Tuesday, December 7, 2010

some social media savvy

It's been awhile since my last business-related post, so I decided to dedicate this one to utilizing social media correctly. Let me first say that I love social media the way Elvis loved bacon...a LOT. I am completely obsessed with twitter feeds, blog rolls, and facebook updates, especially for businesses. I cannot tell you how many online webinars or interactive facebook press conferences I have sat through just to capture the next "nugget" of information that might be passing down the tubes. Through both life experience and sitting through endless webinars, I have learned a couple of basic tips that I would like to share with you. Keep in mind that my focus is on businesses; however, this stuff can certainly apply to personal social media.
1. Keep your posts relevant. Although this seems like a total no-brainer, it can be tricky, especially with startup companies who want to imbibe personality into their new business. The temptation to infuse elements of your personal life in with your business can be alluring. Although this can be done well, nearly everyone who tries does it incorrectly.  A good example of incorporating your personal posts into your company would be to post that you are at an after-hours meetup for startups, or you and any employees/partners you may have are doing something together in the spirit of the company.  A poor example would be if you are headed to a bar after work. Not important. Bottom line: keep your business business-worthy.
2. Start a conversation (and keep it going). So often people feel like social media is an excellent platform for posting coupons, new arrivals, etc. for their business. And it is; however, if that is the only thing your business posts, people will soon stop listening. Social media exists (for businesses) as a bridge between consumer and business; not so much as a way for the business to tote their wares, but as a way for consumers to find value in the places they spend their money. Consumers want to feel that they got "value" out of their dollar, and this can be multiplied by utilizing social media. As a restaurant, you can give ideas for no-fuss dinner party appetizers; a clothing store can provide fashion advice, etc.  Plus, when you post advice like this, you invite your user to start a conversation with you. There is not much point in commenting on a coupon. It is what it is.  But a recipe...that has the potential to engage the consumer, as well as anyone else who follows the conversation (which amounts to a lot of people).
Fitness: after taking two weeks off I ran 3.5 miles on Sunday. Monday was 30 ellipical minutes and squats/lunges/abs. Tuesday, 20 minute run, 10 minute bike, arm and ab workout.

Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm thankful

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving holiday. I am so sad to report that I was sick with the flu for most of  it. What a bummer! I am still not feeling my best, but this post is terribly overdue, so back to work I go. 

In the spirit of the holidays, I made a list of the things I am thankful for in my life. I don't know about you, but I feel very fortunate to have all of the things that I have, and so many wonderful people in my life. This is the old "top ten" list, although none of these has any more weight than the other. I am equally thankful for each of these things.
1. I am thankful for a husband who, while not always thrilled by my running, is supportive of me running marathons, training for triathlons, and traveling for them all.
2. I am thankful for an eleven year old girl who is truly her own person. She is unique and special and I am so lucky she is mine.
3. I am thankful for a four-year-old boy who can always make me laugh. He lights up any room he is in and can make anyone feel special and loved.
4. I am thankful for a two-year-old boy who feels the need to constantly be fully decked out in a costume, mask and all. It's such a pleasure to have coffee with Batman, Darth Vader, or Buzz Lightyear each morning.
5. I am thankful for two legs that allow me to continuously abuse them with high-mileage races and super-high heels and stay injury free.
6. I am thankful for my extended family. Although I have learned in my adult life that we are not exactly the most traditional Ward Cleaver family model; we have our own thing going on and make it work for us.
7. I am thankful for my in-laws. They are most definitely the Ward Cleaver family model, and it is nice to have that kind of traditional influence in my life.
8. I am thankful for Nike. 'nuff said.
9. I am thankful for my book club friends. We are an eclectic mix of ladies, and it is so wonderful to be part of a book club that doesn't actually require the reading of the book.
10. I am thankful for my blog readers. I can't believe it has been almost a year since I started this blog. I have had a fantastic time writing over the last year, and knowing that people actually read it makes it that much more motivating.

There you have it....I am definitely thankful for many more things than this, but the post needs to end sometime. Do you have a thankful list?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

go, google, go

Yesterday while I was logging miles on the stationary bike (boring as hell, but a great cross-train), I saw on the news that google is giving their employees a $1,000 holiday bonus and a ten percent raise. Ten percent, in this economy, where companies are taking benefits away from their employees left and right just to stay in business.Wow. 
Naturally, my first thought was, "I need to work for google."  But then I started thinking about how many times I use google during the day. It is a TON. I google everything. If I want to know anything about anything, I google it. If I want to get a fresh perspective, I google it. If I am looking for ideas..google.  You get the picture; I'm a googler.  And apparently I am not alone, since the company is raking it in.

Any company that can turn its name into a verb has my vote.
Are you a googler? 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

oh, technology

Since running the Nike marathon I have been plagued with an incredibly disturbing problem....my nikeplus sensor.  If you remember, I am a dedicated nikeplus user (actually a dedicated nike anything user...I love their stuff), and one enormous perk of being a nikeplus user for this race was that we would be entered into a drawing for free admittance to next year's nike marathon if we uploaded our race within a certain period of time. I wore my nike sportband for the race instead of my ipod.  It was, by far, the longest I have ever run without music, and I was feeling awesome about the sportsband and how it allowed me to go "wire free" for such a long time.

Until I tried to upload my (26.2 mile) run.

Apparently the geniuses at nike decided to run a firmware update right around the time the marathon finished, and so my run (and a bunch of other people's runs) disappeared into cyberspace, never to be heard from again. It is beyond frustrating. First of all, I really like to see those miles graphed out on paper once I have run them. That is where I reflect on where I was struggling the most and when I was the fastest. I use that information on future runs in the hopes of getting better (and qualifying for my mistress-bitch race, Boston). Secondly, I need tangible evidence that I completed those miles. I just do. It's how I'm wired. I know I ran them. I want proof, though. It motivates me.

So now I am stuck with a ton fewer miles on my profile than I actually ran, and I don't get to be entered into the drawing for next year's race. 

I'm gonna need to see something pretty phenomenal from you in the future, nike...this was a big slip-up.

Friday, October 29, 2010

it's my anniversary

Today my hubby and I have been married for five years. It's truly flown by, and when I think about how long we have actually been together, it literally blows my mind.  I can honestly say that we are in a better place now than when we first got married. Although it was fun being newlyweds, we were still learning how to exist in the same space together. I remember being horribly offended or hurt by things that Justin said or did or didn't say or didn't do, and he didn't know he was even doing stuff wrong!  Then we started having kids and life took a turn for the busy. Suddenly we were so immersed in bottles and diapers and late nights and naptime that we forgot about each other. I don't know if I looked my husband in the eye for two years. Seriously. We were not working on our marriage. We were just "existing" with each other, living life taking shifts with the kids.
Now that we are out of baby mode forever (promise), we have started taking time to get to know each other again. We have been going out on dates. We have been staying up and watching movies together after the kids are in bed. We have been looking each other in the eyes again. This time, though, we know each other much more than we used to. And that kind of comfort is fantastic.
We are going out of town for the weekend to celebrate. No kids. I am sure the first few hours will be weird (what do you talk about if it isn't about your kids?), but we will quickly remember why we liked hanging out in the first place and have a great time.
No exercise this weekend...just fun. I'll catch up next week!

Monday, October 25, 2010

yay for wine

One of the best parts about my job is that I get to do a little moonlighting at a higher-end restaurant that just opened up in Vermillion. The same man who owns MASABA also owns RED, and we actually met while he was getting the restaurant up and running (you know how I love startups!).  RED is a chef-inspired steakhouse restaurant with an extensive wine list. I have the good fortune to be able to host the Weekly Wine Hour every week at RED, as well as hosting exclusive tasting events for the Wine Lover's Club members. It is a time consuming job, but a fantastic time, and who wouldn't love tasting your way through a wine list?
Tonight we are going to be looking at a few of my favorite wines that are available at RED, namely St. Francis Chardonnay, Angeline Merlot, KokomoCuvee (we JUST got it in and it is fabulous), and the Chateau St. Michelle Gewurtztraminer (a yummy dessert wine). 

The St. Francis is, hands down, my favorite Chardonnay right now.  It is not too oakey, but very buttery and with a great vanilla finish. I love it so much that I have a case of it in my basement.  It's that good!

The Angeline Merlot is unlike any other Merlot I have tasted. While many merlots can be quite tannic, this one doesn't taste that way at all. It is very drinkable just on its own, but it can also handle itself next to a heavy pasta pairing any day of the week.

The Kokomo Cuvee is a blend of four red varietals, and it is absolutely divine. Talk about an easy-drinking wine. It's dark, but don't let that be off-putting. It's smooth as silk and almost too easy to drink too much of (trust me).

 Finally, the Chateau St. Michelle Gewurtztraminer is the perfect wine for after dinner treats. Sometimes I don't want coffee with my dessert. Sometimes I want wine (usually, actually). This is a perfect accompaniment to any dessert item. It's also good with a spicy Thai dish.

If you happen to be in the area between 6 and 7pm tonight, come to RED and spend some time with my favorite wines! If not...I highly recommend them for consumption in your own home, as well.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

thwarted again...

Well, once again I missed the Boston time.  I swear to you, that race is slowly becoming my mistress-bitch; mean, unattainable, but just plain awesome.  My NIKE time was 3:59:59.  It's a little slower than the Brookings Marathon, but still under four (barely). 
This race was amazing. It was challenging, hilly, cold, rainy, and beautiful all at the same time. 

My flight home was delayed and so I didn't get home until 2am, and started work at 7am, so I am not even close to being in a good spot to discuss the race, but here are some pictures to whet your appetite.  Look for a longer post later on in the week that will recap how things went.

 Here is the picture of the start line. Because I am a nike plus user, I got to be right at the front. What an awesome perk!

Here is a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge. It was beautiful. There was a lot of fog around it, and so it just kind of emerged from the clouds. Very magical.

Mile 25. What an amazing view. I just kept staring at the waves as I ran into the finish line. They were the reason I made it in under four hours.

This is the adorable fireman who gave me my Tiffany finisher's necklace. Isn't he handsome? They all were. I guess San Francisco firefighters have to be cute to get on the force or something.

Until next time....

Friday, October 15, 2010

road trip

This morning I head out to San Francisco for the NIKE Marathon. I am so unbelievably excited.  I haven't been to San Fran in years, so it will be a lot of fun to go back and see how it's changed (or not).  I am also meeting up with one of my very good friends from my ARMY days that I haven't seen in about 15 years (am I really that old?).
I am a little nervous about running the race. My legs have felt very heavy for the last two weeks, and my knees seem to be a bit boggy and fluidy. I am not really sure why. It's not really painful; just unsteady. I'm not sure what that means or what is causing it. I have not run since yesterday, and don't plan to until race day. I am wearing only flats, as I'm starting to wonder if all of my heel wearing lately has something to do with it. Apparently heels are the devil.  I just can't seem to resist temtpation, though....I love a good heel.
Definitely on the to do list for us is a visit to the NIKE Expo. where we pick up our packets and take in all the fabulous things NIKE has to offer. I am excited to see the lunar eclipse shoes, as my shoes were discontinued (boo NIKE) and I need to find some suitable replacements.  We also want to go to the top of the Mark, and plan on going Sunday evening as a last, awesome treat to ourselves for running the marathon.  I definitely want to hit Fisherman' Wharf, as that is the most memorable part of SF for me.  Finally, I just want to see the beach. I miss the ocean terribly. One of the most difficult things about living smack in the middle of the country is that I am so far from the ocean. I love the ocean. I miss it. One day I will live by the ocean again. 
I'm off to shower and pick up the girls.  Think good thoughts for me and NIKE!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

a san-fran-panic-attack

So today I was running at lunch, and it totally hit me that next weekend I will be running a marathon next Sunday. Not just any marathon...the Nike Women's Marathon.  Wow!  I am both thrilled and sickened at the same time (I'm pretty sure I said the exact same thing when I ran Brookings.  That must be my marathon feeling).
I feel horribly unprepared for a marathon, but know that I will get through it, nonetheless.  My buddy, Rachel is in ridiculous shape and she will most likely finish with the Boston qualifying time I so desperately want.  She is 21, feisty, and fabulous.  Plus, she is a really strong runner. She's a good running buddy, that's for sure.  My other marathon buddy, Karen, just ran a marathon a month ago. Double wow.  I don't think I could run two marathons in one month (nor do I think I want to).  As for me, I am lucky to log 25 miles in a week, let alone a single day.  The farthest run I completed was 17.5 miles. I'm going to give it my best, though, and hopefully I will emerge victorious.
This week I have been running between 3 and 4 miles a day. This weekend I want to get one day of 8 or so miles. Next week I will run Monday and Tuesday, and maybe take a walk on Wednesday. I will rest Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (as much as one can rest in fabulouse San Francisco!!), and Sunday is the big day.  Monday I will crawl onto the plane and fly home.
It's gonna be great. I know it. 

Thursday, September 30, 2010

a little fine print...

So, it turns out the new, fab job is not so good for my training.  I go to work at 7am each morning, so in order for me to get a 30 minute run in, I have to get up and out by 5:15am.  Longer runs are completely out of the question.  Ugh...it's early!  And dark.  And sometimes a bit scary.

Yesterday while I was running, I suddenly heard a rustling in the woods that sounded like something was coming right towards me.  I leaped three feet in the air and yelped....at my own cat, Millie (lion kitty, as the neighborhood has so affectionately named her). She is named that, not because she is scary, but rather that she is a long-haired orange and white cat that we have groomed into a lion cut. She was a foster cat that we eventually adopted and really likes to be outside, but her adventures often leave her with horrible burrs and tangles in her fur.  She always feels a little silly after we shave her, but I know deep down she really feels better.  Plus, the neighbors all love her. She has become a neighborhood icon, of sorts. Go, lion kitty!

This morning I nearly jumped out of my skin at a dog that started barking as I ran by.  He was in a fenced yard, and had it been daytime I wouldn't have been bothered at all. But this "dark" thing...I don't know.  I'm unsteady.

Do you run when it is daylight or when it is dark?

All things considered, though...I still love my fab job. This is a small price to pay. And, did I mention they have a workout room?  Problem solved.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

one last run with the boys

This weekend was the Susan Komen 5k race. It is a race that I have always run with my boys in the jogging stroller. The course is fast and flat, and they love the energy, music, and all of the people. Sadly, this was probably the last year that we could do it.  The stroller (I may have mentioned once or twice) is now 100 pounds....goodness knows how heavy it will be next year! 
I am also still training for Nike, so wanted to get in a good run in addition to the 5k race, so my fellow Nike goer, Rachel and I logged 11 miles before the run (please note that I did not bring my boys on this run).

Here we are coming into the finish line!  Do we look great or what?  I am proud to tell you that we ran that 5k, 100 pound stroller and all, in 24 minutes and change.  Can you believe that?  Of course, my buddy Rachel took a couple of turns pushing the stroller while we ran, which pretty much solidified our friendship right there.  I think she wildly underestimated how difficult it is to run with the stroller...what a lesson for a 24 year old! 
This weekend I meet some running club buddies that I haven't seen for a long time for a nice 7.5 mile run. I'm thinking about starting earlier and getting another 5 or so in...one last week of mileage before marathon mania.

Friday, September 24, 2010

a running update

I have been so busy lately with work that I have neglected to blog about all of my running!  I am having a difficult time typing this...but Nike is only three weeks away.  Yikes!  And, although my goal and focus has shifted quite a bit since taking on such a heavy workload, I am still me and I still want to finish strong.  Last weekend I went out and ran 17.5 miles all by myself. It is the farthest I have ever run without buddies, and it wasn't horrible.  Since I wasn't running with anyone, I decided to stick to town (another first for me), and ran a 7.5 mile loop a couple of times, with the 7.5 mark right at my house. That allowed me to put a water bottle on my step and hydrate with each loop, so that was good.  After the second loop (15 miles), my boys wanted to run with me, so I decided I would push them in the stroller for the last couple of miles.

Big mistake. 

A 100 pound jogging stroller is a lot to handle on the best of days...after knocking out 15...it's nearly impossible to navigate. I had to turn left at one point and we nearly crashed into a car that was parked in front of us.  Needless to say, the boys were not impressed by my sloth-like pace while we were running together. 

Tomorrow I run 20. It will be my last long run before the race, and I am ready to be done!  Sunday is the Komen Race for the Cure 5k, and I will be running with the boys in that one.  It will most likely be our last race all together in the jogging stroller. I can't imagine how heavy they will be next year.

Have great weekends!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

opportunity knocked

Well, I'm going to work for "the man".  It's official. I'm the new Project Manager/Marketing Specialist for Masaba Manufacturing.  I couldn't be more thrilled.

The great thing about this is that I actually like "the man" at Masaba.  I like the company philosophy. These guys are amazing, hungry, and eager for ideas and ingenuity.  True entrepreneurs, I feel, and you know how I love entrepreneurs!

I have quite a few projects on my plate to start with, and I'm loving every one of them.  I'm just digging right in.

This week is a busy one for me...but I am feeling fantastic about things!  I hope your week is as fabulous as mine.

Monday, September 13, 2010

new PR for evie

This last weekend was the Sioux Falls Half Marathon race, and I have been planning to run this race as a great prelude to Nike. Plus, this was my first half marathon I have ever run (only last year...can you believe that?), so I will most likely run this one every year.

I have not been feeling my best lately, so wasn't sure if I should even run on Saturday night. There is a stomach bug running rampant through my community, so on Saturday when I started feeling queasy, I was worried about how it was going to go. I'm sure we can all agree that it's not a good thing to be in the middle of a run and have stomach issues in the best of times, nevermind having a gastric illness. I went to bed early, set my alarm, and the next morning decided to go ahead and run.

One thing that helped me make the decision was that I was running the race with my buddy, Rachel, who is also going to Nike with me.  We have only run together once since summer hit, so it was an awesome chance to spend some time together, and also see how fast she has gotten. I picked her up at 5:45am, and we headed over to the stadium where the race was starting.

The place was packed. There is always an amazing turnout for this event, and this year was not exception. We decided to line up fairly close to the front of the pack, since we didn't want to take the chance of getting stuck behind a bunch of people. This happened to me last year, and it really affected my time. We sang the anthem, lined up, and pretty soon we were off!

Our first few miles we were running pretty fast, like 7 minute miles. We both knew we couldn't sustain it for the whole race, but it was feeling good, so we kept going for it.  At mile 5 my stomach started getting funky, so I decided to slow down a bit and let Rachel go ahead of me. We were well on our way to getting PR's, so I certainly didn't want my tummy troubles to be the reason she missed it.

Turns out, it was no problem at all. I managed to get a PR at 1:44! That makes my split times less than 8 minutes. I think that is pretty awesome considering it is a half marathon. My buddy Rachel rocked hers out at 1:41, placing third in her division.
Go girl!

Today I am horribly achy, so I do think I still have a bit of a bug. I plan to take the next few days easy and then get one last long run in before Nike.  After this time, I'm pumped!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

and the Mom of the Year Award goes to....

Definitely not me.  I am both ashamed and embarassed to admit this, but I forgot my son at preschool today. I wasn't just five minutes late...I was 25 minutes late, and only remembered after the teacher called and asked if I was going to pick him up.  Wow. Yikes. No good.

Have you ever had so much going on that you cannot possibly take on one more thing? I am most definitely in that boat right now. My workload is insane, my training is getting intense, and my family is always...well, they're my family. They need me.  Up to this point I have been handling it all, but I think preschool is the proverbial straw for me.  I literally cannot possibly handle picking him up.  My brain won't allow me to retain the fact that I have to pick him up in the mornings. It is terrible. So today I am calling the bus, and my little guy can ride the bus with his buddies from his preschool to daycare, and I will be a hero to him.  I will still feel horrible and guilty, but that's part of being a mom.

Half marathon race this weekend. I am not looking forward to it at all. In fact, I am trying to figure out how I can possibly find the time to run in it. I can't even seem to figure out how to pick my packet up.  Grr.  I will get it worked out.

Hopefully next week I will find time to sit down and recap the race.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

a humbling morning

This morning I got passed like I was standing still. It wasn't pretty. I was out running my usual loop (where I don't EVER see any other runners). It was still a bit dark, and I was running along, listening to Beyonce, feeling pretty good about my pace (8:04/mile). All of a sudden, someone shoots past me like I wasn't even moving. A little bit of my competitiveness kicked in, and I felt myself pick my pace up to try to keep up. It was to no avail. This guy was already long gone, and I was left alone with Beyonce, enjoying her a little less than I had just one minute before.
The guy who passed me is fast. Really fast. I know of him from running group, and he is the type of guy who wins races. By all acounts, I shouldn't feel a bit bad that he passed me. Still, it is a bit humbling when you feel pretty good about where you're at, just to have someone blow your pace to smithereens.
It reminds me of something my Dad told me when I was a kid, and it has always kind of stuck with me. He told me that there will always be someone out there who is better, smarter, faster, or prettier than you.  I know on the surface that this sounds like a terrible thing to say to your young daughter, but it isn't. The point he was making wasn't that I was not any of those things; he was telling me about the importance of hard work. If you want to excel at anything in life, you have to put in the work. And, no matter how good you think you are, someone, somewhere is always just a little bit better than you are, so keep working. I think this lesson is what gave me my sense of determination, and it helps me do things like run marathons and launch companies. It is one of my favorite qualities, and I am so grateful to my Dad for teaching me that.
Now that I am a mother, I find myself having this conversation with my own kids. They don't really understand the message yet...but they will.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Skinny jean heaven

I am FINALLY  back to my training plan! Last week was such a horrible week for me work-wise, and I was full of anxiety about not running as much as I need to for Nike. This week, though, I am back in the saddle, and my morning runs have felt fantastic! The weather is even cooling off in the mornings,  so I am not fighting with the bugs and humidity like before. It just makes the rest of my day that much better.

I have also noticed that I can run faster when the humidity is lower. I feel like I run much more efficiently and breathe better, and I hardly feel my allergies. I am starting to feel optimistic about Nike, since it is in October and it will be cooler. Maybe I have a shot at rocking the Boston qualifying time, after all.

I received a pair of "it" skinny jeans as a gift this weekend. Have you tried "it" brand jeans? I absolutely LOVE them, since they have a higher rise but look very chic.  I hadn't tried the skinnies yet, so when I received them, naturally I was excited. You need a pair of these jeans. These things fit like a glove, they don't slouch (too much), and they keep their shape. I felt fantastic in them all day, and I literally want to wear them every day. They also have a fun zipper detail on the sides, reminiscent of the Guess jeans I had when I was a kid (dating myself, I know).  I also have a pair of 1927 skinny jeans, and while I love those, too...the "it" jeans take the cake. 

This weekend I am running an 18 miler, and I am considering heading back to Sioux Falls for that one again. The hills there are just so perfect for Nike training, and the last time I ran the miles just flew by.  Are you getting ready for any races this fall?

Friday, August 20, 2010

long time no blog

My life just took a turn for the wildly hectic. I can't believe how extremely busy I have been lately. I took on a consulting job for a startup business, and it has been a lot more hours than I first thought it would be.  I haven't run. I haven't eaten well. I haven't slept.  It's no good.

Having said that, things are going to get a lot better from here. I have a plan, I am getting organized, and I am implementing the plan with success.  Are you a planner? Another business lesson....plans are vital, and so is execution. I know, I know, it is very time consuming to sit down and research and brainstorm and think of every possible detail when formulating an operating plan. But it is vital. The plan is the framework upon which your entire building rests. Try building a house without a frame. Impossible. Plans help keep you organized. Plans keep you on track. Plans help you analyze what works and what doesn't.
Remember, though, that the plan is meaningless without execution. Why spend the time to make it if you aren't going to use it?
No running posts this week. No good food posts this week. Next week will be better. Promise.

Friday, August 13, 2010

knocking out a 5k

This weekend I am running a 5k race. I usually run my long runs on Saturdays, but I moved it to Sunday. The race I am running is a local race and fundraiser for the 4-H club. I am mostly running because the organizer is also the daycare provider for my kids, and I guess I just love giving her money. 
Actually, it is for a very good cause, and it will be fun to try to run a short race, since I have been focusing on so much distance lately. I am really going to try to run hard the whole time and finish somewhere in the 22 minute time again. The race is at 9am, though, which is pretty late in the morning. We have had some hot and humid weather lately, so I am anticipating that the race tomorrow will be steamy. That can slow my time down quite a bit. There is also a pretty tough hill on the course, so that will certainly be a factor, as well.
My husband won tickets to a Lifehouse concert tonight, so we are going on a date. It should be fun. At our wedding we played a Lifehouse song for our dance. Hubby likes the band much more than I do, but it will be great to spend the time together. The concert ends late, so that could also affect my performance tomorrow.
In fact, as I type this, it occurs to me that maybe running all out tomorrow is not a wise move. Maybe I will just push myself comfortably out of my comfort level, but not give it my all.  I bet it will make for a much better post-race feeling.

What are you doing for the weekend?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

too rich for my blood

Saturday I met the Sioux Falls running club for a ten mile run through the extremely hilly streets of SF. I have never run with them before, and so I emailed to ask what the pace was, at which time I was told that I would fit right in with my pace and they would love to have me.
That guy lied.
I get out of my car at 6am and see a bunch of men and two women. Normally men don't intimidate me, as I have passed many a man in races, but these guys looked pretty fit. What really got me, though, is the ladies. You could bounce a quarter off of any part of these gals. Goodness. So I introduce myself and ask what their pace was, to which I really didn't get a reply. I told them I run about 8:15-8:45, and they said maybe they started out at that pace but were probably a bit faster.
That lady lied.
Since we all realized that I would most likely be dusted, one of the ladies told me what the route was, which was probably the smartest thing to do, since I would have gotten horribly lost and turned around and sad. We all took off together, running a half mile uphill to get things going. I hung for the first mile but it was challenging, and then when I checked the pace and learned that we were running like 7:14 per mile, I decided it was best for me to back off.
Seriously. Those guys (and gals) are fast. Ridiculous fast. Ludicrous speed fast. To sustain a ten mile run at a 7 minute or less pace is insane. I wonder if I can ever get that fast? The route was fabulously challenging. I never realized how hilly Sioux Falls is. It is a great run for my nike training, and so I will definitely be going back to run behind the SF running club again soon.
Have you ever tried running with a new running group?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

a small work rant

This morning I decided to see what kind of marketing or advertising jobs are available in the region in which I live. It is a pretty rural area, so this was really a curiosity search. Upon entering the term "marketing jobs sioux falls", what resulted were about a dozen jobs that were labeled as marketing jobs, but were actually sales jobs in disguise.

Come on! I have found this to be the case quite a bit in different regions. Why do people automatically lump marketing and advertising with sales? I can assure you they are quite different. Both are extremely important aspects of a successful company; however, what separates the two is that marketing professionals create marketing plans based on sales goals, and salespeople sell the product/service. Marketers rely on research, trends, analysis to help do their job. Salespeople rely on their exceptional people skills and sales savvy. Advertisers are also different from salespeople. Advertisers help implement the marketing plan. They produce the design and copy, whether it be print, interactive, etc. that transmits the marketing message. Salespeople can capitalize on sales based on advertisements, and also based on the go to market strategy. Each is a cog in a very large wheel; they have to work together to make the wheel turn. They are all vital, but they are not the same.

I implore companies looking for salespeople to advertise those jobs as simply that; sales jobs. That, after all, is what you will want in that position, not an advertising person. Likewise, if you want someone to create copy and design, list the job as an advertising position. Same with marketing.

Are there any other jobs tha you can think of that are often confused?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

west nile running

This last week of training has been incredibly difficult. I live in a rather humid environment, and in the last week we have had over nine inches of rain. Yuck. Fields are flooded all over, basements are taking water all over town, and the worst of it...the mosquitoes are HORRIBLE. 

Saturday I ran for 1 hour and 20 minutes. It was extremely foggy because of all of the moisture in the air, so I decided to run in town (which I hate doing because it is tough to get a lot of miles out of my little college town).  Things were fine, until I tried to run on our bike trail, at which time I was nearly carried away by the mosquitoes. I sustained at least 30 bites on my back in a matter of minutes, and I had to finish my time running down and back the only street in town with no grass on it, which also happens to be the busiest street in town. Not the best run, to say the least.

Tuesday I was supposed to run sprints at the HS track. I showed up, ran one lap, and was chased away by swarms of mosquitoes, sustaining about another 30 bites or so, this time on my legs (I guess because my back probably didn't have room for more bites). I finished my sprints running down the middle of my street, and although it did help a bit, I managed to also swallow about 6 bugs while I ran.

These things are monsters. They are everywhere, and there is no respite from them. In fact, I am going to run today on the treadmill, and I hate the treadmill. But I hate being eaten alive more.

I understand that nine inches of rain is ridiculous, but it is still horrible. Between the heat, the bugs, and the flooding, I would much rather train in the winter, even though where I live that usually means running in twenty below temps.  It sure beats this last week!

I'm just continuing on with my training program until West Nile kicks in, and then I may take a few days off....

Thursday, July 29, 2010

grilled pizza goodness

I don't know about you, but in the summer I absolutely hate using my oven. I try to cook as many meals as I possibly can on the grill. It's so fun to be outside grilling up some dinner while my kiddos play in the baby pool or slide on the slip and slide. I can't tell you how many outfit changes we have each day in the summer, or how often I run inside to grab something and come back out to find two totally nude boys splashing around in the pool. I have apologized to all of my neighbors and tried to keep them dressed as best I can, but kids will be kids. Heck, on some of those really hot days I wish I could be naked, too (although I think my neighbors would be a little less okay with that).
Last night I made the most wonderful pizza...on the grill. It is so yummy and easy, and because the pizzas are small personal sized, they can be custom-made. That means I get to have my veggie-loaded pizza, my husband can have his meat-covered pizza, and the kids can have cheese.  I always make my dough homemade. It is really easy to do, and can be made in the morning and left to rise all day, so when it's time for dinner, you have perfectly bubbly, airy crust. I use 3 cups of flour (you can mix wheat and white), 1 tsp of yeast, 2 tbsp of olive oil, 2 tbsp of kosher salt, and about a cup of hot water. I pop all the dry stuff in the cuisinart and slowly add the liquids while it's pulsing. Once a dough ball forms, knead it out a bit and let it rise for hours in an oiled bowl. Too easy.
For my pizza last night I used a caesar dressing for the sauce, tomatoes, basil, zucchini (because this time of year EVERYTHING should have zucchini in it), mushrooms, and a 4 cheese blend of shredded italian cheese. I would totally have put feta on, but I was out and too lazy to go to the store. It was delicious. For my husband's pizza I used deli salami instead of pepperoni, roasted pumpkin seeds, mushrooms, and I snuck in some zucchini. my kids like raw veggies better than cooked, so they got cheese pizza with zucchini slices on the side. We were all in heaven.
The trick to getting perfect grilled pizza is flipping the dough. I brush olive oil on th dough lightly and put it on the grill for 5-7 minutes. Then I flip it and add the toppings. The result is a pizza that can handle fresh toppings without getting horribly soggy or burning the cheese. The grill marks on the dough are pretty beautiful, too. Once you see the bottom browning and crisping up and the toppings looking soft and melty, you know it's ready.
Have you ever had grilled pizza? What's your favorite kind?

Monday, July 26, 2010

not the brightest bulb sometimes

Do you ever have those moments when you realize you are a complete idiot? I had one today. As you may recall, the last Saturday I was excited to meet up with a new running club and knock out ten miles. I got up early and went to the meeting place...and waited...and waited...and nobody showed up. I was a little discouraged, but I was up and dressed, so I decided to go ahead and run by myself. And I ended up rocking a pretty sweet ten-miler that incorporated some wicked hills, which I need because Nike is a hilly little course!

Although I felt great about that, I was still a little saddened that no running club people were there to run with, so I went to the website again today to see if maybe I had missed something.  Guess what? I went to the wrong meeting place! Grrr...I don't know what I was thinking!  I think we will be back at my in-laws house this weekend, so I am going to try to meet them again. This time I will actually go to the right place, though!

Today was the first day of my marathon training. I logged three miles on the treadmill (which I will never do again unless I absolutely have to) and lifted. This is the first time I have ever really lifted since High School a zillion years ago, and I am not loving it. I know lifting is really good for you, but it is so time-consuming, and so much of it is just sitting around waiting to do the next set.  I bet once I start seeing results I will like it more, though. My marathon buddy, Jayme, loves lifting and swears by it. 

Tomorrow I knock out some sprints.  Woo hoo!

Friday, July 23, 2010

group runs and ratatouille

This weekend I am going to be staying at the in-laws house. Since my marathon training starts on Monday (yikes), I really need to get a good ten mile or so run in on Saturday. Usually when we visit I just run by myself for three to five miles, but this time I am going to try something different. I am going on a group run with the local running club. I have never done anything like this before, and I don't know a single soul on the running club, but I think it will be fun. I am not sure what the pace of the group is, so I emailed and hopefully will get a response today. I certainly won't be hanging with a group of 7 minute milers; but I also don't want to run twelve minute splits, either. I'm really hoping this is a fun experience, and it will make me want to seek out and run with other clubs when I travel. Running is a social activity for me, and so a group run appeals to me.
Yesterday I made dinner for the first time in weeks. Since hubby is a teacher, he is off this summer and is doing the cooking. I appreciate it, but am growing a bit weary of brats and hamburgers! We had grilled chicken, lentils, and my favorite, ratatouille. This is the perfect time of year to make it, as the squash and eggplants are coming into season. I like to make mine in the same style as the movie Ratatouille. It's so pretty that way, and the veggies get so tender and delicious. My kids ate the lentils like they were candy, which is good, since we will be having a lot of them during my training.

I'm also hoping to finish my book. It is getting a bit long at this point, as the last few chapters have been dedicated to selling the world on the barefoot running idea. I'm sorry, but I'm just not sold on it. Plus, the book really paints a picture of Nike as being pretty evil, and I like Nike. I have really enjoyed the book for the most part, and will finish, but it's getting a little long for me.

What are your plans for the weekend?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

detox time

I am down to my last week before I officially start training for Nike.  For this week I am just continuing to build my miles, incorporate a sprint workout (which I totally HATE but know will be good for me), and watch what I eat. I'm off the fast food, the potato chips, the cocktails (well, not totally off the cocktails...but I have cut down quite a bit), and am really focusing on consuming the right kinds of foods. I already remember from the last marathon that this can be tricky, since I am a pretty busy person and good food is usually not fast. I plan to combat this by preparing meals in advance (at least always have a whole grain carb of some sort on hand) so that I can simply reheat if time gets tight.
One more thing that I am adding to this training schedule is two days of weights. I did not do any weight training last time, and I think that is ultimately what led to my fatigue during the last marathon (well, that, and the fact that I was at about mile 22 of my 26.2).  In fact, I am having my FitCamp instructor put together a strength schedule for me to do twice a week.  I know me. I will not do any weights if I don't have a schedule to follow. I just don't love them. Maybe after I have been lifting for a bit I will start to.  For now, though, this is much easier for me, and I will do it.
The last time I ran in 3:48.  This time I will finish at 3:30 or below.
I'm almost finished with my ultramarathon book. It is incredible. Makes me want to run all the time. It's probably just what I needed before starting my training. I'm getting pretty motivated.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I am reading the most incredible book right now. One of my husband's softball buddies, and a fellow marathoner, joined the Peace Corps (how cool is that ?!?!), and he left the book for me.  I started reading it last night, and am halfway through already. I can't put it down. 

What is this book, you ask??

It is Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World has Never Seen, by Christopher McDougall.  I am, of course, a subscriber to Runner's World Magazine, and so I recognized his name as a regular contributor. What I did not realize, however, is a running book, Anthropological ethnographic encounter, and novel, all wrapped up in one.  Plus, the writing is great.

Even better, in the part I have read, the strongest runner yet is...get this...a woman. Awesome! She is right in the middle of a major trail race now, and I hope she finishes. I found myself running out of breath with her and bending over on the uphills.

This book makes me want to run. But probably not 100 miles. I'll stick with my pesky 26.2. 

Would you ever run an Ultramarathon?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

conversations with Paula Radcliffe and Tiger Woods

...Well, not really. Yesterday I logged 5 miles, the longest distance I have run since completing my marathon. I am trying to get geared back up to start training for the Nike marathon, and so I am slowly increasing my mileage over the next few weeks. Since I haven't been running in forever, and the runs I have done were without my nikeplus and ipod, I haven't logged anything for over a month. I think nikeplus missed me, because after my run, Tiger Woods congratulated me on completing another 250 miles. Then, when I plugged my ipod in, Paula Radcliffe came on to congratulate me for running 500 miles on my nikeplus so far.

I think that is a very cool thing, and very smart of Nike to motivate runners that way. As you may recall, a lot of my runs during my marathon training did not synch, so I wonder how many miles I have actually run?  For a while I tried to keep track on dailymile.com, but it just got to be too much work logging everything all the time. That is why I love the nikeplus. When it works (about 75% of the time), it logs all my runs and keeps track of my mileage for me. It's one less thing I have to do, and I like that.

All that being said, there are a few things I would enhance to improve the functionality. For example, after my 26.2 I really wanted to look back over the miles and see what my pace was for each mile. I was unable to really break things down, though, since all nikeplus shows you is what your pace was at the time you crossed each mile, and if your pace changed. It doesn't give a split time at all, and that is what I was really looking for.
Also, it would be cool if nikeplus could take the data from my runs and allow me to create customized training plans that incorporate pace in there.

Saturday I have a race, and I can't decide whether to do the 5k or 10k. I know I need the miles; but it would be fun to get one last fast race under my belt before I start back to so much distance. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

4th of july fun

Happy belated 4th of July! I hope you all did something fabulous for the weekend. It was so fun having the holiday fall on a weekend...it just seems more fun that way, doesn't it? Birthdays, Christmas, you name it. I would rather have them fall on a Saturday or Sunday than a Tuesday.  Of course, my birthday is usually a week-long celebration (tee-hee), but it is still nice on a weekend. I figure if I have to keep having birthdays, I might as well get to stretch them out!

For the 4th this year we went to St. Louis. Let me first say that St. Louis is a fabulous place to visit. If you have not been, I highly recommend it. There is so much to do for people of all ages.  It's impossible to get bored there.  The first day we went to Six Flags. I hadn't been to an amusement park since I was a teenager (many years ago), and as soon as I walked through the front gates, I was excited. Just seeing all those amazing roller coasters, hearing the music playing all over the park, and smelling all of the yummy (albeit horribly expensive and unhealthy) food from the vendors made me want to board the fastest coaster right away. The best part...there were no lines. I don't know how this was possible on the July 4th weekend, but we literally walked on every ride. Amazing. My favorite ride was the Evil Kneivel roller coaster.  It was a classic, wooden coaster, and it was fast and FUN. There was also an amazing section for little kids, with a water feature and some log rides and teacup-like rides. The kids all had a great time, and it was a great day.

The next day was just as full, as I went to the Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri with my sister in law and some of her family members for lunch and a wine tour. The winery is German, and so the restaurant food was quite meat-intensive (and by this I mean sausage). They had a "sausage sampler" appetizer that my husband would have cried over. I did not have it, but instead opted for the bacon, ham, and cheddar quiche. It was yummy, but I would have rather had some veggies in my quiche instead of meat. I ordered a side salad to counteract it.

The winery tour was really neat. If you haven't ever toured a winery, I would highly recommend it. It is so interesting to see how wine is made. It is such a rustic science, and a really beautiful sight to behold aged wooden casks in mold-lined cellars. After the tour we got to taste some of the wines, and the clear favorites were the sweeter white wines. I tend to like Chardonnays and there were not any wines like these available. The whites were more like a Reisling or a Gewurtstraminer; very sweet, but on that hot day, they tasted great! After the tasting, we all split a bottle of the Vignoles and listened to the live band that was playing in the courtyard.After the winery, we went back to my SIL's house for a catfish fry, which are apparently Missouri tradition. My brother in law fried up catfish nuggets in a cornbread batter, and they also made some eggplant and other things. Fortunately, they also had a veggie tray to accompany all that fried food. It was delicious. I ate and drank way too much that day. It was totally worth it.

Finally, it was the 4th! We spent it at Lake St. Louis, a private lake that my SIL's grandparents live on. We spend the afternoon boating, swimming, fishing, and having a great time. We ate burgers, hot dogs, tons of different salads and sides, and watched the fireworks once it got dark. It was a really great day and weekend, but my poor family is still tired from the weekend!  We would do it again in a minute.

Friday, June 25, 2010

summer slacking

I just realized this morning that I only have 5 weeks left until I have to start training for the Nike Women's Marathon, and I have been SLACKING. I don't remember the last time I went out for a long run. In fact, if I weren't doing boot camp, I would probably not be doing anything at all.  Not a good way to maintain my fitness between races!I really thought that the summer was going to be easier for training; instead, I think the winter might be easier, since there is not a lot going on. I am so much busier in the summer months, and there are softball games to watch, barbecues to go to and cocktails to drink. It all makes for a summer full of fun and not much else. So...in an attempt to scare myself back into exercising, I put together my training plan for Nike.

I am using Hal Higdon's Boston plan for this go around. His marathon plan for novices turned out to be great, but I really want to knock this marathon on its butt, so I'm picking the intensity level up a bit this time. Here is my game plan:

A couple of big differences this go around is that I have a day for a sprint workout, which I did not do last time. I also have two days for weights/strength training.  Mileage-wise, it is about the same, though. It will be interesting to see if the strength training helps keep my legs stronger. I also wonder about the sprints. I do love me a sprint workout, and in boot camp we do them a lot (which is good). I am not a fast sprinter, but I have firsthand experience of how they can shave those mile times. Anything that takes minutes off my time is good for me!

I was invited by a couple of my buddies to run a 13 mile run tomorrow, but I just got invited to two cocktail parties for tonight. What to do? I think maybe I will just really live these last 5 weeks up, then get serious. After all...it's summer, right?

Monday, June 21, 2010

pr all the way, baby

Okay, so it has been a horribly hectic ten days or so, so I apologize for not blogging. I literally couldn't get a minute to write anything! You know those people who never seem to return an email? I became one of them last week. I have always wondered what the heck they were all so busy doing. I am busy, too, but always seem to have time to pop a quick email off to someone. Last week, though...not so much. I am looking forward to a less hectic week this week (yeah, right).

On Saturday I ran in the Teapot Days 5k race. We went to spend the weekend with my in-laws, and their town has a huge festival every year, complete with road race. I haven't run a 5k since last September, and I really wanted to get one in before I start back to marathon training for Nike in October. This was perfect. It was a fast and flat race, and I PR'ed in 22:45. I think my fastest time prior to this was like 25:30 or something, so I really blew the doors off my previous time. I think I can get that time down even further, though, so I am going to shoot for another 5k next month that I will actually train for, and try to finish in 20 minutes or so. 

Now that I have run a marathon, my perspective on distance has been forever altered. I really looked at this race as a sprint, which, as my husband told me this weekend (several times), is crazy, since it is still 3.1 miles. Who wants to run a 3.1 mile sprint? But that is really what it is. When you run a marathon, you have lots of time and distance, so you have to pace yourself to stay consistent throughout the run. It's a lot the same in a half marathon. Pace, pace, pace. But a 5k...you have to go out fast and stay fast, because it's over in a flash.

I am not sure yet if this new philosophy on running is a good thing or not. I certainly don't want to become one of those people who don't think I got a workout in if I ran less than 8 miles. There is a lot of benefit in being able to run the shorter runs quickly. Hopefully I can find a nice balance between the two races.

Friday, June 11, 2010

kid free friday

Last night and this morning I experienced what life is like without children. I packed the kids up after work and took them to Grandma and Grandpa's to spend the night (yay), and then met some girlfriends I never get to see for dinner. It was so fun catching up! Then I headed home, since I had boot camp at 6 the next morning.

I got up today, went to boot camp (which, by the way, has increased in difficulty quite a bit. We did so many squats and lunges today that I may not be able to sit down tomorrow), and came home to get ready for my day. Okay, people without kids, you have such a relaxing life! For the first time in I don't know how long, I was able to drink an entire cup of coffee at one sitting. Amazing. Also, I was the only person in the bathroom while I was getting ready this morning. I didn't have to chase my son around the house to retrieve my eyeliner, or stop a blowdryer gun fight between my boys. I just got ready. Fabulous.

Although I miss the little guys, it has been a nice little break.  Tomorrow morning I meet a buddy for a sprint workout, then I am headed to east bank yoga studio for a private class for me and a few of my friends. I am really excited about having a professional check my form and breathing since my last bout with yoga. I do love yoga; I just want to make sure I am doing it correctly.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

correction: some fuss fit camp

I have to amend my previous post regarding the upcoming fit camp. Before it started, we received an email that sounded like it was going to be a really rough session. Monday was our first session, and overwhelmingly, the regular attendees were a little disappointed.

Now, don't get me wrong. There were some aspects of it that were quite challenging. Overall, though, we all feel we have been challenged more in the past. Basically, the class began at 6am with a short  (300-400meter) lap, then some light stretching exercises. I can't say too much here, because I was ten minutes late. My son caught strep throat, and so I was up with him all night and he didn't want me to leave. It is amazing what a cup of juice and the Monsters vs. Aliens can do for a kid. He was fine for me to leave after that (with his Dad watching him, of course.  No social services calls, please).

After warming up, we broke into smaller groups of 4-5 people and did a circuit of four stations. The first was a sprint station, where our partners and us would take turns sprinting between two sets of cones for one minute, then rest for one minute. The cones were not that far apart, and the rest minutes, coupled with the taking turns thing made it ineffective for me.  We did this four times.

The next station involved throwing medicine balls back and forth with our partners for one minute and one minute of rest. Again, I would have eliminated the minute of rest between sets, as it amounted to not a lot of work.

Station #3 was difficult, I must say. We all lined up on a beam and did running step-ups for one minute, followed by a minute of rest.  I would not change anything here. This was difficult.

Finally, we made it to the ab station, where we did a series of abdominal exercises that worked all of the muscle groups. I wouldn't change anything here, either. I don't think abs ever get easier. I don't care how many ab exercises I do, it still hurts to work my abs. I guess that's why I need somebody to tell me to do them. 

Tomorrow is the second session, and I think I will go at 5:30 and get in a 3-4 mile run before it starts. That way I feel like I am getting a good cardio workout in, as well as a total body workout. One very cool thing about this boot camp is that there are quite a few people who are just getting back into fitness. I think this is a great way for them to jump-start themselves into a healthy lifestyle. I really admire people who have made a renewed commitment to getting healthy. I remember very well from when I started that it is awful getting into shape. Once you are in shape it is easy to maintain it...but getting there is a really difficult and painful road. I am sure that because there are so many varying levels of fitness in the camp, it is tough to make sure everyone is getting an adequate workout. I would much rather have the camp be a rewarding challenge for the newcomers, and I hope it starts a life of healthy living for them and their families!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

a no-fuss fit camp

From time to time I like to sign up for boot camps. Although I don't love to do them all year round, I find that they are usually a great way for me to jump-start myself into better fitness routines. For example, my last  boot camp was in January, just at the time of year when I usually go dormant. Not only did it keep me fit through the unbearably cold Midwest winter months...I was motivated enough to stay afterwards and log miles on the track, or even brave the cold and run outside. Because of boot camp, I kept my fitness level up enough to run a Spring marathon; not an easy feat if you live smack in the middle of the plains.

Usually the instructor for our classes is Barb, and she is great. Don't get me wrong....Barb will kick your butt; but she is a really gentle soul, and so getting together is fun, and it feels like we are all "in it together," as she works out right along side of us. Alas, Barb has had some back problems, and so the summer Fitcamp is being taught by someone new.

Since the class starts Monday, we received an email from our new coach introducing himself and giving some details of the class.  I saw the email come in, read it, and started trembling.  I think this is going to be a serious fit camp.  First of all, the guy is a former college football player...his assistant is a former college basketball player, and both are certified personal trainers.  Please see below for a small excerpt of the email that I received this morning:

This is a very intense class, in order to get everything done in the time and space we have, I would appreciate it if you pushed yourself as hard as you can through sprints, ladders, running, plyometrics, and any other stations that will enhance your fitness level! We do not know how much weight you are capable of lifting or your endurance when it comes to running, but challenge yourselves to get better each week! One last reminder, the class does start at 6:00am at Barstow Park, unless rain or lightening, we will be in the Dome. We would appreciate it if you show up 5 minutes early rather than right at 6:00 am that way you are not taking time away from others who want to be dedicated to their workout.

Yep...this guy is no joke. I'm a little scared about showing up on Monday, and am half tempted to email him and remind him that his participants are all women in their 30's and 40's with children!  Somehow, though, I don't think he would care. 

I better look great at the pool after this, that's all I have to say. Bring it on...football boy.  Bring it on.

the mama's way to shave those mile times...

After my youngest son was born, I decided that I would start running again. Since I had two babies that I had to take care of and I didn't want that to be an excuse for me to not run, my husband and I decided that we would spend $550 on a Bob Revolution Dualie Stroller. It was spendy and a tough decision, but in the end it was probably one of the best baby purchases we have made to date. The stroller has large wheels, so running with it is an absolute breeze. That first summer, the boys and I just ran all over town. I would figure out my runs so that we would finish at the park so I could feed Austin and Aidan could play on the slide or swing. It was great. I also think it helped kick-start me into fitness, as the stroller with both of the boys weighed about 60 pounds. Once I started running without the stroller, my mile times really improved. I loved the Bob Duallie!

Now, fast forward two years.  The stroller weighs the same, but each of my boys is now about 30 pounds. That makes my stroller, with both boys inside, 95 pounds! And just so you get an accurate picture of how heavy this is...I weight about 120 pounds. OMG that is one tough run! The unfortunate thing (for me) is that the boys love going running in the stroller. And, why shouldn't they? They have done it for the last two years now. That is kind of our thing; we even have a usual running path and landmarks that we look for, like the snail mailbox and the big rock. The boys sit and visit with me the whole time, and it's really just good, quality time for us.

I fear, however, that my days of running with the boys is almost at an end. After running 3.5 miles pushing them last night, my back is horribly stiff. Where it used to be so easy to turn the corners and steer with one hand, now that I have 95 pounds in front of me, we don't corner on quite the rail we used to, and my poor, little wrist can't handle balancing all of that weight. I don't know how I'm going to break it to them. I will just have to get up early and get my runs out of the way before they get up.  Or, maybe the stroller should meet with an unfortunate accident. At any rate...I bet I shaved some seconds off my mile times last night.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

yoga isn't for wussies

Gotta love those holiday weekends! I had a great time taking my kids to the pool and getting tons of chores done around the house, you know, the extra kind that you never seem to have time for during the week? I always feel so great when those things get done.

Also, as you know, I have been doing lots more yoga lately.  I am using my DVD from Shiva Rea, and since I have been on the beginner level for awhile and feel like it is pretty easy, I decided to step it up a notch and try some of the intermediate stuff.  I had no idea what I was in for.

This is, of course, NOT a picture of me doing this pose, but this is what the intermediate level required.  It was truly the most difficult workout I have ever attempted (and remember...I ran a marathon), and my body is still sore in places I didn't know had muscles.  I am absolutely certain that I looked like a total idiot trying to get this pose together. I finally had to stop the video after awhile, because I just couldn't keep up with Shiva Rea! She makes getting into and out of each pose so graceful and easy. I look like I have just ingested nerve gas, and my feet made loud thuds the entire time. My husband kept coming in to check on me, just to make sure I hadn't broken something (which, halfway through the workout, I kind of wished I had).

I think that trying to do poses like this without any professional form help is potentially dangerous, so I think it's time I took a yoga class or two.  That way somebody can check my form and make sure I am doing things properly. Shiva Rea is convenient, but she won't call 911 if I break my leg doing a firefly pose!

Monday, May 24, 2010

back in the saddle

I finally was able to run for the first time since the marathon on Sunday...and it felt great. Scary awesome. I even had the jogging stroller and my two year old (about 70 pounds altogether) with me, and it still felt great.  Thank goodness.  My knees were very wobbly all last week, and I was afraid I had an injury or something.  It turns out, running a marathon is just hard on your body. Plain and simple.  Who knew?

I am still going to take the next couple of months and do more cross-training.  Saturday I did my yoga again. I have really missed that, and am going to really try to get back into it. Next week I start a boot camp that runs three mornings a week. There is something so wonderful about having to just "show up" and that is it. Somebody tells me what to do, and I do it.  I don't have to rely on myself to push it. Someone is yelling at me, and all I have to do is sweat.  Right on.  I guess that is why personal trainers are so fabulous.  I get it. 

I still don't have any kettlebells, but I am getting closer to making the purchase.  There is no real reason that I haven't gotten them yet, other than I just haven't had the time.  Stay tuned, though...they're as good as purchased!

This Sunday my family all went to watch a minor league baseball game. It was crazy hot outside. I think our section was seated just left of the surface of the sun.  Seriously...people were sweating so much that the backs of their shorts/pants/skirts were soaking wet (mine included). What a great look.  Good thing it was universal.  We decided to buy snowcones at the park to cool us off, and they were tasty. Have you had a snowcone recently? I highly recommend them. Very refreshing. My kids all loved the game, and it was a great way to spend some time together. Now that summer is upon us, we will be looking for more ways to spend time as a family.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

big, fat, awesome party

I am so glad that I finished my marathon, I have decided to throw myself a party!  I can think of nothing better than schmoozing it up with my girlfriends over some drinks, and this is a fabulous excuse to get everyone together.  Plus...I have slimmed down so much while training, my skinny jeans are looking pretty good on me these days, if I do say so myself!

Here is the invitation that I made up for the big event.  I didn't have access to my usual fabulous adobe suite (boo hoo), so I had to make this up in MS Publisher.  Still, it got the job done.  I mostly sent them out as evites.  I just love the convenience and affordability (meaning zero cost) of evites. Now I can save my $$ for fun stuff like food and drinks at the party!  Do you prefer to send evites, or do you like paper invitations?

I am really having a tough time resting this week. Training was so time and energy consuming, and now that I don't have that, it feels as if I am missing something, that whole "I lost my purse" feeling.  My body is used to having endorphins rushing through it, as well, so I am really missing those, too.  I did try to run a little this a.m, but my knees still feel really boggy, so I just made it around the block and stopped.  I am hoping that on Saturday I will be able to log a few miles, but if I don't feel ready, I won't.  I have to stay healthy for Nike in October!

Would you, or have you, ever thrown yourself a party?

Monday, May 17, 2010

26.2 recap, part 2

am came early (of course), and we got up and decided to have some breakfast.  I need at least one cup of really strong coffee every morning, but this morning I was disappointed in the hotel coffee. It was weak and stale tasting, and not that satisfying.  For breakfast we decided to have some Green monsters, since Jayme brought her Magic Bullet blender (the greatest blender in the world). Chef Jayme was blending her little arse off at 4am.   I hope our neighbors were also running the marathon. Otherwise we probably ruined their visit.
We also ate some oatmeal with blueberries in it, and it was pretty good. I usually have some peanut butter toast, but we didn't want to mess with the continental breakfast and I didn't bring any for myself (dumb move).

Then it was off to the marathon!  It was pretty cold when we got there (47 degrees or so), but I decided that I didn't want to run in a long-sleeved shirt. I hate running when I am hot.  There were lots of runners wearing long pants and jackets, and I can't imagine how hot they must have been halfway through the race. 

We all lined up at the start line, a beautiful voice sang the national anthem, and we were off!  The half-marathoners started at the same time as we did, and we all ran together for the first 11 miles, which was nice because we got to run with Karen.  It was pretty smooth going, and we were making pretty good time. I was absolutely starving by mile 4, and really was wishing I had eaten some peanut butter toast. I need to eat a lot when I run.

At 11 Karen split off from us, and it was a little disheartening, since we still had so long to go. Karen ended up running a stellar half marathon time of 1:50.  Go Karen! I wish I could have been there cheering her in. 

Jayme and I ran together and were feeling okay until around mile 22, when we hit the wall.  And what a wall it was.  I had been warned about this feeling, and it was no joke. I don't recall ever feeling like I couldn't go on like I was feeling that day.  I just kept thinking, "get to the next water station. Then you can walk," but I did have to stop a couple of times in between stations.  We ended up running in our last mile, though, so it was a strong finish.

The best part of the marathon...my husband and kids surprised me.  I was running into the end, about to die, when I hear this familiar voice yell, "Go Mommy!"  I started crying, partly out of exhaustion, but mostly because it was so amazing to have them there for this huge accomplishment. I didn't really realize what a big deal it would be for me.  What a great hubby I have!  We joke now that it is a good think he didn't surprise me with two miles left in the race. I don't think I could have run two miles crying the whole way!

Here we are, the three big racers! What you don't see is Jayme and I don't have any shoes on, and we can't really walk that well or bend over.  Still, we look beautiful, I think.  Yay us!
Now that a couple of days have passed, I am still pretty stiff, but looking forward to the Nike Marathon in October.  I won't start training for it until the end of July, but I am going to be a little more aggressive with my distance and speed work this time around. Now that I have a marathon under my belt, I know that what we train for is actually the last six miles of the race. The first 20 are cake.  I'm following Hal Higdon's Boston plan, since I plan to not only break that 3:40 mark...I am going for 3:30 now. 

so long, marathon (recap, part 1)

Evie Clercx
Bib No: 28
Pace: 8:43
Age: 33
Sex/Category: F
Division Place: 5 out of 13
Gender Place: 14 out of 68
Overall Place: 58 out of 203

I can't believe I ran a marathon!  It is surreal. I did it.  My finishing time was 3:47, so just a bit slower than what I wanted to finish in. I am okay with that, though.  Let me give you a quick recap of the events:

Friday afternoon my friend Karen, who ran the half, picked me up at my house.  She offered to drive since Jayme and I were both running the full and weren't sure our legs could handle the drive home.

Then, it was off to get Jayme and get on our way.  The race is two hours away from where we live, but we wanted to get there in time to pick up our packets and eat a nice pasta dinner.

Here we are picking up our packets! Except, this was the wrong building.  Silly us.  We finally found the correct place to go and picked our stuff up.  This race had disposable racing chips, so that was kind of a cool switch. I don't know about you, but I get nervous about losing my chip mid-race. I don't want to have to pay $30 or whatever just because my chip fell off, and I don't want to have my race not count because I didn't turn my chip in.

Next stop...dinner!  We were all starving by this time, so we went to a restaurant called BraVo's for some pasta.  We got a coupon for a discount on a pasta dinner in our race bags, so that pretty much decided it for us.  Since the weather was beautiful, we decided to sit outside for dinner.  Although the weather was nice, the service was not the best.  We sat there FOREVER before someone waited on us.  As a former waitress, I am pretty sympathetic to all servers, as I know first hand how difficult the job can be.  But it wasn't even all that busy, so I kind of think we got sat and everyone just forgot about us.  Oh well...I had spaghetti and meatballs, and it was really yummy. They also served bread and garlic dipping oil, and the three of us polished off two loaves. It was yummy.  Is that a glass of wine in front of me, you ask? Yes, it certainly was.  I was really debating about drinking it since it was the night before my race, but decided it would be okay, since in training I always had a beer or something the night before my long runs and I did fine.  It also kind of calmed my nerves.  It was so good, I had two glasses (whoops).

After dinner we decided to head back to the hotel and get ready for bed.  We would have to get up at 4am in order to get dressed and breakfast eaten in time, and by this time it was close to 9pm.  Although I brought a few options for running, I ultimately decided on my pink fila shirt and nike shorts. I didn't want to take my fuel belt but needed something to hold my GU, and my fila shirt has pockets.

After setting four alarms (three phone and one wake-up call), we were off to bed for the night. We had a room at the Holiday Inn Express, and they had the most comfortable beds in the world.  I would like to go on vacation and just sleep in one of those beds! That became the joke of the trip for us. "Are you a runner?"  "No, but I stayed in a Holiday Inn last night." I kind of get the joke now.