Friday, August 29, 2014

Foodie Pen Pals...

It has been a while since my last Foodie Pen Pal post, and I'm not sure why I decided to join in again, but I got on the list for August and was looking forward to seeing who I would get paired up with.

Basically I send someone a package and that person sends me a package, you can get more details here. It is fun to see what someone you've never met before picks out to send you.

I got paired up with Melissa over at A Pearl and Her Pilot, and after some missed communication we emailed and found out a little bit about each other and then it was off to shop.

My box came last week, and seriously, who doesn't love to get packages in the mail?

Looks like a box full of yumminess, if you ask me.
 
The fig bars are fabulous. I have very limited experience with figs, aside from the fig newtons I have eaten during marathon training in the past, and figs on the Skinny pizza at Cool Greens, this would be the first time I have ever had something fig-like in my house. I am having a hard time NOT eating them all at once.
 

The Sahale granola is pretty tasty too. Although, I must admit the cranberries make me think of raisins, which I kinda hate. Anyone else think raisins are just humiliated grapes? (Name that movie!)

I have not had a chance to crack into the honey, but this was a great pick for me as well.  I love peanut butter and banana sandwiches drizzled with honey. I might have to make that my pre long run breakfast this weekend. It is possible that I am the only person in the world that doesn't know the difference between raw honey and what I buy at the store, but I do love that my pen pal shopped local for me.

I will admit, I was a little skeptical about the green chile and white bean soup by The Spice Hunter. Mostly because I am a soup snob, but I love having soup in my lunch so I gave it a shot, and you know what? It was really good. Makes me want to throw some green chilies in my next pot of soup.

Anyone else loving Kind bars? I stumbled on the dark chocolate with sea salt recently and I have been buying it exclusively. I love the chocolate with the saltiness. This has been my pre long run breakfast as of late. Yum.

Finally, almond butter. It's funny that Josh and I were just having a conversation about almond butter at the grocery store the other day. What better way to try something out, that tens to be a little more pricey than peanut butter, than in individual size packets? (I love individual sized things.) I threw the plain one in my smoothie this morning and it was pretty tasty.

So there you have it, all the goodies that someone I have never met before decided I needed to have in my life. It was a good box, and I can't wait to see what happens next month!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Marathon Training...

It has been a month since my last super whiny marathon training post. So I thought I would check back in and see how it's going.

A few weeks ago, I am not going to lie, I had a "Holy crap, what was I thinking, I never want to run again" run. It was 14 miles, and my fabulous friend Sarah stuck with my slow self the entire time, and by slow I mean, how about we walk about three of these 14 miles? It was awful. It was so freaking hot outside and so humid that I could squeeze the sweat out of my socks and my shoes were soaked. It was not raining, that was a couple of shoes full of my sweaty, not so fabulous, self.

I even considered, and said, more than once, that I was doubting my decision to even be training for this race. Yes, I have said it a few times since then, but less this week than in previous weeks.

The Saturday after that horribleness, I ran 16 miles that turned out to be a tad less horrible. It has been so hot, and humid here. It is crazy. I feel bad when I need to take walk breaks when I am running with others, but I can't run without them. My last seven miles were all on my own, and with my headphones on I managed to have the best five mile run in a while. I ran and walked when I needed to. No pressure to keep up, or to not walk.

Last week was better, although the fact that it didn't feel as humid as it had been probably was a big factor in this. I ran some of it by myself, and then ran some with a friend that is training for a half ironman and said that she would be walking during the half portion of her race so it was okay to have some walk breaks with me.

When we got back I looked like I had jumped into a swimming pool. NO joke.
You should thank me for not including my super sweaty self in this picture, although it's kind of rude of me to block out half of Anne's face with my visor. The second after I snapped the picture Ro stuck her tongue out, so it's a pretty big group selfie fail.

Oh well.

So this run was much better for me mentally. It felt manageable, even if it was painfully slow. This weekend I am planning for 18, although I think we are running on Monday, which sounds awful. We are running the Brookhaven 5k on Saturday, oh if I didn't love our local running store so much I would not do it. I guess we will see if my track workouts are paying off, but I did skip the track party yesterday in order to get an hour more sleep, so that might not have helped much.

Running is an adventure, and it's supposed to be fun. It is getting to be more fun, but I sure can't wait until Fall.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Girls are 14...

I know, everyone says that time flies, right? Well, except if you are a five year old waiting for Christmas, but the older I get the faster time seems to speed up.

My little girls, will always be like this to me.


And yet somehow they have turned into this...

Post hair cut pic, headed down to Dallas. I swear I have a picture of me when I was a kid with the exact expression Carson has on her face in the kitty picture. Those kitties look like they are just loving the photo session.
 
We headed down to Dallas for a long weekend to celebrate, and we went to Six Flags on Saturday. First up, the carousel.

Camy

Josh

Camy and a very thrilled Carson

After this picture we melted the whole day.
 While Camy and Josh rode the Batman roller coaster, Carson and I sat in the shade.
We didn't last out in the heat the whole day, and instead of getting ice cream at the park, we opted to find some on the way back to the hotel. Oh boy, did we find some good ice cream. Carson and I used to be avid Cupcake Wars watchers, so we were familiar with Sprinkles Cupcakes, but we had no idea they had ice cream. Best. Ice. Cream. Ever.

Plus, they had a cupcake ATM right outside the store. Of course we had to try it, because it's a cupcake ATM. I went with the vanilla ice cream with the crumbled fudge brownie and I cannot tell you how good this was. As for the cupcake, it was good, but we all agreed that we have had better. I thought it needed a little more frosting, and it just didn't knock my socks off like this cup of ice cream.

We headed back to the Embassy Suites and jumped in the pool for a bit, and then headed down to the Managers Reception. When you travel, you should stay at the Embassy Suites, not only do they offer an amazing free breakfast with made to order omelets but they offer free adult beverages and snacks every night. I had a few too many of these, and we ordered a pizza and relaxed the rest of the evening. 

My wonderful mother-in-law got there Saturday night and we spent Sunday back to school shopping at one of the outlet malls. Outlet Mall + Tax Free Weekend = ALOT OF PEOPLE!
 
We ended Sunday night with dinner at The Melting Pot. Yum.

Me and my beautiful birthday girls.

A meal that starts with cheese and ends with chocolate is probably the best thing ever.
 
We headed back to the hotel and Josh decided he couldn't wait to get gas. While we were waiting at the gas station we rolled the back driver's window down, and it did not roll back up. Don't you just miss the old crank windows? Technology is not always good. Josh headed out to find supplies to make the X5 a little more classy and we thought we did a good job, until we got on the road Monday and the tarp just wasn't going to last.

So we made a short pit stop and took the classiness up another notch with our duct tape window. I would recommend that everyone keep a roll or two in your car, because in a pinch it makes a fabulous window. We drove almost 200 miles home at about 75mph and this held up like a champ. The noise was not bad, and Carson even had her new hoodie on the whole way home.

As much as we liked it, our first stop after picking up the pups, and taking everything out of the car was the repair shop. I am hoping to get my car back with a brand new motor in this window this afternoon.

We had a great weekend, lost of great memories, and now it's time to get ready for the girls to head back to school.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Why Am I Doing This...

 
A few months ago, when I was a few weeks out from the OKC Memorial Marathon, and a friend of mine suggested we all get into the lottery for the Chicago Marathon it sounded like a FABULOUS idea. Now I am just over 78 days away from my next 26.2 and I was wondering why I am doing this.

This will be marathon #4 for me, and I am super excited to go run in one of my favorite cities with some of my favorite people. Plus, it'll be FLAT, FLAT, FLAT! Our hotel is booked, plain reservations are made, and we even have a reservation to carb load on Saturday night.

But holy cow, do I feel like I have a long way to go! After recovering from over training for my last 26.2, I have been working for the last month on building up my miles again. I am back to running 6 miles during the week pretty regular and have been turning my Saturday runs into something that would resemble a long run.

I have 14 miles planned for tomorrow and I am trying to not feel super intimidated by the distance. I have a good plan, which won't involve many solo miles, and I will be running with as many friends as possible. I am hoping the miles will just fly by. What are the chances there is another polar vortex that swoops into Oklahoma in the next 12 hours or so and I wake up to temps in the 40s? Probably not very likely.

I always think, after a marathon, that maybe it's not the race for me. I much prefer a half marathon. I love a race for which it doesn't take much to be trained. Marathons are time consuming! But, I am still chasing that perfect race. The perfect course, the perfect weather, the perfect raining, and I think that is what is keeping me coming back.

Will Chicago be that race? Will I get my 4 hour marathon? Will I at least get a PR? Only time will tell, and I will continue to slog through these summer runs, knowing that cooler weather should be coming at some point, and the heat will make me that much stronger.

78 days to go...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

I Feel Like I Am Doing Alot of Catching Up...

So, I originally started the blog as a way to keep a record, so that someday someone could look back on this and maybe think that I did some fun or cool things with my life. I think the only way that is actually going to happen is if I actually write on the blog.

The summer is almost 2/3 over and what have I done? A lot of nothing. Ha! Not really, but some days it feels like it.

I did turn 40. Yikes! Remember when your parents were 40? Well I remember thinking how OLD my parents were, and they were younger than me when I was 13. (In case you don't know, that's how old my girls are, at least for another three weeks or so.)

I am trying to embrace the fact that I have another decade under my belt. How about a look back at some of the highlights of my 30s?

  • I became a vegetarian
  • I participated in 3 3-Day Breast Cancer Walks
  • I ran three marathons
  • I ran ten half marathons
  • I did four sprint triathlons
  • I did one Olympic distance triathlon
  • I had 2 knee surgeries
  • I had Lasik eye surgery
  • I had my appendix removed
  • I fell two times while running
  • I crashed my bike once, and fell over on my bike once
  • I survived elementary and middle school with my girls
  • I survived the loss of Lucy, our first four legged baby
  • We gained two other four legged babies
  • We bought a new house
  • We tossed around the idea of having another baby (What were we thinking?)
  • My girls decided they no longer wanted to share a bedroom
  • We became debt free
  • I discovered that indie rock is my music of choice and saw Wilco four times in concert
  • I learned how to bake really good chocolate chip cookies
  • I learned how to bake and decorate pretty fabulous sugar cookies
  • I took a cake decorating class
  • I discovered that I love Chicago
  • We went on our first cruise
  • I had my first, and only, tequila shot (30th birthday)
  • Celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary
Well that I all I can think of right now. I don't think that is all I did in the last decade, I sure hope not. I do know that I am not the same person I was when I was 30 and I am proud of who I have become in the last ten years.

Here's to the new decade and all the adventures that are in store for it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scorcher Half Marathon...

It is a testament to the craziness of my friends when one of them suggests we sign up for a half marathon called the Scorcher, in June, in Oklahoma, and three of us take her up on it.

Back at the beginning of May, right after the horribleness of the OKC Memorial Marathon, my first thought was redemption. My chance to finish out my time in the 35-39 age group with a speedy race based on the previous strong running that had been going on earlier this year.
 
Best laid plans and all...
 
After getting about four hours of sleeps, thanks to a wonderful surprise birthday party the night before, Rochelle picked me up and we headed for Stillwater at 4 am. I should say that we left Norman and traveled in thunderstorms the entire trip. After OKC, I was not looking forward to a rain delay. We found the start of the race with little effort, and got to wait out the rain under the Stillwater High School football stadium. Bonus points to the race director for this, and the real and abundant restrooms in the stadium.
 
We had about a 20 minute delay, so as always we got a picture or two.
 
Even with the rain, it was a beautiful morning.

Me, Sarah, Ro and Anne
We got lined up and set out in the rain. It took about four miles for me to give up on trying to avoid the puddles on the route. After about the first mile my friends went off on their paces and I settled in with my plan to run and walk when I needed to.
 
My hopes for a speedy race had pretty much been thrown out the window during May when I struggled with what my doctor called Overtraining Syndrome. After weeks of insomnia, fatigue, and upper respiratory problems it was nice to know I wasn't crazy, but it also meant that I needed to step back and rest. So, with very few miles in the weeks leading up to this race I knew that I would just have to listen to my body, and I am happy to say that I did.
 
It turned out to be a very fun day. I talked to quite a few people out on the route, and was happy to finish even if my time was horribly slow (for me). I did get to see Scotty, who won the race at about mile 8 and we took a selfie by the port-o-potties.
Me, Scotty and the port-o-potty
Did I mention that it rained the entire race? Thankfully it was not cold, but I regret my decision to wear a race skirt, shorts would have been a much better option.
 
Me and Gus at the finish line.
I got a picture with the owner of my favorite local running store, OK Runner. Yes, I know I look like I just crawled out of a very large puddle.
 
And then there was a post race, change into dry clothes picture with the girls.
 
There was one scary moment in the restroom when I was putting on said dry clothes, when I had some trouble with the dry sports bra. I thought I was going to have to ask a stranger for help but I managed to get dressed all by myself.

Not so much a Scorcher, we renamed it the Super Soaker Half Marathon. Who would have thought?


Monday, June 23, 2014

Another Memorial Marathon...

***I originally wrote this post on 5/5, guess I have done a pretty horrible job of keeping up with this. I am not going to edit this, but I do plan to post later why I think this day was so hard for me.***

Marathon #3 didn’t go exactly as I planned.
I think the OKC Memorial Marathon and I are officially breaking up. I know that I had said before that I would never run the full here again, and I don’t know what I was thinking that changed my mind. You just hate to have one of your running buddies go it alone; and I have been running strong all year.

My alarm went off at 4 am, and Josh was wonderful enough to get up to head out the door with me at 4:45am. We picked up Sarah, Rochelle and Cliff, swing by and meet up with some other friends to caravan downtown. The beauty of the Memorial, and I know I have said this before is that my office is right in the middle of the starting line and the finishing line. With a little sneaking around I can get into our parking lot for free parking, real bathrooms and we have now waited out two rain delays in our break room.

Of course there were pre race pictures.
 

 It all started to go to hell when they announced the first rain delay, then another, and another. In all the race started at 8:15 which, if you are keeping track, was almost two hours after the initial 6:30 start. So by the time we crossed the starting line, we should have been very close to being at the half way point. I ate breakfast at 4:30, so I was almost 4 hours past my banana and bonk breaker breakfast.

We started out well, maybe a little fast, but Sarah and I tried to settle into a pace that was sustainable over the long haul. We made it up the Walnut Street Bridge, through the bottleneck onto Lincoln, and made sure to hit up all the water stops on the course. Josh and Jen were at mile six cheering us on and before we knew it we were at the split and headed towards Chesapeake.

At mile 9, I had to take a walk break. Not long before then the clouds that had brought the earlier rain, decided to clear off completely and all that was left was the blazing sun and heat. My new plan to deal with the heat was to run a mile and walk a minute and get as much water/PowerAde at the water stops as I could. I saw Josh and Jen again at the half way point and they had ice for me that I ended up putting down the front of my sports bra.

After that it just got ugly. There was very little shade and the course heads out to Lake Hefner and the wind going south was brutal. I was not the only runner out there having a miserable time. I was near tears when I saw Josh again at mile 17, in a spot that I had not expected to see them, and I tried to keep running as much as I could by then. The water stop around mile 19 was handing out cold sponges and I kept pouring water down my back to try to keep cool.

At mile 20, Josh ran a little and walked a lot with me for the next mile or so. The highlight of the whole day was the beer that one of the local running stores was handing out at mile 21. Best. Beer. Ever.

If I had known how horrible the day was going to be I would have started drinking earlier. The next couple of miles were more walking than running. Everything hurt; my knees and hips, along with the pain of blisters on my toes made every step impossible and running into the strong south winds made standing up straight even when I was walking a struggle.

Rochelle showed up around mile 23 and grabbed my arm and forced me to start running again. I can honestly say that I would not have been able to finish if she hadn’t been there. She made me keep running and when I was ready to walk so would only let me slow down. She talked me all the way to the finish line, and Josh and Jen were waiting there to cheer me on once more.

 
I knew that it was going to be a warm day, and I had adjusted my goals for the day before we even began, but I never imagined how horrible it would be. I crossed the finish line in under 5 hours, about 30 minutes slower than Cowtown last year.

No finish line photos with friends this time around, but I did get one selfie with Cliff before we headed home to a much needed ice bath.
I didn’t feel like a quitter this time around, but it’s so hard to train for a marathon and then have your performance on race day not reflect how strong I felt throughout my training. You can’t control everything on race day, and we were just dealt a pretty crappy hand. I am thankful that I had family and friends out on the route that were supporting me, I could not have done it on my own.

No more Memorial Marathons for me. I think I will stick to the half marathon, or maybe I will convince my super speedy friends that we could do well as a relay next year.