to be the hardest part.  MAYBE

17) Buy a new car (hopefully BEFORE the Taurus self-destructs ). DONE April 2012

18) Do a massive house cleaning and reorganization: This needs to happen.  Maybe this weekend?  ON TRACK

19) Take the GRE: I actually had forgotten about this.  I really want to go to grad school for my own learning pleasure, but seeing as how I’m still paying off student loans and I have a job that doesn’t really require it, it seems kind of silly.  Still, the longer I wait the more things like long division I’ll forget.  MAYBE

20) Go to a live music festival: DAMN YOU PEOPLE AND YOUR MUSIC FESTIVALS!! (you know who you are).  I was actually thinking Austin City Limits but that was way sold out when I checked a few months ago.  This may have to wait, but I’m sure there are plenty of smaller music festivals that I can probably get to pretty easily just to say that I did.  MAYBE

21) Choose an NFL Team to cheer for and learn everything about them (then go to one of their games): I’ve narrowed myself down to three teams, but I still have a couple of months before football season begins.  ON TRACK

22) Win something (anything) in a radio contest: I need to reignite my efforts! MAYBE

23) Invest in a piece of artwork: This is still a possibility. I need to start looking into it.  I have a friend who is an art dealer, but I know nothing about the process.  MAYBE

24) Finish a Tough Mudder: This will have to be put off until 2013.  When I made the bucket list, Tough Mudder was supposed to be here this year.  They’ve postponed it until my 29th birthday (and yes, that freaked me out a bit to type that).  NOT GONNA HAPPEN

25) Figure out what in the world I’m doing with my life and take steps to get there: Um, yeah…nowhere closer than I was in January.  Life decisions are hard. MAYBE

So…we have:

2 DONE

16 MAYBES

5 ON TRACKS

2 NOT GONNA HAPPENS

Looks like I need to get my bucket list butt in gear! I’d like to accomplish at least half this list, otherwise, this is the saddest little unaccomplished bucket list in the land. Time to get going!

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Other Friday Noteworthies:

1) I wanted to say thanks to Laura who posted a link to a conversion calculator on her blog today.  It estimates how fast you would run at cooler temperatures (3 minutes off my recent 10-K time), and how fast you would run at different elevations (2 minutes off my recent 10-K time).  I’ve already spent some time playing with this!

2) My coffee grinder died.  I have had no coffee this morning.  This is really not fun. (As an example, I just published this without a title).

Question: How many of you ladies (and well…I suppose men too if you’re so lucky) are going to see Magic Mike this weekend?  I totally wasn’t planning on it, but then my friend texted me yesterday and now we’re going.  Not that I’m complaining.  I haven’t seen a bunch of women this excited about a movie since the first Sex and the City.

HAPPY WEEKEND!

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A Run Sabotaged by a Little Chiuaua

Its kind of funny.  On Monday, I remarked how proud I was that we hadn’t missed a workout.

Sometimes life has a funny way of saying, “HA, Sucka Foo.”

Among other little (hopefully temporary) glitches in the system to be discussed soon…

We were 2.7 miles into our 3 mile recovery run on Monday when I noticed a creature running after Aaron.  I laughed and said, “Aaron you have a friend!”  The friend turned toward me, I bent down, and he ran in my direction, happy to have the attention.

The friend was actually a chubby (and by chubby I mean FAT) black and white chihuahua with a friendly and calm demeanor.  He also didn’t have a collar, and nobody seemed to be running after him.

The thought of a puppy/child/ferret/any living creature wandering the streets when they are at risk for getting hit by a car KILLS me.  No way in hell would I let this Fat Chi wander along on his merry way.

We went to a nearby house with the garage open to see if maybe the dog belonged to them.  The man who lived there (who had an impressive number of nipple rings I might add) said it wasn’t his, and he actually knew all of the dogs from the surrounding houses, and couldn’t tell us where this dog came from.

We rang a few door bells, but realized it was a fruitless act.  Fat Chi could have come from anywhere.

We headed home (about 3 blocks away) after having to cut our run short, and kept Fat Chi in the backyard.  Giuseppe was not a fan of having his territory invaded by a furry football.

Fat Chi wandered around, marking EVERYTHING (well, he marked one plant, everything else was a dry effort).  Giuseppe ran to the plant, ripped off the marked leaf, and then followed Fat Chi around to keep him in line.

One of the reasons we got a Westie is because they don’t shed and they are hypoallergenic.  Aaron has horrible allergies, as does Giuseppe.  I have mild allergies.  All of us were puffy and sneezy with this dog and his pet dander around. We really weren’t able to keep him.

It was about 8:45, so all of the shelters were closed.  I called a 24 hour emergency pet hospital, found out they read microchips, and we headed on over.

{Aaron and Fat Chi outside the emergency pet hospital}

Since it was an emergency hospital, our little non-emergency didn’t take high priority.  The man behind the desk, who initially told us that he’d have to call in a tech to do a microchip reading suddenly found his magical abilities to do so, and got us a chip reading within a few minutes. I think there is some sort of common bond between dog people and if you go out of your way to keep a puppy safe, you’re an alright person and worthy of being helped.

Unfortunately 2 out of the 3 numbers associated with the chip were disconnected, and there was no address.  The third alternate number was a generic recording in Spanish (and since none of us knew Spanish, we didn’t think leaving a message would help).  We did however learn that the dog was named Chico.

We concluded that the best decision was to surrender the dog to the hospital who would then surrender him to the city.  I can honestly tell you that I have never been more heartbroken to hand something over.  Albuquerque is a “no-kill” city, so regardless, he will be taken care of until adopted.  Also, if the owners did freak out, they could call the city (the first call on any concerned pet owners list) and know that he was safe instead of out on the street or in some neighbor’s yard.  The city also has Spanish translators.

We headed home, and I took a copy of the information from the chip and did some reverse google searches (I am a MASTER stalker, and if you are anywhere on any website, I can find you if I need to…I seriously scare myself sometimes, but I know my boss appreciates it), but couldn’t find any information on the owner or his disconnected phone numbers aside from that the phones were purchased in Albuquerque.

Because my puppy is essentially treated like my child, I can  honestly say that I would be DEVASTATED if he got lost and we couldn’t find him.  We truthfully did everything within our power to figure out where this poor dog came from, including making circles around the blocks where we found him hoping to come across a search party at 10:00 at night.  I suppose we could have kept him in the backyard, circulated fliers, and hoped for someone to call, but truthfully we don’t have the time or resources to handle a 2nd strange puppy.  And who knows if he had some sort of disease or rabies or something.

We were also reminded of a few things through this situation:

1) Albuquerque has a law that requires you to microchip your dog.  I don’t know if this is common in other cities, but oh my goodness please do this even it’s not.

2) Microchipping does no good if the information isn’t complete or outdated.  If you’ve moved or switched phone numbers, make sure that your microchip reflects that.

3) Your dog should have a collar on.  Methinks based on Chico’s weight, he didn’t get out much, so he was likely an indoor dog.  Even so, everyone’s night would have been a lot less dramatic had we been simply able to call the number on the collar.

So, I hope Chico got reclaimed by his owners.  And as a firm believer in Everything Happens for a Reason, if he didn’t, I believe that he will get adopted into a better family.

The Cherry Garcia 10-K is a Mean Kid

First, I am officially my own person! I am now WordPress free.  And by that, I mean my new web address is http://www.LavenderParking.com.  It looks like everything is redirecting just beautifully, but let me know if things start getting funky.

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Wow. I was re-reading my Monday Reflection Marathon post at lunch yesterday, and I felt so sad for early Monday morning Amy.  She was obviously quite grumpy.  I’m already in a much better mood today, and ready to take on the challenge of training for a marathon in the summertime! But THANK YOU again for all of your encouragement and positive energy!

So, a big part of the reason I was grumpy was because of a disappointing 10-K on Sunday night.  In still keeping with my “a race every month” bucket list item, June’s race was the Cherry Garcia 10-K held at 7:00 p.m.  My sister joined the fun and ran the 5-K!

{It was an ice cream race, so I wore the most ice cream looking shorts I could find! Also, how awesome are Aaron’s sunglasses?!}

I kind of view this whole running thing like school.  You work hard all semester, studying and soaking up information, and at the end you have a test to see how well you’ve prepared.  The learning part is wonderful (at least nerd Amy thought so), but it kind of all rests on how well you do on the test.  That is where you prove your abilities and show what you’re made of.

So, if you don’t do well for the test, then what makes you think you can ace the final exam?

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I don’t think I will be doing another evening race (MAYBE RnR Vegas once they get their shiznet together).  Sunday felt like a waste of a day.  We had this race looming over us, and our activity and food consumption were limited because of it.  Plus, running a 10-K before bed made me really wound up, so I couldn’t sleep to save my life (which probably also contributed to the grumpiness).

Oh, and Sunday at 7:00 p.m. was somewhere between 96-100 degrees.  The pavement was radiating heat because it had been baking in the sun all day.  Though I do realize that it is probably more miserable in places where it is that hot and humid (we have no moisture in the air at all), or in places like Scotland where Rachel and Danielle are freezing, it is definitely not ideal for exercise.

My goal going into this race was to come in under 48  minutes.  This would constitute a PR since both of my last 10-k’s were either the first time I’d ever run 6.2 miles in a row, or when I tripped and twisted an ankle.  Plus, if I can’t run slightly under 8 minute miles for 6.2, then I don’t have much hope to run 8 minute miles for 26.2  At least that was my reasoning going in.

I am still kind of bummed that I missed my goal time by over 2 minutes.

My legs felt great.  I didn’t feel dehydrated (thanks Nuun!).  I actually felt like I was running a fast race for the last 3 miles.

But I wasn’t. I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t make myself hit 8 minute miles.  Even though I started passing people toward the end, I didn’t make it down to my goal time.

I also apparently started and then stopped my Garmin at the start line, and didn’t realize for half a mile in, so I don’t really have an accurate breakdown.  I need to get better at using that thing under pressure.

In retrospect, I do think aside from the heat, what slowed me down was stopping at water stations.  I never stop at water stations for 10-K’s, but I stopped at all 4 for this race to take a couple of sips and pour water down my back.

Also, the course and timing were not laid out very well.  The course was a loop twice around a block, so as the 10-kers made our way around for 2nd time, we came across the 5-k walkers.  They also didn’t have most of the major roads closed, so we were running in the bike lanes right next to traffic, trying to weave around the walkers walking 2-3 people deep.  Aside from being slightly dangerous, weaving through walkers can slow people down.

The course ended on a sharp 180 on grass into the sun where again I had to navigate my finish line sprint around walkers.

Would all of these factors cause me to go two minutes slower? I don’t really know.

Final time: 50:16.  30th overall, 3rd in age group.  Yay for small races!

There was an issue with the timing chips, so some 5-Kers were classified as 10-kers.  Right after the race I was listed as 4th in age group and didn’t get a medal (I’ve tried emailing the race director).  Also, they didn’t take out the top 3 finishers from age group awards, otherwise I would have been 2nd in age group. Victory!

Aaron also came in over his goal time, but he finished 9th overall (woot woot!), 1st in his new age group!

{Aaron and his age group medal.  Little did I know that I earned one too!}

I had wanted this race to be some sort of confirmation that the training I was doing for the last few weeks was working and that I was on track to hit my ambitious goals.  Not getting that confirmation made me uneasy.  But life goes on.  Really, a 10-K in June isn’t the most accurate indicator for a marathon in October.  I still have time to study for that big final!

The Cherry Garcia race lived up to its name, and we got some Cherry Garcia ice cream post-race! At least that part was awesome!

We celebrated with a post race beer celebration at our favorite microbrewery! Aaron, who has been avoiding beer because of the whole wheat thing, figured this was an occasion worth getting an upset stomach for.   Sometimes, a cold beer is the only cure for a hot hard race, gluten intolerant or not!

{Why yes, that is a Range Roller in the background.  You gotta do what you gotta do}

Marathon Reflection Monday

Well, HELLO Monday.  It’s a hot one down in these parts!

So, three weeks down, 15 left to go.

If I can please be a bit whiny for a minute, things aren’t falling into place quite where I was hoping they would (as in, I’m not hitting paces that I hit as recently as March and April).  I realize that it is hotter outside, and that heat is a huge factor in performance.  Running at 7 p.m. still means running in 90+ temperatures.  I also realize that I have 15 full weeks to get there.  But man oh man did I think I would be doing better at this point.

I’ve also gained 4 pounds since March, so I imagine that isn’t helping me go any faster.  Thanks, doctor, for pointing it out at my appointment on Friday.  (“So, what’s going on? You’ve gained 4 pounds since last year?”…well, last year I was fresh off a beach vacation.  It makes a difference!).

I WAS pleasantly surprised when he (my doctor) was supportive of my marathon.  Usually I get a lecture about how walking is so much better (in the most simplistic terms, your body is much more efficient per calorie burned when walking than running), but he even offered me some tips (all of which I  already knew), and was excited about it.  Probably cheaper to have a marathon training patient than an overweight smoker patient?

What went well:

Booze and Food: Still not perfect, but I’m making better choices.  The other day I actually ordered half a sandwich and salad at a restaurant where I normally eat cheese fries.  Even this weekend, my beverage consumption was lower than normal.  Maybe there is hope for me to become a healthy person yet!

Keeping to the Plan: Three weeks in, we haven’t missed a workout.  I’ve woken up way earlier than I’ve wanted to get my miles in, and we’ve had to run in ridiculous hotness, but we’re keeping to it.  We’ve been tired, we’ve had other things to do, but we’ve made this a priority, and I’m proud of us so far!

Hydration: I’m finally feeling like I’m getting my proper water intake.  We also tried Nuun this weekend.  It tastes really good! I have no idea if it is helping or not, but it does make for a tasty treat.

What needs Improvement:

Recovery: I started actually backing off on this a little bit this week, and I can feel the difference.  Doing good with the post running protein, but not rolling out as much. I’ve been neglecting my Stick and Foam Roller, and I’m paying the consequences.  My recovery runs are going well however.  Nice, slow, and easy.

Cross training: It has yet to happen.  Even the weight lifting I had been doing has started to fall by the wayside.  While I’m squeezing in runs, I’m having a harder time scheduling any other types of workouts.  We need some yoga in our life badly.

Pushing myself just a bit harder:  I’ve realized that a few months ago when I was doing really well with races, I was pushing myself harder.  But right now, mentally I feel like I’m holding back during every run.  Maybe trying to conserve energy for later?  Great for marathons, not so effective for 10 minutes in my tempo run.  Being uncomfortable for 10 minutes is not going to kill me.  I need to remember that.

Not being so hard on myself:  It is my nature to find fault with everything I’m doing (I think this is the case for most people).  For example, I ran a 10-K yesterday that was far slower than I wanted (more on that tomorrow).  I’m trying not to be bothered by it, but of course I’m bothered by it.  I’m trying not to feel like a failure when I don’t reach my pace goals, but I’m still feeling slower than I want to.  I know I’m not supposed to peak yet, and I still have 15 weeks, and it is hot, and a litany of other excuses. But I’m not where I want to be three weeks in, and that is hard to take.  Aaron keeps me from going completely insane with his encouragement as do all of you (thank you!), but this is a battle I’m fighting with myself, and it is hard not to beat myself up over it.

But I need to get over it.  I need to stop whining and channel that energy into something more productive.  There are bigger problems in the world than my inability to hold a half marathon pace for 3 miles.

Thank for letting me vent.  I try and keep the whiny (NOT wine-y) to a minimum, but I’m just in a mood. Could also be a case of the Mondays.  I’ll work on the positivity!

So much easier said than done…

Have a wonderful week!

Race Shout Outs and Heat (of the Non-LeBron Kind)

SENDING FAST THOUGHTS TO:

1) Julie from Run Revolution is attempting to qualify for Boston for the 2nd time this year at RnR Seattle! Julie actually BQ’d on her first ever marathon and ran Boston this past April, and is my inspiration! Luckily Seattle looks to be MUCH cooler than Boston was on April 16th.

2) Kelly is running the Slacker Half Marathon and I hear there may be gnomes involved!

3) Twitter friend Caron is running a 10-K this weekend in Colorado!

Good luck this weekend to you ladies and everyone else racing this weekend! 

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We’ve had a significant fire burning about 10 miles away from our house for the last couple of days.  The “Romero Fire” has been burning along the river since Wednesday afternoon.  So, in addition to dealing with running in the heat, we’ve also been inhaling smoke.

Luckily no buildings have been damaged, and it is almost contained thanks to a tiny rainstorm yesterday,  but the air has become quite smokey, and I’m sure plenty of wildlife has been destroyed.

Speaking of fire….

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, 54 degrees is the optimal temperature for running.  The hotter it gets, the more your performance goes down.  So, I wonder what percentage of my best performance I’m running when it is 90 degrees outside? My guess is, the percentage is very low.

Speaking of heat…

I’m glad the Playoffs/Finals are over.  Not that Aaron insisted on watching ALL of the games (I got off relatively easy), but I couldn’t care less about NBA basketball. I think Michael Jordan is pretty cool, but other than that, give me college basketball, futbal, or even football any day over the NBA.

On that note…

HAPPY WEEKEND! Stay cool out there all of my hot peeps!

SUMMER! And the Lovely Blog Award

HAPPY SUMMER! I absolutely love summertime.

Except when it comes to running.

Yesterday I did my first 800’s sequence since…October?  It was 90 degrees outside at 7:00 pm, so it was not a fun or fast workout.

And although I complain about living in the barren desert a lot, I do not envy anyone who has to live in a place that is both 90 degrees at 7:00 p.m. and humid. I’ll take dry heat any day.

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Last week Kelly at Here We Go nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.  Thanks, Kelly!

Kelly, a marathon runner with an adorable baby, who has quite the lovely blog herself (and just recently got back from her own Jamaica vacation), relayed the following stipulations for being awarded:

1) Post the award logo and picture on your blog and link back to the person who nominated you. (DONE)
2) Tell seven things about yourself. (SEE BELOW)
3) Nominate up to 15 additional bloggers whom you think deserve the award.
4) Post a comment on the blog of each nominee to tell them they have been nominated!

I have no idea why I have such a hard time with these types of things.  I pretty much hashed out every random fact about myself back in February HERE. I had to get REALLY random this time around.

So…7  Even More Random Things About Amy:

1) The first time I pumped gas for myself was as a junior in college even though I got my first car at 16.  For the first 5 years of having a car, my dad filled up my gas tank for me.  (I wasn’t allowed to have my car for the first two years of college because California freeways are scary, although now I think NM freeways are scarier because nobody knows how to drive on them). I don’t really think this makes me less of a person.

2) I experience allergic reactions to whiskey.  I stopped drinking whiskey once I figured out the correlation in college, but then a couple of years ago, Aaron was a groomsman in a wedding where the signature cocktail was Jack and Ginger.  I had about half a glass before my face turned beet red, I started overheating, and I puffed up (the preacher pulled me aside to see if I was ok…talk about awkward).  Nothing like sitting at the head table looking my absolute worst while toasts are being given.  Luckily, the Bride was beautiful (and is incidentally in labor with her first baby at this very moment…Congrats, Katie and Grey!), so no one was looking at me!

3)  My thyroid is broken…it doesn’t produce the hormone that it is supposed to.  I take a little synthetic pill everyday to help me function as a normal person.  Unfortunately I missed a few growth spurts before I was diagnosed, so I am the same height I was in the 6th grade (and I wasn’t very tall for my age then either).

4) I LOVE The Real Housewives of the OC and Beverly Hills.  I can’t help it. Sorry.  Judge away. I mostly just like their ridiculously lavish lifestyles, not so much their pretend fights and staged drama. And I’m also under the impression that every woman should have a nanny and a plastic surgeon on speed dial. Heather and Adrienne Maloof are my favorite (FACT: Adrienne Maloof is from Albuquerque!)

5) Closed toed shoes make me claustrophobic.  I usually pack a pair of flip-flops in my gear check bag to change into right after finishing a race.

6) I would so much rather live in a big city over a small town.  Not that Albuquerque is all that big, but I prefer feeling surrounded by people and places and things while still being relatively anonymous.  And I love having everything I need (airport, hospital, Target, Starbucks, etc.) nearby.  I love tall buildings and corner shops.

7) My favorite type of music is the classic American Standards sung by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn, and Doris Day.  This is what I listen to on  Pandora, and Aaron even puts it on now while we eat dinner.  My dad gave me my first “jazz” CD as a souvenir from London, and I’ve been obsessed ever since.  This was our first dance song at our wedding! One of my absolute favorites! (It is also almost 5 minutes in length which makes for a very LONG first dance).

Ok, so here’s the thing.  I have an irrational fear of tagging people in posts like this.  I feel bad that I might leave people out and they’ll be sad, or that I’ll tag someone who’s like, ah man, what did you have do that for? I know that I’m making a far bigger deal of this than I should, but I have a hard time.  There are obviously blog friends who I follow on twitter/instagram who at this point probably know more about me than most of my actual friends.  There are friends who I used to talk to all the time, but who have fallen off the blogging bandwagon because of some craziness like grad school (ahem, Jamie), and there are new friends who I just recently started following who I am excited to get to know more about! AND YOU ALL HAVE AMAZINGLY LOVELY BLOGS!

So, I’m not going to tag people because it stresses me out.  I do try to link to as many people as I can in other ways, and it makes my little heart happy every time I look through comments on other’s blogs and see familiar faces.  Not that I take credit for friendships formed, but I love seeing the world become one big happy runner blog family!

Enjoy the extra few minutes of sunshine today before we start the descent back down to shorter days.

Also, if you are so inclined, Albuquerque’s lifestyle magazine, “Albuquerque the Magazine” does a “Best of the City” contest every year, and voting is going on now.  My blog is small, and most people who read it aren’t from here, so I’m not going to campaign very hard for it, but usually the winner is some political commentator, and I thought it might be cool if a blog focusing on the running/fitness and outdoor culture of Albuquerque (with some wine and microbrewery culture thrown in there!) made the Top 5 list.  As far as I can tell, you don’t have to be from Albuquerque, and you don’t have to vote for more than one category.  You can vote HERE. THANKS!

Marathon Reflection Monday

Wow, can weekends go any faster?  Here we are, back at Monday.

That means I am another long run older and another week closer to running my first marathon.

This week’s training started to bring back all of the old aches and pains that I had forgotten during my month-long running break.  Will I ever again be able to live life without having to constantly ice/roll out my IT band?

And even though I’m not yet hitting my pre-break pace, my body is starting to get used to the idea that we’re training for a marathon, and slowly, things are starting to feel less wheezy and blah than then were last week.  Things are starting to work like they should!

THINGS THAT WENT WELL:

Attitude:  In all situations, I’m trying to talk myself through the pain and encourage myself to keep strong.  Overall, every workout this week felt much better than last week.  When I started to hit a wall, I would start giving myself a pep talk, and I could feel a new surge of energy.  I’m hoping the better I get at this, the more likely I will be to talk myself through the moments when I feel like collapsing during my marathon.

Preventing hip tightness: Last week I noticed that my hips starting tightening up around 5-6 miles.  This week I’ve been doing hip strengthening exercises, and I had no hip tightness during our 9.5 mile run on Saturday.

Limiting Booze: Still drinking more than someone taking this whole thing seriously should, but I think progress is being made! However, when we were at a Mexican restaurant, we found a drink that involved Mexican beer topped with a dollop of margarita.  I couldn’t resist!

Drinking water: I’ve been making it a priority, and I can tell that I’m not completely dried out.  However, I still feel thirsty.  Julie suggested throwing in some Nuun or something similar into the mix.  I’ve also been drinking more gatorade post-run.

Recovery: Still doing good with post-run protein shakes, dates with my foam roller and massage stick, icing, yoga stretches, and recovery runs that are nice and easy.

THINGS THAT NEED IMPROVEMENT: 

Eating Well: This is still something I’m struggling with.  Trying to completely change my eating habits to avoid temptations like steak and fried rice just isn’t as easy as I want it to be.  Meanwhile, Aaron went gluten-free last week and has dropped 7 pounds.  (I hate him).  His weight drop and testimony over how much better he feels is almost enough to get me completely on board.

Pushing the pace: We are starting on week 3 of training.  So far I’ve been trying hard not to throw myself back into training with reckless abandon in order to prevent injuries.  Now is the time to start pushing myself back to the pace I used to be.  I’m close.

Cross-training: We’ve been doing ok with weight lifting, but we haven’t been doing other workouts like yoga or swimming.  This needs to be more of a priority.

Goals for This Week:

1) See pace improvement

2) Incorporate more cross training

3) Eat well ALL week

4) Do plank and ab workouts every day.

HAPPY MONDAY!

Shout Outs and Friday Rest Day Randoms

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

1) Hyedi is running the Gary Bjorkland Half Marathon!

2) Carly is competing in her first Tri this weekend!

3) Anna Catherine is running a 10 miler this weekend…her longest race yet!

4) Lauren, my friend since 6th grade who kicks my butt at every local race, is running her first marathon, Grandma’s Marathon, this weekend.  If anyone can qualify on her first try, it’s this girl!

Good luck to you ladies, and anyone else racing this weekend! 

*******************************************

REST DAY! Woo hoo! Let the Randomness ensue!

Last night we spent a few hours in Amy and Aaron Heaven.

Our Natural History Museum hosts occasional “Margarita and a Movie Nights” with the movie portion being shown on an IMAX (or DynaMax as our museum calls it) screen.  At this moment in time, the IMAX theater at the museum is the only one in Albuquerque, so seeing something on the BIG big screen is pretty exciting around these parts. To me, anyway.

{I’m pointing to the ticket that says Margarita and a Movie so you know I’m not lying to you}

Before the movie, they get you all liquored up with a mini margarita! Then you proceed to theater to watch the movie.  (Also, since Friday night booze consumption is off limits to prevent miserable Saturday morning long runs, I figure a margarita on Thursday (the day before our designated rest day) is an acceptable substitute).

Yesterday the movie was BACK TO THE FUTURE.

We are crazy about Back to the Future.  On our first date, we realized we both had an unnatural love of that movie, could both probably quote the entire script, and would both gladly purchase a DeLorean if the opportunity arose.  After our first date dinner we headed over to Aaron’s apartment to watch it. And now we’re married. Back to the Future = Love.

So we have margaritas (+1 point), IMAX screen (+1 point), T-Rex sightings (+2 points), and BACK TO THE FUTURE (+10000 points).  It was a fabulous event!

Before the movie, we stopped by to visit Friend Peter at his newest restaurant endeavor, Q Burger downtown.  If you’re in Albuquerque, you should check this place out! The burgers are yummy and are made of local grass-fed beef, all the produce is local and seasonal, and the bread is baked here in town. The sweet potato tots are to die for, they have local brews on tap along with local wines AND THE ATMOSPHERE IS AMAZING! And I’m not just saying this because he’s our friend.  Completely Amy approved.

{Please ignore the red meat and bacon in this picture}

{Aaron’s gluten free version.  There is a turkey burger somewhere in there}

In other news, I wouldn’t be a true Disney diehard if I didn’t mention that CARS LAND opens at Disneyland’s California Adventure today and I am pretty much having a panic attack because I’m not there. In addition to Cars Land there are also some other park perk ups like the addition to mountain climbers on the Matterhorn and a new “Buena Vista Street” in California Adventure.  Ever since I ventured into the magical world of Disneyland on my 5th birthday, I have been obsessed.

{Everyone wears Minnie Mouse ears to their wedding, right?}

I introduced Aaron to Disneyland on his 27th birthday 3 years ago, but we haven’t been back since.  I think now is the perfect time to plan a vacation.

{Riding the Carousel in 2009.  I’m jealous of  younger Amy’s hair.}

Lululemon just announced that the headliner for the post Sea Wheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver is going to be FUN.  (The Sea Wheeze is the Lululemon sponsored race). This only makes me about 10,000 times more sad that I’m not going to be there.  Dear RnR Arizona, can you please secure Fun. as your concert headliner? Nate IS from Phoenix.

Also, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY! I have a pretty cool dad as you can tell by the picture below! Thanks Dad, for: all your support, help with math homework (even though engineers make algebra 10X more complicated than it needs to be), making sure my taxes were always filed on time, fixing car problems, and financing things like college, my wedding, and that 90’s Nike wind suit that I just HAD to have (truly tragic).

And Happy Father’s Day to all you other dad’s out there! Happy Weekend to everyone else!

One Last Shoe Thought

Thanks for all of the wonderful shoe and compression brand suggestions from yesterday! I think I have a year’s worth of new things to try. And I’m glad I asked about compression, because almost everyone presented brands that I’ve never even heard of.

I’m also glad to see that so many people have found what works for them.  Running seems to be an ever evolving sport with endless new information coming at us all the time, and it is refreshing to see so many people committed to looking past hype and marketing campaigns to find what works and what doesn’t.

I do want to say one more thing on the shoe matter.  Not that I think my post or the comments or the feedback I’ve received ignited any controversy, but I do want to note that I have no problem whatsoever with barefoot or minimalist running if that’s what works for you.  And it seems like most people feel the same way! I’m not convinced that running barefoot is the cure-all for injuries, and I’m not at all even close to being convinced that not running barefoot is the root cause of all injuries. I think it is a personal decision, and your body will let you know in very loud fashion if it is the wrong one. The important thing is that everyone is out there running!

So while I can’t say that I’ll be donning the frog-like toe shoes anytime soon, I think it is admirable that other runners have found a passion for them (though, the dude I saw carrying his as he limped to the finish line at Run for the Zoo probably lost his passion pretty fast).  The vast majority may crack a snicker when you run by in your Five Fingers, but my guess is, most people who wear them wear them proudly and welcome the occasional friendly natured jab at their fashion choice.  And I do want to emphasize that all (well, most) of my jabs are friendly.

And I’m positive that I speak for everyone aside from Kim Kardashian when I say that Five Fingers Wearers are much less judged than anyone running in Sketchers Shape-Ups.

Can I get an Amen?

If Cinderella Were A Runner…

Well, it is back to work for me after a relaxing 4 day weekend.  And we had some Wizard of Oz level wind last night preventing me from getting any kind of restful sleep.  More coffee, please.

But aside from that.

I know this isn’t earth shattering news, but runners are on their feet a lot.  Everything else on the body comes into play while running, but it is our feet that physically carry us through those long miles.

So needless to say, running shoes (and pedicures!) are an important piece of the whole “I want to run a marathon” pie.

As I start getting more and more into longer mileage, I obviously want to make sure that I’m wearing the best shoes for the occasion (no hippy running for this girl…sorry).

About a year ago I did the formal gait analysis at my local running shop (Heart and Sole if you are in Albuquerque and looking to see a video of what your feet do when they run…pretty crazy stuff).

I learned that I am a pronator.  Kind of an extreme one actually.  It has been recommended that I wear shoes that provide a fair amount of support.  I’m also trying to improve my form so that I pronate less.

{Mizuno, Asics, Newton, Asics}

{View from the top!}

I currently rotate between 4 different pairs of shoes for running.  Rotating gives the foam a chance to recover and helps shoes last longer.

The Mizuno Wave Inspire 7’s are nearing the end of their life, so I keep those for shorter distance recovery runs.  The Newton Lady Issacs help improve form, and I currently use them for shorter to moderate distance runs.  The Asics Gel-DS Trainers are slightly less supported and lighter, so those are used for speedwork. And the Asics GT-2160 are my “long run” shoe. (Also, you can tell by the outdated model numbers that I’m a big fan of purchasing last year’s models for cheaper online!).

But here’s the thing.  I do like my Mizuno Wave Inspires (they are probably my favorite).  I do like my Asics.  The Asics Gel-DS are really comfortable for non-running activities.  The Newtons are kind of weird but I feel like a Trendy B when I wear them (walking feels pretty awkward though).  However, loyalty hasn’t yet been established.   I want to try out every possibility in the land to make sure that I am truly going to have my running shoe happily ever after.

The question about which shoes you use came up on #runchat this weekend.  I was able to get some good ideas on what my next purchase might be.  I think I will try out the Brooks Adrenaline based on some suggestions I received.

Brooks Adrenaline

But I’m also looking for some other ideas.

Except for the Vibram Five Fingers shoes.  You couldn’t pay me to wear those (no offense Jon and other Vibram peeps, but your shoes weird me out).

Are you a pronator, a supinator, or a neutral runner?  

Which shoes do you use?  

Would you ever consider the Vibram Five Fingers or do they give you nightmares?  

Are you like me and make it a personal mission to pass as many Five Fingers wearing runners as possible?

Am I the only person who considers how pretty shoes are in addition to functionality?  

Another product I need help with:

Compression Gear.  I have never used it (MAJOR running sin I know) and I know that I absolutely need to start to aid in the recovery process! But I have no idea what to look for in a good compression brand.  PRO Compression seems to be the brand all over social media, but they make me weary because most of the reviews come from sponsored bloggers who receive free stuff.   And I am painfully short, so I need a brand geared toward people who don’t have long legs.

Do you use compression gear?

What brand of compression gear do you use? Would someone half your height be able to fit in them?

Happy Tuesday, y’all! Only 3.5 more days until the weekend!