Sunday, June 30, 2013

Slow and hard

We all know I can't resist a good that's what she said (and it's even more important to keep it going strong now that The Office is over), but my post title actually refers to my training this weekend. It was pretty much all done at slow paces that should have felt nice and easy, but they didn't.

Let's start out with Friday's long run. I planned to get up nice and early to beat the heat. Then, I remembered I hate waking up early. Actually, you could take the "early" off that sentence and it would still be true.

That's when I got this really genius idea to use my long run to mimic race day conditions. Both my ultras next month will go past noon, and it's July, so it's safe to say it will be extremely hot. So why not get used to it now? I was filled with this weird false confidence because Thursday's run had been in 93 degree sunlight, and I'd kept a 9:18 pace easily and even had energy to do what Eric claims is the hardest month one insanity workout when I returned.

Whatever I was smoking on Thursday's run was long gone and I suffered through the most miserable miles that I can ever remember. It was god awful, even with walking up some of the hills. After 10 miles, I gave up and turned to the treadmill. I think it was too late though, because that "I want to die" feeling didn't go away, so I only did 3 on there and just called it a stepback week and gave up and used my remaining energy to berate myself for being pathetic.

Saturday, I had a hot (literally) date with my friend Jackie for a long, long overdue swim/bike/run. Like, I seriously am not sure if I have swam since the tri I did the day after Harrison was born, and I got the invitation to his first birthday party today.

I did 5 miles at a 9:50 pace before we met up and based on how I felt/looked/sounded after you would have thought I scaled Everest. I love summer but I really don't love when maintaining a sub-10 minute mile pace feels like a dead sprint.

I knew my swim was going to be a joke, because my swimming skills were pretty much non-existent before I took almost a year off, but I really didn't care because I was so excited to do a workout where I didn't fear succumbing to heat poisoning.

Jumping in this lake > running on asphalt

I swam 600 yards in 17 minutes. I will shamefully confess that I don't really even know how swimming speeds are measured, but I know that this was slow. I'm basing that on the fact that my companions claimed to be slow, but they were waiting quite a while for me. While being horribly out of swim shape was a main factor, also contributing were that my form sucks, and I can't sight for crap. I've used MS paint to demonstrate this.

Ideally one would follow the white dotted line from the star to the green circle (300 yards) and then turn around and follow it back. My path was similar to the orange line.

I would estimate I did slightly over 600 yards.
After the swim, it was time to bike. I am out of biking shape too. On the route we follow, there's an incline that last summer I barely even considered a true "hill" that now completely kicked my ass all four times (two out and backs). We did 14.43 miles in an hour and I was sucking wind the entire time, but in a "hurts so good" type of way.

Lastly, another slow yet satisfying 2 mile run. 

Today, I got up at the ass crack of dawn to knock out a 8 miler to bring my weekly total to 40 miles of running. (Edited to add - the run was hot, miserable, and slow, or at least I assume slow since I didn't bother to bring a Garmin. Pretty much the only reason I didn't turn around was that I pre-wrote this post last night and would judge myself for having to change it.) 

While this is a sad day for anyone who loves the internet (RIP Google Reader), it's a happy day for us, because we are headed to Rochester, NY to hang out with family and friends, help my sister shop for her wedding dress (well that's all me) and we are even babysitting our nephew Tuesday morning!!

Before I packed anything, I packed this for an amazing bride/maid of honor (that's me) and bridesmaid 
slumber party Tuesday night. I got a recipe for some super extra special drinks that supposedly taste like chocolate milkshakes but are all liquor.

How do you convince yourself to run when every run feels like a death march? I'm running out of ideas here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

More than 3 things Thursday

1. Last year I attended the ISTE conference (technology for teachers) in San Diego, and finally learned first hand that it is possible to love a city.While I'm not cheating on San Diego, I just returned from attending the conference in San Antonio, and I think that place has earned a close second in my heart. Like I mentioned, I've been there probably nearly 10 times now, but the most recent was back in 2007. Fun fact: we took one of our Save the Date pictures there (at Sea World).

I was having fantasies for weeks about margaritas on the gorgeous River Walk (which is pretty much what it sounds like....a huge stretch of restaurants/bars/shops along a river) and I was not disappointed. Apparently I suck at capturing beauty on camera and for some reason blogger is insisting on rotating the few halfway decent ones I have. So look at these, but imagine it being about 3,000 times better in person. And imagine drinking a margarita. And imagine it being 100 degrees out, but you don't care because you are SO HAPPY to be in San Antonio.

View from our hotel room ....still awesome.

I wanted to cry when I left. For real.

2. Margaritas > exercise. I did a lame 40 minute elliptical session Monday, and a super slow 5 mile run along the River Walk Wednesday. I actually saw some of the prettiest views on my run away from the touristy/bar section, but I hadn't brought my camera or phone because it was insanely hot and I didn't need either one to be destroyed by sweat.

3. One time we were on the shuttle bus to the conference and this lady told my friend Kristin that Microsoft was giving away free tablets. Sounds crazy and way too good to be true right? 

Well, it wasn't. Also I never got the memo that we were supposed to all dress alike that day.
So, this thing is amazing and it's my new favorite toy ever. I've always wanted an ipad, because, who doesn't, but haven't bought one, because they're expensive. This is a windows tablet but it's supposedly like the ipad but better. 

It allows me to browse the internet from a nearly horizontal position, and I love anything that allows further laziness.

Before you judge me for cranking my air so high that I need a robe and a snuggie in June, allow me to remind you that I'm a freak and always cold. Eric was in shorts and nothing else and sweating while he took this picture.

4. I wanted to eat nothing but Mexican food with shocking amounts of guacamole on my trip, but I did deviate for some authentic Texas barbecue. I don't think I've had any barbecue since returning from the dark side (vegetarianism).

Super dark instagram #proof
 I hate bbq sauce, so I was a bit underwhelmed. My friends said the beef brisket wasn't that great and I shouldn't form my opinion based on the experience. The best parts of the meal were actually the bread, garlic mashed potatoes, and margaritas, but carbs and alcohol are always a win.

5. Because blogging is awesome, I already had a friend to hang out with in San Antonio! Steph and I got margaritas (are you sensing a bit of a theme here?) on Tuesday and just enjoyed the views and talked for hours. It was fabulous.

Probably should have taken the pic before I spent like 4 hours in 100 degree sunlight, but whatev.
6. While Steph and I were hanging out, this duck just came up to the table and bit my leg. Birds are no joke in Texas. 

7. I tried really hard to find where I took the picture on my 20th birthday in San Antonio that I posted last week so I could recreate it, but I failed. They must have changed stuff because I took a boat ride all over one end of the river and ran to the other end. So I took this really, really pretty picture with a bull. Not quite as good as my race pictures or childhood pictures, but close. 

8. I'm trying really hard to prepare for the Idiot's 100k, and that includes getting acclimated to heat. That, or Eric and I developed an obsession with New Girl and I stayed up way too late to run before I had to go to work this morning. So I ran 7 miles in the afternoon. 

On a non-shaded route, at a 9:18 pace, I might add.
 9. I tried Insanity Pure Cardio with Eric after my run. Reasons I did a double workout: he's been talking about the program for awhile now, so I wanted to try it, I just feel alive when I sweat, it was couples bonding, etc, etc. No, let's call a spade a spade, I did nothing but drink and eat in Texas for 3 days, so I figured it couldn't hurt to join him and burn some extra calories. It is bikini season after all. I hate when bloggers always have some BS reason for extra long workouts, don't you? Just admit you are trying to stay skinny, or in my case, non-fat. 

 What city are you head over heels in love with?

Do you hate when bloggers always try to pretend there is some other reason why they had to do some crazy ass workout after stuffing their face? Or are you judging me for doing the same (although it wasn't exactly crazy, just insane ..... see what I did there)?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Low - key non birthday party

After my 30 for 30 on Wednesday, I had the audacity to brag about not being sore at work on Thursday. I had done a 5 mile run earlier that afternoon, and while it was slow, I felt fine.

I paid for that on Friday morning's 8 miler. I felt like I was trying to run with two concrete blocks for legs. That run was the same pace as my 30 miler had been. So.....yeah.

Friday night, I had what I refuse to call a "party". On the Facebook invite, I referred to it as "Alyssa's ridiculously low key 30th birthday". The premise was that all I ever want to do is sit on my couch and drink wine and eat chocolate, and having a few good friends over to join me is the ultimate perfection. I feel there's some pressure to have a balls to the wall crazy 30th birthday party, and don't get me wrong, those can be fun, but it was my birthday and I needed to follow my heart. 

Friday afternoon, I texted everyone and reminded them to wear pjs, or some sort of comfy clothing with an elastic waistband so they could eat to their heart's content.

Eric and I do not have to be told twice to wear pajamas to an event.

You can't see it, but we have pj shorts on.

Now the evening may have been low key, but the food and drinks were top notch. I had a summer school training during the day, so Eric made everything and it was amazing. I think we can all agree that there is nothing better than appetizers for dinner, so I went with a Superbowl style menu. Eric made buffalo chicken dip, Pioneer woman spinach artichoke dip, and bacon wrapped ritz. Carolyn brought taco dip, Lily brought homemade guacamole, and Casi made this super fancy delicious crab dip ring out of crescent rolls. Here's a picture of Eric finishing it for breakfast the next morning.

I hadn't really felt much older or anything being 30 until I got home from the training Friday. Eric had cleaned the fridge while I was gone and I went crazy and kept saying it was the best birthday gift ever. That made me feel a bit old.

I tried this weird thing at the low key birthday celebration where I didn't use my phone or camera and just lived in the moment and enjoyed things. It's a cool idea, I recommend it. Luckily, Eric captured some pictures to prove I actually have friends. 

LOOK! I have friends and they are having fun!

Seriously have you played Cards Against Humanity yet? We were all hysterically laughing.

Runners always wear reflective gear, even at birthday parties.

So many people played, sometimes you had to crawl into the circle to play your card.
No birthday is complete in our circle with being serenaded with "Birthday Sex" into a magic mike.

And of course, Turquoise Jeep is a must play.
The most important part of any birthday though is clearly the cake. In this case, I made Bailey's Milk Chocolate Truffle Cake. It was ridiculously easy and has Bailey's whipped cream on top. I gave it my own twist by including a pretzel crust.

Apparently my husband wanted to me still feel young?

It was exactly everything I'd wanted in a birthday non-party, I had so much fun, and went to bed nearly sober. My adorable 23 year old friend texted me at 11:15pm to tell me she couldn't make it. I replied with something like "no worries!" and neglected to inform her that the party was over and I was now cleaning up and getting ready to go to sleep.

Although, right after that text, here's what I found. Apparently the party was not over for everyone.
Saturday morning I felt ok, but decided to stick to the treadmill just in case. The first 3 miles were insanely hard, and then I finally figured out it was on a 2.0 incline. I'm not exactly sure what that means but I put it back to zero and then the last 2 miles felt much easier. When I finished, I only had 11 minutes left in Buffy season 1, and I would have loved to knock it out, but I was running super late for my exciting plans.

I spent the day in Virginia. I started out with a lunch date with Ashley, and then had a little high school reunion with 2 out of the 3 high school friends I still talk to: Casi and Katylin. Bonus - we got to play with Katylin's adorable 9 month old daughter, Nora. Again, no pictures. But we did go out to dinner and had the best pizza ever (outside of Chicago): one was spicy meatball, and the other was fig, black pepper honey, arugula, Gorgonzola, and Prosciutto. 

Today, I'm flying to San Antonio for a work conference! Weird coincidence - I also spent my 20th birthday in San Antonio (visiting my army boyfriend from college).

This was somewhere on the Riverwalk - I should totally find it and recreate this pic.
Maybe I'll go there again for my 40th birthday? Today I have a 25 minute layover in Nashville so I feel I may be getting a little speedwork in as I sprint from one plane to the other. Don't worry though, my running shoes are in my carry-on, so if I don't make it I'll still have those.

Would you rather go to a pajama party or get dressed up and go out on the town? They both have their place, but if you twist my arm, pajamas all the way.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

30 for 30

My 20s are officially over - I'm now 30 years old! And my 30th birthday couldn't have been any better. 

When someone asked me last week if I was excited for my 30 mile run last week, I responded "YES" so enthusiastically that she asked if I was being sarcastic. Nope. I was actually way more excited for my 30 mile run than Saturday's 10 mile race. Running far > running fast.

I was going to start super early, but then I lucked out with a day in June that didn't even hit 80 degrees. When I checked the weather Tuesday night, the temperature wasn't really rising too much, but the humidity was going to drop significantly throughout the morning, so I didn't start until 8am. 

Birthday selfie.
I went to a nice long paved/crushed rock trail. Half a mile in, I thought my grand birthday plans were going to be thwarted.

It looked like the trail was closed and I almost cried.
Appearances can be deceiving though, and you could go around and continue on the trail. It was surprising how many people were just sitting and watching guys cut branches with chain saws like it was prime entertainment.

People seemed surprised that I was doing this run all alone. I wouldn't have minded company, but everyone had stupid excuses like "It's a Wednesday, I need to work" or "I need to care for my children" or "I don't want to run 30 miles, that's completely insane". But I actually didn't mind at all. I choose this trail so I could zone out, not worry about traffic/routes/etc, reflect on my 20s, rock out to music, and listen to the sequel of the audiobook that I was obsesssed with during marathon training. 

The way it worked out (Eric was asleep when I left), I didn't speak to a soul on my birthday (barring cashiers/saying hello to fellow runners) until nearly 3:30 pm, and it was awesome. I know I am prone to exaggeration, but when I say that I'm an "introvert" or "homebody" this is not a drill. 

Even if this run had sucked, I feel it might have been worth it just to be able to justify all my weird little quirks like: absolutely despising when people speak to me in the morning, not wanting to eat lunch with people, preferring pjs on the couch to the bar, etc. Now I can be like "don't take offense, I just hate being around people, I even spent my 30th birthday running for 5 hours all alone and loved it". 

My solitude was disturbed when a dog started chasing me, and the owner obnoxiously asked me to stop running so she could catch it. I stopped, but she couldn't catch it, so I was just standing there. Then she asked me to help her catch it, and I was like "no sorry I'm terrified of dogs".  This was only at mile 12, so I was about to snap at her "um, look, I have about 3 more hours of running ahead of me, so I really don't have time to help you play dog catcher because for some reason you thought you were supposed to put the leash in your back pocket instead of on the freaking dog".

I didn't really set out to write a post about how I'm a weirdo. I originally really wanted to share a funny verbal montage of life in my 20s. Then I realized that most of the funny stories are from my "sow my wild oats" part of my early 20s, and can't really share them on a public blog. The rest is all pretty standard and already out there - moved to a new state, started teaching, got married, started grad school, etc, etc, who cares, boring.

Anyway, the run was pretty good. I just ran whatever pace felt comfortable, and included walk breaks (didn't pause the Garmin!) as needed. Mile 15 - 20 were tough and I took a walk break every mile. At mile 20 I refilled my water at the car (I did pause the watch for that), and really wanted to call it a day. Luckily, the best gift ever popped up in my phone and cheered me right up.

I'd already told too many people about the run to wuss out anyway, so I pressed on, and only took walk breaks every 2.5 miles from then on. Even with all the walk breaks, my final pace wasn't bad! It took me just over 5 hours.

After the run, I went to Wegmans to get stuff for my birthday get-together Friday night, came home, ate a Wegmans sub, baked cupcakes, and then it was time to head out to celebrate (with people! I do like hanging out with others at times).

Blue steel
You know what I learned? After running 30 miles, just one of these gets you pretty tipsy.

So I had 4. 
 Eric learned that me now liking chicken wings is not really to his benefit.

I didn't steal any.....this time.
 Carolyn even brought me big "30" candles! I baked chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes for the occasion.

The one with the red toothpick had extra frosting, I made it that way for myself and marked it so no one would steal it.

Chocolate cupcake, cookie dough filling, cookie dough frosting.
 Then we went home and I opened my gifts from Eric. He wasn't supposed to get me anything, since our cruise in August is our birthday/anniversary gift to each other, but he did get me a couple things. 

Most notable
 I got a bunch of other wonderful gifts from generous people but there's no point in listing them all and just alienating everyone due to jealousy. I'm sure everyone is already consumed with enough of that after reading about my 5 hours of silent running.

 What would your perfect day include? My friends and I actually discussed this in Tulsa, the only way this day deviated from my design was that it didn't include a beach. 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

You know who didn't go to business school?

So far, summer is off to a fantastic start. After our exciting murder mystery date Sunday night, I crashed at by 10:15 pm and slept for a glorious 11 hours. Is there anything better than not setting an alarm on Sunday night? I think not. It even alleviated some of my crushing depression over not having a new Game of Thrones episode to watch.

Unfortunately, I had to spend the majority of my first day of summer doing grad work. I was really tempted to throw a giant "IT'S NOT FAIR" tantrum, because it's SUMMER, and I'm not supposed to be doing HOMEWORK. Not to mention that all that freaking thinking was exhausting. I mean, I'm already trying to keep track of all the Game of Thrones characters here. - If more characters on Game of Thrones keep dying, I may actually be able to follow the plot.

The class I'm taking is a leadership class, so I was reading all about business models and stuff like that. Then, I had to attend a meeting at the running store I work at, and they were sharing all sorts of business-y stuff too. I practically went to business school yesterday, I feel I should be awarded an honorary MBA. 

I had a meeting for my running store job at 8pm, and my friends/fellow employees Matt (who just started a blog!) and Katrina agreed to meet for a running date beforehand. Running dates are few and far between these days, so I was super excited for it. I've been a little lacking in the motivation department, so this didn't come a moment too soon. 

To make things even more exciting, I got a text from my friend Perry, saying that he way home from NYC with his wife, and wanted to meet in Baltimore for a run. I met Perry through Kara, so he lives about two hours away and I don't see him much. We both ran the terrifying Stone Mill 55 miler and both he and his wife Crystal waited hours for me to finish. So far in my experience, when you do an ultra with somebody, you forge a special lifetime bond.

So things were all great, until I looked around at our little group when we were ready to begin and realized that everyone had a marathon PR at least 15 minutes faster than me, and I'd been extra slow lately. Luckily, they took it fairly easy on me and we did 7 miles along the water at about a 9:15 pace.

I've gotten a LOT of comments about Eric's suit from my post yesterday (both of the blog and in person variety). He's had that suit since long before we met. He not only had already worn it earlier in the week (to his school's 8th grade graduation), but on many other occasions. Most notably, my mom's wedding in 2007.

He also wore it to my friend Nikki's wedding in 2009. 

It was our first wedding after we were married that had our table listed as "Mr. and Mrs."

So there you have it, he didn't specially rent it to be the most professional pornographer or anything.

I'm not running today in order to rest up for tomorrow's big 30 for 30 event. I plan to take it super easy, walk breaks whenever I want, and the only goal is to cover 30 miles before I get the party started.

What makes you want to throw an IT'S NOT FAIR tantrum?

Monday, June 17, 2013

My husband is the most professional pornographer

It's not too often I regret NOT taking shots. In fact, it's usually solidly the other way around. But it happened. I declined all shots on Saturday night. I wish I could claim it was to be responsible, but it was actually just because the combo of hard cider and massive amounts of candy was so sweet (even for me) that I needed a break. 

So then Sunday, I figured I was golden with running. Nope. I ran a watchless 5 miler that I'm ashamed to admit included walking breaks. 

Dear Body,

Will I EVER have a good run again? Just wondering. If so, my 30 for 30 in two days would really be a great time to start. I'll admit that running in the hottest part of the day, after a hard race, hydrating with only hot coffee for hours beforehand isn't a total recipe for success, but still.

What I really need to do is nail down a training plan, or at least plan out my runs, because just deciding distance day to day doesn't really work for a slacker like me.

My birthday is June 19, so I declare the entire rest of the month dedicated to celebrating. We kicked things off last night. Eric and I have always wanted to do one of those murder mystery dinner thingies, and he surprised me with a Groupon to one!

We just realized Thursday night that we would be able to go, and you were supposed to dress in 20s attire, so it was a scramble to put an outfit together! My first thought was Pinterest, and they had fabulous ways to create a flapper dress yourself. Then I remembered that 
a. I hate going to actual stores
b. I'm not crafty
c. I had plans all weekend and no time
d. Even if I did have time, I'm too lazy

So I posted a dress I already owned on my blog, people commented that it would work, my BFF Casi had a headband I could borrow, and that was that. My hair literally took like 4 seconds - I google imaged "flapper", and did two pigtail/bun things.We got tons of compliments on our outfits!

They wanted $20 for this picture....yeah no.
 Right away, Eric got chosen to play a character, and they could not have made a more perfect choice.

SEXY. The weird part is I found myself smiling for this picture.
 If you have one of these in your area, I highly suggest it, we had so much fun. This is when "Sylous" (Eric) was calling out Gus the Milkman while the detective interviewed them.

Sadly, Eric wasn't the killer, nor did we guess correctly. 

So I know I already went out on a limb with new foods and tried chicken wings this weekend, but I took it a step farther. I decided to really get crazy and try a new kind of ice cream.

I'm of the belief that some things just shouldn't be messed with. I've tried fried oreos, and I wasn't impressed. Oreos are a food that are naturally perfect, and you can't mess with perfection. But, I'm here to tell you, this ice cream is a must try. Just as good, if not better, than regular cookies and cream.

What's a food that you don't think can possibly be improved? I also feel this way about Doritos. Cool Ranch? No thanks. You nailed it with the original cheesy flavor, so now just stop.