(Half) Marathon Reflection Monday & Other Stuff

WELCOME TO CHRISTMAS TIME!

I will be the first to admit that for me, Christmas time started right after Halloween.  I’ve been watching those high quality holiday movies on the Hallmark Channel, listening to Christmas music, and plotting ways to make this year’s holiday season the best ever.

Aaron has very politely indulged me, even giving up his Saturday nights to watch Eloise at Christmastime and not getting mad when I switch his Pandora station to Christmas music.

But now, my Christmas cheer is completely socially acceptable.  Thanksgiving is over, so I can prance around in Christmas happiness without fear that some Bah Humbug will squash my dreams.  However, I still haven’t put up a tree unlike everyone on Instagram/facebook.  We’re real tree people, so we always wait until December to make sure it doesn’t look dead by Christmas. I’d like to think this makes me slightly less crazy.

Meanwhile, on the running/half marathon training front, things have been going ok.

On Thursday my whole family (aside from my mom who was busy on Operation Thanksgiving Dinner duty) ran our Turkey Trot 5-K.   A few weeks ago I was thinking I was going to use this race as my attempt at a sub 21.  But I got out on that course, fell into a solid 7:00-7:15 pace, and was feeling really good.  I remember what it felt like for me the one time I did hit 21:05, and I decided I didn’t really want to get that awful sick feeling again.  So, I didn’t.  Maybe not the most competitive thing I could have done, but I’m ok with it.  I dread 5-K’s more than anything, and I don’t want to anymore.  I came in at 22:18 (7:10 average pace).  Still better than my last few 5-K times, and definitely a confidence booster than I can run 13.1 miles at a 7:15 pace in a couple of months.  Plus, I think this is my first ever 5-K that didn’t make me want to hurl.

To celebrate the amazing weather we’ve been having (still in the low 60’s during the day) we decided to get one more climb up our mountain on the La Luz Trail.  Typically the top is snow covered and dangerous by late November.  It is a little sad that our weather is so dry that we don’t have any snow on our mountain but it made for perfect hiking conditions. This hike is about 8 miles up a 3,600 elevation gain.  My dad and sister made their way up for the first time!

Yesterday’s long run was a little harder than it should have been after the climb up a mountain.  We had 8 miles on the schedule, so we headed to the most flat course we could find, and knocked them out.  I had an average pace of about 8:38, so I was going a just bit faster than last week.  And definitely minutes faster than I was running a year ago.  I felt pretty fatigued, my face got sunburn, and after we finished, my calves tightened up to a point suggesting I’d run much harder/faster than I really did.  I spent the morning doing some intense rehabbing just to get myself back to walking like a normal person.  But definitely on track with where I want to be right now.

On the non-running front, I’m pretty sure I did something very close to swimming last week! I’m working on a breathing rhythm, and after a few failed attempts (and lots of inhaled water through the nose…very yucky feeling), I think I’m getting the hang of it. I’m hoping that with a few more lessons, I’ll at least be able to not look like a drowning abomination on Indoor Tri Day!

Otherwise, our Thanksgiving week was pretty normal:  I baked! (gluten free pumpkin snicker-doodles), two dinners with two families, late night Black Friday shopping, football watching (GO GIANTS!!!), and planning my annual gingerbread house (you can see last year’s HERE).

We’ll take some of that turkey, please!

Muppet Christmas Carol is a Thanksgiving tradition.

Aaron is obviously adopted

Macy’s at about 1:00 am. 

Hope everyone is having a minimally painful Monday!

P.S….there *may* be a giveaway coming later this week! (And by may, I mean I’ve already agreed to do one in exchange for free stuff, so…)

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Oh…I Didn’t Think You Were Serious About that Green Shake Thing…

You THOUGHT I was kidding when I mentioned green shakes yesterday.

(I’m not going to lie…I was kind of hoping I was too, but nope).

Aaron has been reading ultra marathoner Scott Jurek”s book Eat and Run and has decided that we are going to start trying some of his crazy so-healthy-it’s-scary recipes.

He looks like he knows what he’s talking about…right?

So, he made a list on a billion little post it notes (we have far more appropriate list  making paper, but whatever) and we headed on what turned out to be a health food expedition to Sprouts, Whole Foods, and Smiths (our Kroger store).  This shopping trip took us a really long time because we had no idea where to find most of these things like miso (tip, not in the Asian food aisle).

I like chocolate chips! 

We also ran into my uncle at Whole Foods who I thought lived in Boulder, Co (?).  He and his wife (who are experimenting with true barefoot running) have been vegan for about 15 years.  He knew all about Scott Jurek’s book and I think he seemed pleased that we were picking up an entire bag of quinoa (I left out the cheesy enchiladas I ate for lunch yesterday).  And apparently he’s working here (living in my neighborhood) and flies home to Boulder ever weekend.  So that was an unexpected run-in.

Anyway, Scott Jurek uses a lot of weird stuff in his food.  What the heck is a aduki bean? And spirulina powder? I can’t say that it smells very good, although Giuseppe seems to dig it. A quick google search tells me it is green algae.  YUM.

We got a whole wheat grass garden! It comes like a chunk of sod. 

So, why am I subjecting myself to this?

Apparently it aids in weight loss, is an excellent source of protein (good for building muscles), boosts the immune system, and is an excellent source of nutrition for endurance runners.

I guess we’ll see.

If you too would like to have your algae boost in the morning, here is the recipe straight from Jurek:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh mango or pineapple chunks
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons spirulina powder
  • 1 teaspoon miso

Aaron also added in wheat grass.

In honor of Halloween, I have deemed this Green Monster Juice!

Bottom’s up! (For the record, it actually tastes pretty good).

Chicago Has Food (and Lots of It!)

So, a couple of weeks ago we went to Chicago.  The marathon was obviously the whole point, but seeing as how neither Aaron or I had ever been there, we decided make a vacation out of it and do some exploring.

Vacations include testing out the regional flavor.

For Chicago, this means deep dish pizza and loaded hot dogs.

Don’t mind if I do!

In the days before the race Aaron was really keeping to a gluten free diet, but after the race, when stomach issues wouldn’t ruin mile splits, his inner garbage disposal came out and the Chicago style gorging began.

I will say this though.  Chicago is lacking in the local microbrew department.  We did find PBR at every restaurant (like, even the really snazzy ones) but since we can get that here for 75 cents on college night, we refrained.  Even though 75 cent PBR was the first drink Aaron bought for me before asking me out.  Big spender even bought a round for the whole table. Ah, memories.

Also to be noted that in addition to the 38,000 + people in town for the marathon (and their loved ones), a big football game between Miami and Notre Dame was held on Saturday, so the city was PACKED with runners and football fans.

Amy and Aaron’s Adventures in Chicago Eating

I forget the name of the restaurant where we got these martinis, but it was some sort of chop house a few blocks from our hotel.  It was an “Amy” type of place as evidenced by the the photos of my best friends on the bathroom wall.  They had a cool martini menu.  I’m usually a dirty martini type of girl, but who can resist a martini with chocolate swirls?

An added bonus was witnessing a lady trying to get a very drunk man she met at the bar to ask her out. I mean, he couldn’t figure even out how to spell Julie in his phone. How romantic.

On Saturday we stopped by The Berghoff which was down the street from our hotel.  Turns out it was a German themed microbrewery and the building has been there since the late 1800’s.  The beers were actually pretty good, and the Reuben sandwich was perfect.   

So happy to be at Berghoff’s!

Our carb loading on Saturday took us to Elephant Castle, another pub across from our hotel.  I wish Albuquerque had more pubby type places because I enjoy a good black and tan surrounded by British memorabilia.  It proved to be a great “pre-race” choice because of their special marathon menu.

We ran into a very drunk man who said as long as he stopped drinking by 10, he’d be ok for the marathon the next morning.  I wonder how that worked out for him.

The official beer sponsor of the marathon was Goose Island which is a Chicago microbrewery and it seems like the pride and joy of Chicago beer.  Aside from PBR.  Apparently they have a tasting room in Chicago that we didn’t get to.  The 312 Wheat Ale was pretty good as was the Matilda.  Aaron tried out the Bourbon County Stout at a restaurant which was AMAZING.

Our post marathon dinner on Sunday was at the infamous Lou Malnati’s (sounds suspiciously like Illuminati…I kept thinking we were in a Dan Brown novel).  Thanks Allison for this suggestion! This place did not disappoint (and with an hour long wait, we weren’t the only ones vying for some pizza goodness).   Fantastic deep dish pizza, and some great people watching.

A bunch of former frat boys in town for the Notre Dame game (who still were acting like idiotic 21 year olds despite being about 30) kept trying to pick up a pair of British marathon runners. Very unsuccessfully.  Made me a bit embarrassed to be American. Luckily the pizza made me happy again.  And seriously, even though it was good…I still prefer thin crust. Sorry. 

Monday evening we stopped by Paddy Long’s (I think it was in the area by Wrigley Field).  This was the bacon and beer bar.  They had an ok beer selection, but the bacon board was heavenly.  It was also the first place we went to that wasn’t crawling with people.

This place was also really cool because if felt “local.” So many of the other places we went to were overridden with tourists.  I felt like a Chicagoan! On Monday for lunch we headed to Portillo’s (thanks Hyedi for that suggestion) for their famous hot dogs and chocolate cake.  The place was a bit overwhelming and set up kind of like a food court (it took us a few minutes to figure out where to stand in line), but there were a lot of fun pieces of Chicago memorabilia.  And it was CHEAP. And tasty.

Aaron, staring dreamily at the hot dogs.

Monday night, on the recommendation of our Paddy Long’s bartender who understood our plight to find good beer that wasn’t IPA (way harder than it sounds), we headed to Clark Street Ale House.  I think Dominick, may have also recommended it, but I can’t find evidence of that conversation.

The beer selection was big, but most of the stuff we found was stuff we could buy in Albuquerque. The place was really empty too.  Apparently people in Chicago are too responsible to go out partying on a Monday night? We still made friends though. 

These dudes were like, “take a picture of us!”  I would kind of be surprised if homeboy actually knew what Livestrong was.  The other guy actually had a job similar to Aaron’s  and had lived in a similar part of Phoenix (and he was relatively sober), so they were able to talk for a bit.

“Seriously?” Or, “Bitch, please.”

NOT PICTURED: We had a post marathon breakfast at Lou Mitchell’s which was a cute mid-century diner.  I was seriously too sick to enjoy the meal (or take pictures), but it was a really cute place that has apparently been in a lot of movies that I’ve never seen.

IPO was the hotel restaurant.  REALLY trendy interior but the food was TOO trendy.  Oh, and pork belly is just pure fat. I didn’t realize that.  I was hoping for a bacon sandwich.  BLECH. The hotel (The W City Center) also had a really swanky bar/lobby, but it was pricey.

Chicago isn’t a cheap place to eat/drink.  We were really surprised every time we got the bill.  But people watching was better here than it has been anywhere else we’ve gone.  And I did love the feel of being in places that had been there since the turn of the century.

Thank you, Chicago, for feeding these very hungry and thirsty runners!

The W Lobby/Bar.  They had giant lamps.

Weekly Race Shout Outs and 33 + 2 Questions

Um, Hello Race Season!

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

Shantarella who is running HER FIRST MARATHON in South Africa!

Kelly who is running the Rock n Roll Denver Half this weekend!

Lindsey is running her FIRST half marathon this weekend!

Allison who is running a half marathon with her myTeamTriumph!

Hyedi who is running a 5-K this weekend (and is hopefully feeling better!)

GOOD LUCK!

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1) First: TWO WEEKS AND TWO DAYS!!! Oh my goodness, I can’t even handle it.

2) I admit…after the first game, I was pretty worried.  I asked Aaron if I could retract my decision.  BUT, I’m at peace now.  I mean, it takes me a few miles to warm-up, so why wouldn’t it take a team a few games to warm-up?  GO GIANTS!!!

3) So, aside from just more of the same running recaps (boring this week since the taper), I’m fresh out of things to say until next week when I anticipate a daily freak out session that you may have to help me through.  Should be fun.  But, until then, I thought I’d catch up on some Leibster Questions.

The lovely ladies Lindsey, Allison, and Shantarella each nominated me for the award (THANK YOU!), and provided the following questions to be answered. Incidentally, all three are up there racing this weekend!

Allison’s Questions

1. Why did you start blogging? I started out blog stalking.  Then friends started getting their own blogs.  I was like, I want a blog too! I posted for about 9 months before I figured out what I wanted to write about.

2. What three words best describe you? Short, caffeinated, competitive

3. What is your favorite comfort food? Sweet and sour pork.  And cookies. I’m a sucker for cookies.

4. What are the top three things on your Bucket List? Go to Europe (Like seriously.  There is this whole amazing continent full of art and wine, and I’ve never been there.  NOT COOL), Get Interviewed on The Today Show (I’m not above creating a crazy YouTube video to make this happen), Run the Boston Marathon (preferably BEFORE I’m 80).

5. What is one skill or sport you wish you were really good at? I wish I was good at any sport.  I really suck at sports. But I really wish I understood the financial realm and economics. Sloan on Newsroom helps me, but I’m still a deer in headlights when people start talking about advanced concepts.

6. What is one goal you would like to achieve this next year?: I’ll let you know AFTER the marathon.

7. Five things in your gym bag or purse are _____? Kleenex, lip gloss, wallet, pen, cell phone (this is my bag…I don’t actually carry a gym bag…that’s what husbands are for!).

8. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? A doctor.  And then a Disney Imagineer.  Not even remotely close to either.

9. Where is your favorite vacation destination? San Francisco (now that I don’t live 30 miles away), and Disneyland/ Disney World.  I do love me a nice beach though.

10. What was your favorite childhood TV show? Hmmm…Full House, and Muppet Babies. And of course World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.

11. If you could change careers, what would you do? Best selling author/professor.  The author of Jarhead taught at my college, and he’d fly in every week from his home in L.A. I could deal with that lifestyle I think.

Shantarella’s Questions:

1. What is your biggest achievement ? Endurance running.  In a few weeks, I will definitely say “running a marathon.”  I truthfully never had to try very hard to be successful.  This is probably the first thing in my life that I’ve actually worked my butt off for.

2. What is the best thing about where you live ? FOOD.  Green chile is amazing.

3. What is your favourite beverage? Water! And wine.

4. What was the last book you read ? Still reading The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois. Non-fiction is hard to read when you’re using it as a bedtime book.

5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? Hopefully living somewhere near the ocean or water

6. Whats your favourite blog? My own!

7. What would be your dream job? See # 11 above

8. Cupcakes or Cocktails ? BOTH.  Seriously, Shantarella….what kind of question is that????

9. Where would you like to go on your next holiday? I NEED to get to Europe. But first up, Chicago!

10. Whats your favourite Disney movie? This is like asking me to choose between children….hmmm…The Little Mermaid.  And Aladdin. And Peter Pan.  And Wall-E. Just, all of them.  I think that’s the safest answer.

11. What car do you drive? A black SUV that I’m in love with!

Lindsey’s Questions:

1. What is your favorite inspirational quote or motto? Dream as if you’ll live forever.  Live as if you’ll die today.

2. What is the #1 played song on your iPod? Hmmm…I haven’t kept track in awhile.  If I had to guess, I’d say Don’t Stop Believing. I love Journey so much it hurts.

3. What’s your least favorite chore? DISHES.  I HATE dishes.  I’d rather clean toilets.

4. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be? Play the violin. And I’d like to be able to talk intelligently about economics.

5. If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to? My name was SUPPOSED to be Aimee, the French version of Amy, so I’d start there.  I also really like first names that should be last names or names that make me sound like I play Lacrosse at Harvard.

6. What story does your family always tell about you? Either the pigeon that wouldn’t leave me alone when I was learning to ride a bike, or when I sped down the mountain on skis and had to wait for my dad and the bottom of the hill (I was like 7).  My sisters like to make up stories about how mean I was to them and I how I did things like lock them in the car.  I think they’re being overdramatic.

7. What was the first concert you ever went to? Hmmmm……I think Pavarotti.  He actually came to Albuquerque to perform maybe 11 years ago and my family is a bunch of opera crazies.  It was a big deal.

8. Do you prefer summer or winter? SUMMER! Although, running in summer is not fun.  I hate being cold.

9. How did you get in to blogging? See above

10. What is something you have always wanted to try? Backpacking through Europe.  I’m kind of past the right age now though. And I can appreciate the value of a comfortable bed and my own bathroom.

11. The best part of waking up is? LIVING!

AMY’ S QUESTIONS for everyone:

1) What is your favorite social medium?

After all this time, Facebook is still my favorite.  I love Pinterest but I liked it more before it was overrun with weight loss tips and “pin now, read later” captions.

2) What are you doing this weekend?  

The last 20 miler.  Unless something goes very wrong.  And then I’ll finally get to really taper too!

Have a fantastic weekend! 

Rain and Wine: Two of My Favorite Things (But Not Necessarily Rain IN Wine)

(This was written this morning, but I ran out of time to spell check and edit before having to head inside….And I was waiting on a few pictures (ahem, Aaron).  So, just pretend that you were reading this 5 hours ago for optimum effect!)

I am currently sitting outside in the perfect, cool, overcast early morning doing my blog catch up.  We had another fantastic, slow drizzle last night, so everything smells dewy and rainy (try topping that scent description, Pottery Barn!).  Add the yummy chai flavored coffee that I discovered at Trader Joe’s, and you get an Amy who has no desire to head inside to get ready for work.  I wonder if I could work from home today…

*Also, just a point of clarification.  When I said my long run this weekend was within my goal pace, I definitely did not mean that I ran it at my marathon goal pace.  I ran it at my long run goal pace which right now is between 1 minute and 90 seconds slower than my marathon pace (by the end I want it to be between 30 seconds and 1 minute slower).  This is the first long run of marathon training that I’ve actually hit those numbers, so I’m really excited, however I’m not quite cool enough to be running 14 miles at an 8 minute mile pace without actually being in a race situation.

This past weekend we headed up to Santa Fe for the Santa Fe Wine Festival.  If you haven’t noticed, I’m a big fan of wine.  We have two local wine festivals that we go to every year.  The New Mexico Wine Festival is the next town over from Albuquerque during Labor Day weekend, and is the largest in the state.

But our favorite is the Santa Fe Wine Festival held over 4th of July weekend.  It is much smaller, but the lines are shorter, and the servers are usually actually the vinters as opposed to help hired off craigslist who wouldn’t know a dry red vs. a sweet red if it bit them in the face.  I wish I was kidding.  New Mexico is actually the oldest wine region in the country. Before Napa, little monks were growing and fermenting here way back in the early 1600’s.  Most wineries here still are family owned and have that “quaint” feeling as opposed to the ones in Napa that herd you in on guided tours (not that I’m complaining…I love Napa and Sonoma.  I’ll hang out at the Chandon complex anyday!).

I wrote an extensive post with lots of pictures of both the Santa Fe Wine Festival and the living history museum that hosts it last year, so I didn’t feel the need to go picture crazy this year.  We also didn’t buy any bottles since we’re still working on the 4 cases we bid on during the silent auction last month.

{We were pretty “wined” out, so we got glasses of bubbly}

After the wine festival, we were hungry, so we headed to a microbrewery near our house to get some grub.  The ladies next to us asked the server which beer was closest to Bud Light.  In a microbrewery.  Now, as far as running goes, I am 100% supportive of everyone and the journey they are on.  Fast, slow, short races, ultra distances, whatever.  I am excited for each and every one of you and where you are at.  But, if you ask for something that tastes like Bud Light at a microbrewery, oh my goodness I will go beer snob on you.  Might as well go to a Wolfgang Puck restaurant and ask for the thing on the menu that tastes most like a Big Mac (This may not be the best comparison…I’ve never actually been to a Wolfgang Puck  restaurant.  For all I know, they could offer something that tastes like a Big Mac).

I let out my rage on Facebook (which in retrospect, wasn’t the most classy thing I could have done, but at least people agreed with me!). For the record, if Bud Light is your drink of choice, more power to you.  I myself was a fan in college.  But maybe don’t advertise it at a place where someone has made it their life’s work produce something much better…and maybe try some of the good stuff every once in awhile.

Later, that same lady said something about the lack of domestics on the beer list.  Because beer brewed in the next room definitely isn’t domestic.

We took a picture of them, but I decided that it probably was a good idea not to post it lest they be part of the mafia.

SIGH. I’m fun to be around, I promise.

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Last night Aaron and I suited up and took Giuseppe for a run/walk in the rain.  I knew I wanted to vary it up a bit yesterday after all the running I did this weekend, so we walked around the neighborhood, let the puppy splash in the puddles, then found our way to the park to jog around the perimeter before heading back home.  Aaron splurged on some of that K-T tape because he’s willing to try just about anything right now to get back in the running game (you should see the arsenal of homeopathic products he’s been putting on his foot).  It is supposed to stay on for 4 days (good, since it is pretty pricey), and we definitely put it to the test by running around in the rain!  It might not help, but at least it stayed sticky.  Jogging on the grass also seemed to be more comfortable for his foot than jogging on the pavement.

We were soaked! You can see the one little dry spot on Aaron.

Eventually, we think we’d like to settle down somewhere in the Pacific Northwest.  Even though I LOVE my sunshine and warm weather, I’ve been really craving a rainy climate lately.  I think becoming a runner has made me appreciate cooler/less barren desert places. And I get really jealous anytime one of you posts pictures of your green, lake/beach side runs.  Anyone want to give us jobs in Portland or Seattle?

I finished out the remaining .8 miles of the 3 on the treadmill which actually worked out pretty well.  I got a good combination of walking, running, and splashing into my workout!

It looks like we have one more day of rain before the temps start heating up and drying out again.  But this Tuesday morning has been perfect.

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}

June? Already?

Sending Fast Thoughts To:

1) Danielle AND Raquel (who are freezing in Scotland), will be running the Perth Kilt Run (wearing kilts of course).  I don’t think I’ve ever been more excited for Monday race recaps!

2) Ellie and the other 2FN ladies will be running the Freihofer 5-k! I hear there will be good cookies, which we all know is one of the most important parts of life in general!

Good luck this weekend! I can’t wait to see how everyone does! 

Speaking of The Perth Kilt Run, I wouldn’t be a truly British-Royals-obsessed person without giving proper acknowledgement to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for her 60 years of service.  This weekend will be a celebration of her Diamond Jubilee (the kilt run is apparently part of the festivities).  Happy Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth!

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So, June.  I’ve really gotten to the point where every month I think, “Wow, Jan/Feb/March/April/May/etc./etc. already?”  But this June seems really unbelievable in its arrival.

A year ago I made the commitment and signed up for my first half marathon.  We all know how that’s ended up…5 half marathons and a running blog later…

Four months ago I made a bigger and crazier commitment to running a full marathon. Aaron devised a training plan within days of that, and this Monday we will put that plan into action! I can’t believe that within two months, I will be running 20 miles… at a time! I can’t believe after 4 months of anticipation, Marathon Training Amy will finally become a reality.

At least I hope.

I started noticing some weird behind-the-knee pain during the Two Half Marathons in Two Weeks last month.  Nothing too weird, but a little annoying.  Since Run for the Zoo we’ve been really taking a break from running and focusing on other forms of exercise, so the pain went away because I wasn’t doing anything to provoke it.

Yesterday I had a big work event that required me to walk around a concrete warehouse in stilettos (well…the stilettos were my decision) all morning.  I don’t know if this is related or not, but…

Last night while doing sprints across the park, the knee pain came back in full force.  I had gone from perfectly normal to not being able to walk or bend my knee without pain.

When we got home Aaron put me through a 20 minute therapy session with the foam roller and exercises to loosen up.  I don’t remember what he said exactly, but there is a point where your something connects to your something else at the back of your knee, and it is irritated.

After a restless night of trying to sleep without bending my knee, I woke up this morning, and it feels stiff almost like it needs to be popped?  Perhaps I should make an appointment with my chiroprator.  Fridays are typically “leg” weight lifting days, but I couldn’t even bend into a squat.  I did a second round of foam rolling (OUCH…in the voice of ET) before work which seems to have helped a bit, but I’m a little worried.

{My Best Frenemy}

You may remember about a month and a half ago my IT band did some weird snappy thing and I had to cut a run short.  I know how to take care of that, and I did.  This feels different, and I just want to kick-off marathon training feeling strong, not gimpy.  Right now I can’t walk without noticing that something ain’t right.

BUT NO MORE WHINING!

Because today is National Donut Day (Incidentally, Mayor Bloomberg supports National Donut Day but does not support selling Soda in large quantities.  Even though he gave Matt Lauer a pretty logical explanation, I kind of think a mayor trying to crack down on obesity should think twice before endorsing donuts in Times Square.  Just sayin).

In other news, my place of employment is doing a “step” challenge.  They handed out pedometers in the lobby, and if you go a certain number of steps, you get cash.  I think my $5 check at the end of the month is incentive enough to jiggle around in this little contraption!  I’ve already done 682 steps! Though I will admit that the entire thing feels incredibly inaccurate.

HAPPY WEEKEND everyone! 

Also, if you can tell that I recently discovered Instagram, you’d be correct.  I don’t really understand the whole “sharing” component (I guess we can be Instagram friends too in case blog friends and twitter friends isn’t enough?), but I do like the way I can edit my pictures!

Lots and Lots (and Lots) of Durango Pictures

So, I know everyone knows we went to Durango (and everyone is thinking, seriously, it’s not Paris, stop talking about it), but for such a small vacation, we took an insane amount of pictures that will sit forever in my computer, unloved and neglected.  I hate making anything feel unloved and neglected.

I love our camera (and Aaron LOVES our camera), so between us we take a lot of pictures with lots of different settings, often of the same thing over and over.

So, if you are interested in looking at a ton of pictures of water and trains (and a few other things), here is our Durango weekend in 87 pictures.

And then we will move on!

Birthday Weekend Getaway to Durango

Aaron (who reads my blog but only comments in real life), sends a 30-years-big THANK YOU to everyone for the birthday wishes!

He also thought that I had an “interesting” choice of pictures in the post yesterday, so I thought I’d throw another one in the mix!

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SIDENOTE: We have had non-stop birthday action since Friday, so this will be a short on words post with a lot of unedited pictures (I’ll actually share about 10 million train pictures another day)

We celebrated Aaron’s birthday with a quick weekend getaway to Durango, CO (home of Zuke’s dog treats…thanks Ellie for that tidbit of information!)

Durango is a quick 3 hour-ish drive from Albuquerque, but pretty much a whole different world.

Durango is a small, ski resort town with an old western feel, and as a college town, almost everyone is 22 and beautiful (and drunk).  It is also pretty affordable and unpretentious unlike some of the other Colorado ski resort towns like Telluride, Aspen, and Vail.

We started off the drive on Friday afternoon, and immediately encountered a traffic jam in the first town out.  Fun.  We also ate potato chips for dinner because we had no other options in the middle of nowhere.  (I know it doesn’t sound like it, but I actually eat pretty healthy most of the time!).

After an uneventful drive, we pulled into Durango.  I hadn’t been in about 12 years, so I was pleasantly surprised to see an adorable town appear in front of the bug-gut covered windshield.

Despite being such a touristy spot, hotels are kind of hard to come by (condos, cabins, and vacation house rentals are plentiful however).  Low-budget options like Econo Lodge and Best Western were available in the north end of town, and the two options downtown (where all of the restaurants and action are) are really old.

We opted to go with really old to stay within walking distance of the action and chose the General Palmer Hotel (The Strater is the other, far more expensive option).  It was very cute, very convenient, provided free breakfast, had Keurig coffee machines in room, and real keys (as opposed to the magnetic swiper ones).

Even though Durango is a ski town, there are plenty of things to do during the summer including white water rafting, zip-lining, mountain biking, hiking, and…THE TRAIN!

Without getting into too much of a history lesson, the Durango-Silverton Line was a pretty big deal back in the day.  These days it is quite the experience, with authentic trains chugging customers through the mountains from Durango to Silverton, an old west mining town revamped into a tourist destination.  The 45 mile trip takes about 3.5 hours, but the time investment is well worth it because of the amazing mountain views! Also, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed along this stretch of railroad! Paul Newman and I have been to the same place!

We opted for an open-air car which allows for better viewing (though we did get cold, and soot covered).

Silverton itself is about 2 streets worth of restaurants and shops (apparently the mines were active up until the 90’s, but now the only thing supporting this town is the business from the train passengers).  You get to spend about 2 and a half hours exploring (or saloon patronizing) before getting back on board.

After the 3.5 hour ride back into Durango, we went exploring the various microbreweries and bars that Durango had to offer.  Durango actually has 4 microbreweries in town, two within walking distance to our hotel (more on that later).

Sunday morning we got up for a trail run (more on that tomorrow) to explore the amazing landscape that Colorado has to offer.

Sunday also happened to be the Taste of Durango event where local restaurants give small samples of some of their food in exchange for tokens.  I guess the token sales go toward Charity, but you are essentially paying $4 per sample portion.  It was ok, but we didn’t spend too much time there.

We opted instead to eat at this adorable French restaurant!

On our way out of town, we stopped at Ska brewing company.  I don’t know if it is as widely distributed in other places as it is in Albuquerque, but the brand is completely comic book themed.

But…it is closed on Sundays, so all I could do was take pictures of the sign.  Bummer.

So, even though it was just a quick getaway, hanging out in Durango was relaxing and fun, and at such a close distance, a destination I wouldn’t mind going to a couple of times a year.  Sometimes, just escaping to a different place can make life a little more exciting.

Baby Showers in the Air

By the looks of my facebook feed, Saturday was a very popular day for baby showers.

Right now about 95% of my facebook friends are pregnant, engaged, or recently married.  I’m perfectly happy not fitting into any of those categories (though truthfully, if I could get both Aaron and my dad on board, I would hold a vow renewal EVERY year).

This weekend is also the first time I had someone actually very genuinely, jaw droppingly surprised when they found out my age and that we weren’t interested in having kids yet.  Not that I’m bothered by it, but it did feel a little odd.  It’s not like I’m THAT old.

Anyway, I did my part in contributing to the Saturday baby shower madness.  Immediately after the major half marathon suckage, I booked it home, got showered, and made it across town to help a couple of other ladies in hosting a baby shower for a friend who is going to have a baby this weekend.

Dear men folk (and really, anyone who can’t deal with looking at any more baby shower pictures if your facebook feed looks like mine), you will not hurt my feelings if you don’t gasp in amazement at our baby shower hosting skills.  I mean, yes, we spent hours pinning and crafting, but if fluffy pink balls hanging above pink cupcakes aren’t intesteting to you, that’s ok.

For everyone else, here are pictures of fluffy pink balls hanging above pink cupcakes! Friend Rebecca can take credit for a lot of this, but I did make the fluffy balls, the celebrity baby game display, the favors, and the 10 million little triangles.  Her baby shower motifs were (for a girl obviously) onsies and bunting.