Working Hard for a Weekend of Hard Work

Ah, it’s Sunday.  A day to rest and relax right?  RIGHT?!

HA…never!!  Today, I’ve done countless loads of laundry, prepped and cooked all the meals for the coming week, took recycle to the store, took care of a cat, did some necessary shopping, mailed off a package, finished up (much-needed) grocery shopping, organized the pantry, and polished off a book.  I’ve blogged on my race on Friday night, made up lunches/snacks for tomorrow, and have even changed sheets on the bed.  And showered.  Important.

This has been a chaotic and crazy week.  I got back into town from a relaxing (ie: NON-RACE) weekend in Orlando, Florida.  Sure, the Star Wars Half Marathon was running at Disney World that very weekend…but I was not quick enough on making a decision to run, and by the time I was certain I was going to be able to do it, registration had closed.  Instead, the day before I headed out to get to Florida, I did my long run.  On a Tuesday night.  On tired legs.  But it was done and I didn’t have to do it alone…or in Orlando, where I had no idea where I could safely and effectively go running.  As it was, I found a park where I managed 5 miles, and I did 5 miles back and forth on this 0.20 mile boardwalk on Cocoa Beach while I was away.  But that was it for the running.  The rest of the time I was exploring…but we’ll get to that momentarily.

With a couple of days away from the office, I was overloaded with work, so I ended up doing something I hate doing.  I brought work home and put in some time away from the office.  It had to be done…or I’d still be buried.  This made my week even more stressful because I was trying to fit in all my normal stuff while having to do some work at home.  It meant…the normalcy took a lot longer to get around to.  And grocery shopping never happened.  So, my roommate and I were living out of the pantry/freezer/fridge for this week.

So…with all that being said…some good stuff has been going down these past two weeks…so let’s take a look at some of the highlights!

1.  Universal Studios Florida


It’s Marvel Superheroes, it’s Harry Potter, it’s rides, rides, rides.  And I had an absolute blast.  I met Captain America (he told me I had beautiful green eyes!), which had to happen as he is the favorite superhero of my nephew, Chace.  I flirted with the driver of the Knight Bus at Diagon Alley in Universal as well.  SO MUCH FUN.  That being said, I vastly prefer Disney to Universal, but it was actually nice to step away from the Disney monster and do something I’ve been wanting to do, but couldn’t pull myself away from Disney.  HA!  And thank goodness for my friend, Jenn, who was willing to go on the thrill rides with me.  Cathy refuses.  She’s a big baby.  OH…and I bought a wand.  I have my own Harry Potter type of wand.  It’s Ivy…with a Unicorn Hair core.  And I loved it because I was able to cast magical spells at both of the Harry Potter lands at each Universal Studios theme park in Florida.  It takes so little to make me happy.

2.  Toasted
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Eating out with me can be…difficult at times.  Thank you Celiac disease and lactose intolerance.  That being said, while I was in Orlando, thanks to my Find Me Gluten Free app, I found the most perfect place to dine.  In fact, we (Jenn, Cathy & myself) ended up having dinner there three times.  The place is called Toasted, and it specializes in Crafted Grilled Cheese & Burgers.  And…they have gluten-free buns, bread, and veggie burgers.  They also have vegan cheese.  This…was my happy place.  To top all of that off…they had gluten-free fries.  And, let me tell you, the Truffle Oil & Rosemary fries were to die for.  We learned, after our first visit, that one order of fries would do for the three of us.  Amazing sandwiches.  I had a different one each night…never got sick.  Let’s hear it for gluten-free dining done right.  If you find yourself in the Winter Park area of Orlando…go and check them out.

3. Gluten Free Snack Cakes
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Okay…I admit it.  I love my desserts.  I have tried, for ages, to give them up.  But the sweet tooth reigns supreme.  For sure.  And, after getting my roommate a little tipsy on her birthday, I took her grocery shopping.  And bought a bunch of stuff I didn’t need but wanted to try.  And, despite trying to be a little better about my choices…I discovered a new product from Schär‘s Sch’nacks!  These delightful little treats are simply a gluten-free, unrolled version of a Swiss Roll.  They are little single serve cakes that are filled with cream and dipped in German chocolate.  And they are light, and amazing.  I have to resist buying them too often…but a treat every now and again is always fine.  There are 10 cakes per package…and I only have one after dinner each night.  Seriously…a worthy investment for an every-now-and-again treat.  Back to some fruits and vegan yogurts after this.  And I’m back to cooking real food…and not just living out of the fridge/freezer/pantry…which is also a plus.

4.  Road Bike Shoes
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Today, I meandered over to Schwinn in Clarksville, Indiana, and purchased a pair of road bike shoes.  Now that I have a road bike, I figured I needed to get the clip-in shoes so I could ride it.  They are very nice at Schwinn and even discounted the price of the shoes and put the cleats in for me.  YAY!!  I hope to get fitted to my bike next weekend, time permitting!  Crossing my fingers.  Then, I get to practice clipping in and out…and probably taking a few spills during said process.  It’s actually…kind of exciting.  Not the falling part, but getting the necessary gear and stuff done to get out onto my bike.

5.  Running my fastest mile at my favorite 5K

 


Friday was not only Earth Day, it was the running of the Pro.Active For Life 5K in Frankfort, Kentucky.  I go to Frankfort quite often for the races, and while 5K races are one of my least favorite distances, this just happens to be my favorite 5K race.  It’s not just the race itself, but the people.  Frankfort, honestly, some of the best people in that running community.  I can’t say it enough.  Not only did I win my age division this year, but I pulled off a 6:53 mile.  Shocking myself.  Even more shocking…the entire run was pain-free.  And…I was only 6 seconds off my PR (also set at this race).  Stronger every day.  Trying to be really smart when it comes to my training.

6.  A long, solo, pain-free Saturday morning run

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So, Friday night I churn out a speedy 5K (even if my finishing picture looks like I’m just cruising, LOL!), knowing that Saturday, I was on my own for my longest run since…forever.  I am signed up for (although still not 100% sure I’ll be running) a marathon in June.  Bib transfer can only happen through May 1, leaving this Saturday the only chance I had for attempting a long marathon-training type run.  And, I had to do it solo, as everyone I know is either recovering from Boston, running Big Sur, running London, running Derby or running Flying Pig.  So, they are either recovering, out of town, or tapering.  So, Saturday morning, I laced up, still feeling good, and went out for 20 miles in my area.  No crossing the river (it was Thunder Over Louisville day anyway…so this was probably better in the long run…ha…I made a punny).  So, I just sort of went.  I never pushed my pace…I ran comfortably and just sort of made the route up.  The last 5 miles, however, I decided to make the toughest.  I don’t know why.  I’m sadistic like that.  So I hit up the Fast Freddie route…which is HILLS FOR DAYS!…and came out of it better than I even expected.  Once again…no pain.  And 20 miles done.  Alone.  And way better than I dreamed.  WITHOUT ANY PAIN!  I spent the rest of the day out and about, doing some grocery shopping and regular shopping and eating good food for recovery and fuel.  This…was the type of run I mentally needed.  And while it does make me feel better, I still don’t know if I’ll run in June.  I’m pondering for one more day before making that call.

7.  Game Of Thrones
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The new season of GoT starts tonight, and unlike last year, I’m set.  HBO Now was downloaded this morning and I’m set to watch this season as it airs, instead of getting spoiled.  I know I read the books, but the show has gone away from how the books actually worked out, so it’s nice that I won’t have to attempt (and fail) to avoid spoilers this time around.  It’s the little things in life.  SO…YAY!!  It’s the little things in life…like Season 6 of Game of Thrones.

8.  Caramelized Honey Latte at Starbucks

 


They keep selling out of it, but when I went to Florida this past week, I was introduced to Starbucks latest (and greatest) drink.  It’s the Caramelized Honey Latte and it is AMAZING.  It reminds me a lot of The Bee Sting, one of Ha Coffee’s signature drinks in Kauai (I miss Hawaii!).  I get mine with coconut milk and it is…OMG…to die for.  I had it hot and iced while in Florida. The Starbucks at Universal Studios City Walk sold out of them…and the one here in our local Target sold out too.  I think this drink is quite popular.  And it should be.  It is made of super YUM!!  If you haven’t tried it…RUN, do NOT WALK, to Starbucks and give it a try.  You’ll thank me for it.

So, there are some of the highlights these past couple of weeks.  Here’s to hoping for a bit more relaxed and easier week ahead.  And I hope everyone had a great week and enjoyed a beautiful weekend.  And for anyone racing this coming weekend…good luck!!

Winding Up A Windy Week

Whew.

Anyone else out there have to contend with stupid strong winds this week?  I swear, it was strong winds all week.  You know…those types of winds that, when you head out for a run, you are running into the wind…and when you turn around to come back…you are still running into the wind.

That being said, the cold temperatures have really wreaked havoc on my body.  At least, I hope it’s the cold weather…hard to say when spring weather has all but disappeared…despite being mid-April-ish!  UGH!

But that being said, there has been some amazing stuff going on this week for me too.  Sometimes it might seem mundane, but, you know…simple things make me happy, and there is nothing wrong with that.

1. My new favorite piece of kitchen gear
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This…is a cutting board.  This is a cutting board made by my super speedy, awesome, super-talented friend and running buddy, Dennis!!  How amazing is this?!  I love it.  I tried it out all this week, and it seriously makes me happy just to chop up my vegetables and fruits and tofu…and whatever else needed a happy bit of chopping.

Dennis, you’re super talented and I thank you so much for this gift.  Seriously, my favorite thing in the kitchen.

2. Game of Thrones
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Okay, so, I don’t have cable.  Nor do I have anything Apple that I could get HBO Go or whatever it was so I could watch Game of Thrones Season 5 while it was airing.  This meant, I was dodging spoilers (and still am whenever an actor from the show starts trending).  But, I purchased the Blu-Rays the other day, and have dived headlong into the season.  I’ve gotten through half of the season so far and am eager to wrap it up.  And then I need to figure out how to watch Season 6 as it airs…if possible.  Shhh…no spoilers!

3.  Cupcake of the Week

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Annie May’s Sweet Café Cupcake of the Week – Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake (vanilla cupcake filled with strawberry jam and topped with vanilla frosting and a fresh strawberry)

I have never been a cupcake person, but lately, Annie May’s Sweet Cafe, has been putting out a new weekly special…CUPCAKE OF THE WEEK!  And they always just sound so amazing.  I think I’ve only missed out on 2 of the weeks (once because I got a cookie, and the other because they were sold out).  But it has been my favorite thing to check out when I go in for Soft Pretzel Wednesday. It’s usually the dessert I split with my roomie that night.  A nice mid-week treat for sure.  Anyway, some of the standouts have been the “Unicorn Cupcake,” the “Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake” and the “Hot Fudge Sunday Cupcake.”  I missed the Cookie Dough one so maybe they’ll bring that one back sometime.  All allergen-free…and all have been totally yummy!!

4.  Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Are you aware that the new Star Wars came out on Blu-Ray and DVD this week?  I got the special edition at Walmart…because it had BB-8 on the cover.  Dammit, I’m such a BB-8 fangirl.  Regardless, I LOVED this movie.  And I love the new characters.  And I really love BB-8.  So, yeah, I braved Walmart and bought the Blu-Ray this past week.  I hear my Sphero BB-8 droid will react to the movie if I have him turned on and watching it when I am.  So, yeah…that’s happening.

5.  PB&J Breakfast Bowls
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Want to know what my latest obsession is?  Parfait bowls.  Now, I’m not new to breakfast parfaits, but this is a brand new, and SUPER good way to eat them.  And I have the Chobani Cafe in SoHo, NYC, to thank for it.  I eat this every morning after the gym.  And this coming week, with me heading out of town, this is breakfast all week.  Super easy to make:

  • 1 cup yogurt (vegan, Greek, etc.)
  • 1/4 cup grapes, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons natural grape jelly
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter (I use NuttZo!!) #NuttZoAmbassador #NuttZoFanatic #NuttZoLove #NuttZo
  • 1 tablespoon peanuts

Place yogurt in a bowl.  Scatter grapes over yogurt.  Place the grape jelly in the center.  Place the peanut butter around the edge of the bowl.  Top off with nuts.  Enjoy!

I have done variations on this, using orange marmalade and either Smudge, Nutella, or the NuttZo chocolate versions.  Also strawberry with the chocolate Smudge, Nutella, or NuttZo is also delicious.  Want a healthy but delicious breakfast?  Make this.  You’ll thank me for it!

6.  I HAVE A ROAD BIKE!!
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It finally happened.  After years of talking about it.  And over a year of trying to get one for myself, but always having medical bills (hello, MRIs) to cover instead…the perfect bike finally came into my life.  Someone was selling their road bike that they hardly rode for a really good price.  Way less than what the bike was originally purchased for.  It had been sitting in her storage room.  It came with all the gadgets and gizmos.  And it is BB-8 colors, so it was truly meant to be.  I’m taking it to get fitted properly for me so I don’t do any hip damage or get injured…and then…I’m road ready.  FINALLY!!  I love this bike.  And, yes, I did name it BB-8.

How was your week?  Has the wind in your area been crazy-strong and gusty too?  What fun and exciting things do you have coming up?  Buy anything fun this week?

Easter Treats

Last weekend I was out of town and was on the go the entire time (not a bad thing!), so sitting down and sharing some of the high points of my week was not an option.  And while I’ve been pressed for time this week…and with the fact that it’s Easter and I spent much of my morning doing meal prep for the week, and the afternoon over at Amanda & Richie’s for dinner with the family…it has left me with little time to really plot out my blog.

This week has been a big hot mess of fatigue.  My trip to New York City was amazing, but I was dead on my feet. I got in well after midnight on Tuesday, and still hauled myself out of bed early to get to my 5:30 am spin class on Wednesday morning.  I was exhausted, but I was glad I went.  Early mornings and late nights followed, trying to make up some time and work from being out of the office for 2 full days…and it all got done in the end, but it was some really busy, long days.

All that being said…there is plenty to be happy and thankful for this week.  And being tired due to having the opportunity and ability to go out of town and see places and do things…is more than enough.  It makes the overwhelming fatigue that I felt yesterday worth it.  In the end.

So, here are a few treats to share this Easter that just made me happy this week.

1. NEW YORK CITY

It was my first actual distance race back after returning to running after over a year.  A half marathon.  It was one that I had to defer last year because of the hip labrum (which we didn’t even know was the issue at that point).  The chance to run it this year had me feeling nervous and excited and happy all at the same time.  The weather was bitter cold and super windy (what’s new, NYC?!), but every mile was magical for me.  I felt good.  And definitely surprised myself when I came in to the finish line well ahead of what I thought I was capable of.

But this was more than just the race.  I got to meet up with my friend Ellen (who was also running) the day before the race.  And…I got to see my friend from high school, Marisa, not once, but twice.  I love seeing Marisa when I am in the city.  She knows all these great places to check out and has suggestions about things to see when we are in various areas.  I drank in every bit of NYC…enjoyed amazing food…great company…and yeah…went on a little run.

Finishing the race was a gift in and of itself…finishing it faster than I thought I was capable of…a surprise…being uninjured at the end and able to wander around NYC for the rest of the day…a blessing…hanging out with good people who make my life better…priceless.

Can I go back now?

2.  Gluten Free Easter Treats
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My allergen-free bakery is at it again for the Easter holiday.  They often do up a good number of Easter treats, and this year they had some new ones to indulge in.  You better believe I ordered some of everything.  Two egg sugar cookies, 2 chocolate bunnies, and 6 sunbutter chocolate truffles.  I’ve already indulged more than a little.  As always, Annie May’s Sweet Cafe makes the most delicious treats.  They go all-out for these holidays and I’m proud to support them and indulge myself in the amazing goodness they put out on a daily basis.  If you are in Louisville, Kentucky…you need to stop in.  Their gluten-free pizza, soft pretzels (only on Wednesday) and all their standard goodies…are fantastic.  You can even order some of their stuff online.  DO IT!!

3.  Back On Track With Home Cooked, Fresh, Vegan Meals
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While I am never one to deny myself good food and treats while I am on vacation…often the week I get back, I’m living off the stuff in my fridge and my pantry.  This morning, I enjoyed spending 3 hours of my time prepping healthy, plant-based meals for the rest of the coming week.  I have soups, pasta dishes, sandwiches, and some rice dishes planed.  All healthy.  All vegan.  All completely and totally YUMMY!  It feels good to get back to cooking my delicious and healthy foods up again to enjoy for (sometimes) breakfast, lunch and dinner each day of the week.  Easy to enjoy as I do all the work ahead of the time.  Makes those crazy hill repeat days and spin class days and just…hectic days that much easier.  Cooking is love.  Eating is fun.  And this kind of food makes me feel better about myself and how I am fueling and feeding this body.

4.  Zootopia Dress and Officer Judy Hopps
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While in NYC, Cathy wanted to buy me a present for finishing a great NYC Half Marathon race.  So…I thought about getting the stuffed animal from the Disney Store in Times Square of Officer Judy Hopps in her uniform.  She is apparently very popular…they kept selling out.  Judy is apparently very popular.  So, we ended up getting her back in our Disney Store in Louisville.  Super happy.  I love her.

And then, later on that day while making a random stop at Target, I noticed a dress in the girls section of Zootopia.  It was totally adorable.  It was also an XL.  And I held it up and thought…”I wonder if this would fit me.”  Well, I took it to the dressing room, so ready to be disappointed…but…IT FIT!!  So, I bought it.  Yep…I’m 35 years old and shopping in the girls section.  Seriously…I wore the dress today with some leggings.  TOTALLY adorable.  So much love for Zootopia.

5.  Glow In The Dark Easter Egg Hunt

I love my downstairs neighbors.  They’re the best.  They are also moving…(seriously…this bums me out!).  Not far…but they won’t just be a staircase away anymore.  Anyway, they invited Cathy and I out for a glow in the dark Easter egg hunt on Friday night.  I had SUCH a blast.  So much fun.  I’m so glad they thought to have us out so we could hide and seek eggs with them, and their adorable and awesome son as well.  Yep…it’s going to be hard to let them leave.  But, we’re already talking about all the get-togethers we’ll still have.  And girls nights.  Those are important too.  It just will involve some drive time.  We’re totally making this work.  Anyway…glow in the dark anything is awesome.  Easter egg hunt…a total blast.  Even in the cold night air.

6. A New PR

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It was one of those runs that I end up running faster than I feel I am running.  The Papa John’s 10 Miler felt so EASY to me.  The hills are always hard…but I climbed them.  I beat them.  And I had so much left in me at the finish line.  AND…I had a new 2 minute PR…in a race I was just running as I felt.  I wasn’t trying for a PR or trying to run fast.  It just happened.  Even with the hip protesting for 8 of the 10 miles.  I am shocked and surprised.  But what a feeling.  I hope, one day, to feel comfortable to push like I used to.  Right now, running what I feel has shown me that I still have more in me.  One day I’ll harness it.  I’m just not ready yet.  But a new PR is a new PR.  And I’m proud of it and happy to have it.

Life is sweet…and hopefully only getting better!!

How was your Easter week?

Weekly Wonders

I usually post a little list of blessings, interests, loves, and other such nonsense in my blog on Sunday…but my weekend was SWAMPED.  Race on Saturday, and then Sunday, I had to make the 23 hours that my roommate (Cathy) got to have to celebrate her birthday the best 23 hours ever.  It sucks to lose an hour on your birthday.

It doesn’t suck , however, when you get to wake up and work out, finish up shopping, and then try out a new pub for dinner.

THAT’S how you birthday.  I made sure she got nice and drunk and then I went grocery shopping.  Because if she’s drunk and I go to the grocery store with her, I can buy ALL THE THINGS I want, but normally can’t justify putting in the budget.

No worries, she is very aware I do this.  LOL!

So…this past week’s list includes:

1. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
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Harry Dresden.  Are you familiar with Harry Dresden?  If not…get familiar.  The Dresden Files is a (currently) 16 book series written by Jim Butcher that chronicles the life of lead character, Harry Dresden, a private investigator and wizard as he recounts investigations into supernatural disturbances in…get this…modern-day Chicago.  It strikes a bit of a blance between fantasty and detective fiction.  And it’s awesome.  I listened to the entire series on audiobook (it is read by James Marsters…and HOLY HELL…he does it well) while at work and…each book was amazing.  They never really falter.  And, you really do just all in love with the characters.  And Harry’s dry humor is charming and downright hysterical.  I cannot count the number of times I busted out laughing at the office.  If you haven’t read these…start now.  The first book is Storm Front.

Go.


2. Downton Abbey
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With great sadness, I sat down last Sunday with a hot cup of tea and watched the very last episode of Downton Abbey.  I have been an avid follower and viewer of this show.  I’m not exactly sure what to do with myself on Sunday nights now.  It feels like I lost a good group of friends.  One thing I will say is that I was so happy that everyone got their happy ending.  With all the crisis’ and craziness that this show went through in the 6 seasons it was on the air, this was the ending it needed and the one the fans deserved.


3. NUUN Natural Hydration Tangerine Ginger Vitamin & Electrolyte Drink Tabs
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So, awhile back I was in Whole Foods, and I spotted a tube of a NUUN product I hadn’t seen before.  It was up near the registers at the time, and I was intrigued enough to go ahead and just buy a tube.  I now wish I had purchased more.  The flavor is Tangerine Ginger (with my stomach issues, ginger is always a welcome ingredient)…and it was a part of their Natural Hydration line.  This means, the formula of NUUN was created to hydrate the body naturally and “put back a little of what life takes out.”  The tabs are light, low in calorie, and DELICIOUS!  NUUN calls it “U.”  And I have yet to find them on their Web site anymore.  But…I can still find them (for now) at Whole Foods.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I poured a glass of water the other night and dropped a tablet in…but I was wowed!!  Seriously.  Just…a whole lot of healthy yum!!  More, please! (I am a NUUN Ambassador as well, so this is a double YAY!) #nuunambassador2016 #nuunambassador #nuun #nuunlove #nuunlife #nuunhydration #makeyourwatercount


4. Birthday Fun
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As I mentioned above, my roommate rang in another year this past Sunday.  With having to turn clocks ahead, Cathy only had 23 hours to make the most out of her day.  So, we started it off with a traditional visit to the gym.  Hey…we’re a bit odd, LOL! We went

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Allergen Free Candy Bar Cupcake from Annie May’s Sweet Cafe

shopping, where she bought Season 1 of The Monkees on DVD at Half Price Books.  And then, I took her out to eat for dinner at the latest pub here in New Albany…the Floyd County Brewing Company, where she indulged in fish and chips and I ate a large and amazing salad that had berries and spinach and pecans…all the good things.  Cathy even had a beer flight and discovered her favorite of the 4 she sampled was the Bavarian Rapture, which she then got a pint of.  She was a little tipsy when we left, but it was a fun time and she got to try out a restaurant she’d been meaning to for awhile now.  And we were both impressed.  There was a delicious Allergen Free Candy Bar Cupcake from Annie May’s Sweet Cafe afterwards.  We had no birthday candles…so I lit up candle Cathy got as a gift and she made a wish on that.


5. Racing…
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As I mentioned in my previous blog, I ran a 10K race this past weekend.  It has been awhile since I pinned a number on and went out to pound the pavement.  I was pleasantly surprised with my performance, my speed is inconsistent, but it’s coming back.  My hip is still weak so I am continuing to work on that.  But it was SO nice to get back out there and race again.  I had missed it.  Thanks, Rodes City Run 10K, for the amazing morning!

And there it is…hopefully I’ll have some new things to share next week!!

I hope you guys all had a good week and some fun, new adventures!

Things happen in threes…

Don’t worry, this isn’t a post about something else going wrong with me.  Quite the opposite.  This is a post about how I am  finally feeling like myself again.  I am regaining confidence.  I’m working hard to regain any lost momentum and strength and fitness that I have lost over the past year of being unable to run.

This week started off with me still dealing with the aches and pains in my left quad (aka: the leg that doesn’t have the torn hip labrum) which just got me all worked up all over again.  I contacted Katie (my physical therapist) on Tuesday prior to running some hill repeats to get her thoughts on it.  I didn’t hear back from her before I went running, but she managed to work me in on Thursday afternoon to take a look at the quad.  We discussed cutting back on my mileage…just in case.

That being said, as I mentioned in a previous blog…it seems to just be a muscle strain, and it doesn’t bother me while I’m running.  Sometimes when I am warming up…and cooling down…but not during the actual act of running.  I purchased a (pink) lacrosse ball this weekend to help give some trigger point therapy to the spot and so far so good.

Despite all of that, I had a horrible treadmill run on Wednesday…rain.  LOTS of rain.  So, after that, I made it a point to get outside on Thursday for my 4 miles that morning.  It wasn’t easy…but it was SO much better than the treadmill.  And I don’t hurt like I do after running on a treadmill…so there is some helpful insight.

And so…with a bit of stress at work…a couple of good and bad running days…and lots of good food (that I cooked)…it was a pretty good week.  And with that being said…here are three things I’m loving this week:

1. Running With the Gang

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Me and Matthew after Tuesday Hill Repeats at Iroquois Park
So, there is this amazing group of fantastic runners that I used to go out and pound out some miles with…every Saturday.  They were my training group.  They pushed me, they made me better, they accepted me.  I trained with them through cold winters and hot summers.  They helped me through injuries and helped me with each comeback.  Well, with a year of being mostly unable to run, I wasn’t up to running with them.  My speed is lacking and I just don’t feel fit enough to keep up.  BUT…that being said, on Tuesday, I ran 6 miles of hill repeats with Matthew (who trained hard with me the summer I was working toward my first marathon)…and on Saturday, I ran 10 amazing miles with most of the group.  It felt awesome to be out there again, clicking off the miles.  At one point, we even joined up with the Anthem 5K, relatively close to the leaders of the race.  And as we ran through Mile 2 with them, we all commented on how this is what it felt like to be up front.  We left the course shortly after that to round off the mileage.  I can’t even begin to describe how good it felt to be out there with all of them again.  I had really missed it and them.  And Matthew has told me a few times that he and everyone else are so happy that I am back.  Over 10 very strong miles later…I feel like my comeback is officially a comeback.  Add on the 2 fantastic miles I added in this afternoon (it was SO windy, but it was too pretty not to go out and run…so I kept it short and easy)…and my confidence might slowly be building too.  I owe a lot of that to all the people who have continued to tell me to be careful, to do what is best for me, to not rush anything…and who have been waiting for me to come back to them. Arms open.  I’m back!


2. THIS BOOK!
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I am a bookworm.  And I love it when I’m walking through a bookstore or a library and a title or subject catches my eye.  That actually happened on Friday.  The book is Fit Not Healthy by Vanessa Alford, a true and personal account of the author’s downward spiral in an attempt to improve her performance in running, pushing her body harder and further, determined to be the best runner she can be.  Even though she was a physiotherapist, she soon becomes trapped in a spiral of extreme dieting and exercise in order to improve her performance and maintain her ‘fit and healthy’ look.  She ignored the growing concerns of friends and family, denying that there was anything unhealthy about her fitness training, until her body begins to rebel against her.  She was offered a commercial sponsorship and attracted the attentions of elite coaches, but striving to become faster and fitter, she fell into the trap of overexercising and calorie deprivation.  I have known and still know so many runners (and athletes) who do not fuel their body right…who take stupid risks with their helps because they are trying to fit into their idea of the “perfect” body, the “perfect” weight, the “perfect” athlete.  Denial is a demon that is hard to defeat.  This book has had me turning page after page.  The disordered thinking, eating, and exercising that Alford did is not only scary…but an eye opener.  My dearest friends…we are all beautiful works in progress.  DO NOT try to better yourself by taking risks with your body.  It will and does catch up to you!  Take care of your body…it’s the only place you have to live.

3. SHOPPING!!
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There really is something so therapeutic about shopping.  Retail therapy is real and it is life-changing.  This weekend, along with getting some upcoming birthday shopping done, my roommate and I both invested a little bit…in ourselves.  I purchased some reflective gear (capris and a matching top) for running, as well as a pair of Adidas Grete Shorts.  I usually am a running skirt girl, but I LOVE these shorts.  And I got them for $10 at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass.  I picked up shampoo bar and body wash from LUSH (LOVE LUSH!), and I picked up good eats at Annie May’s Sweet Café, Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe, Rice, Cellar Door Chocolates, and of course, the food of my own making…including getting some batch cooking done for this week.  All my meals are prepped and ready.  And it didn’t take long at all.  NICE!  AND…I also have indulged in some delicious berries and peaches this weekend too.  LOVE my fruit for a snack.  And some of my favorites are close to being back in season!!

All-in-all…what a fantastic weekend.  And now…I’m working on some upcoming goals and plans…and feeling good.  I haven’t been able to say that in a long time.

How did you spend your weekend?  Do anything fun?  Eat anything delicious?  Read anything amazing?  Tell me all about it!

A Half Dozen after a Half Distance

My physical therapist has been telling me that getting past my fear and my anxiety about running and adding mileage was all mental.  I knew she was right, but somehow, every time I would lace up to go running, short or long, I would just get this feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I was no longer comfortable with it. Especially the longer distances (which were always my favorite).

Last week, I managed 10 miles without any pain or issues.  This week, it was to be 12…but at a bit of encouragement from my physical therapist and my roommate, I bumped it up to a 13.1 distance.  Half marathon.  No time goals or pace goals.  Just go the distance.

And I did.  I won’t say it was pretty and that I felt great at the end…but I felt better.  I mentally and physically feel better for having done the distance. And, in the end, that’s all that really matters!

So, in honor of that…here is half a dozen things that made me smile this week…

1. Spreading a Little Sunshine

 

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Lemon Blossoms!!!

When bad things happen to good people, I like to find ways to lift spirits and at least spread a little happiness or, as I like to say, sunshine.  And the best way I know how to do that is by baking or cooking.  Well, my downstairs neighbors are going through a bit of a rough patch, and it’s hard to find reasons to smile sometimes.  This past Saturday evening, I baked up a batch of Lemon Blossoms (gluten & dairy free) for them.  I delivered them this morning.  And soon afterwards, I got a text message from Michelle saying that her son insisted on having a picnic in bed of Lemon Blossoms with daddy.  THAT…made my heart melt for sure.  It’s the little things that make big things happen.  Good things are coming for them.  I feel it.

2. BB-8

 

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Sphero BB-8 Toy
After months and months and months of coveting the thing, I finally broke down Saturday and purchased the Sphero BB-8 toy.  Why?  Because I wanted it.  I didn’t need it…but I wanted it.  We all know, I am probably one of the biggest BB-8 fangirls out there.  And, let me tell you, this little guy is a blast to roll around.  It is driven by an app on my phone, and it is adorable.  It even reacts to voice commands.  Seriously, one of the best, random, unnecessary purchase I have ever made.  He’s coming to work with me tomorrow.

3. Reliving my Childhood with Rainbow Brite

 

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Starlite, Rainbow Brite, and Twink Toys from Hallmark
Growing up, one of my favorite cartoons, toys, and things in life (hey…I was like 5) was Rainbow Brite.  For those of you who may not be as familiar with Rainbow Brite, she was the main protagonist of an animated series, where she was sent to a bleak and gloomy world to bring color and beauty to it.  Her mission was to make our world brighter and our hearts lighter by bringing color to all the corners of the universe.  She is aided in her adventures in Rainbow Land by her faithful companions, Starlite and Twink.  Her greatest

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Me in my “Rainbow Brite” shirt

strengths are compassion and bravery.  I had a favorite shirt as a kid that I called my “Rainbow Brite” shirt…and prior to this past Saturday, owned a Rainbow Brite snuggie (thanks Dad!), a Starlite pillow pet (thanks Cathy!), the movie Rainbow Brite and the Star Stealers (thanks Cathy!), have costumed as Rainbow Brite, and have just always tried to bring happiness to people (see #1 above…about sunshine and lemon blossoms).  So this past Saturday, while going past a Hallmark Store, I spotted a Rainbow Brite doll in the window.  Upon going inside…there was also Starlite (that’s the horse, BTW) and Twink dolls too.  And I bought them.  I couldn’t help it.  That’s my childhood. That’s me.  I aspire, still, to be Rainbow Brite.  Sometimes, it is the little things in life.

4. Another Pair of Running Shoes

 

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Nike Free RN Distance
So, as stoked as I was about the Nike Pegasus Air Zoom 32’s that I purchased last weekend.  But after 3 runs in them, I discovered a couple of things.  The first was that the toe box was too narrow.  I now am the proud owner of a black toenail.  Just after I got normal toes back after a year off from running.  HA!  Secondly, they felt heavy on my feet. My usual running shoes (the Newton Distance series) are abound 6.1 ounces.  The Nike Pegasus shoes were 8 ounces.  I didn’t think it would make a huge difference…but it did.  So, I returned them to Fleet Feet, and opted to exchange them rather than shop for a cute running skirt or get a refund. I explained what the issues were, and the sales girl returned with 2 different Nike shoes.  After testing them out at the store, I opted for the Nike Free RN Distance, which are 6.6 ounces, so closer to what I’m used to on my feet.  They are also soft to run on thanks to Lunaron cushioning, which fuses soft foam and lightweight Phylon carrior to deliver an excellent blend of plush comfort and durable support.  Great for distances.  These felt happy on my feet.  So I will test them out this week and either take them back or keep them.  We’ll see.

5. Foam Rolling

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Nightly companions – Foam Roller and The Stick
All runners have a love/hate relationship with their foam rollers.  I love mine.  It’s one of those “hurts so good” devices.  I have started rolling again…every night.  And it’s amazing.  I mean…yeah…it doesn’t necessarily feel good, but it does.  And I feel better after that.  So, after my BOSU ball routine for my physical therapy stuff…out comes the foam roller.  For 20-30 minutes, I work on those tired and sore muscles…and afterwards, I feel a little better.  So, I’m actually happy to have this back in my routine!

6. Accidentally Twinning

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Kelsie and Me – decked out in our purple & orange!
One great thing that has come from these runs I have been doing on weekends is the people I get to run with.  And one of them happens to be my good friend, Kelsie.  I met Kelsie via my blog and we’ve become very good friends.  This past Saturday, we accidentally dressed in the same color scheme.  So, that was awesome.  She and I will be doing our long run this weekend together as neither of us are participating in the Anthem 5K.  So, I am seriously looking forward to that.  We’re going to keep a nice easy pace and rock out the mileage together.  I’m excited.  Been way too long since Kelsie and I got nice run in together.  Wonder if we’ll accidentally color coordinate again.  HA!

And there it is, my friends…half a dozen things in honor of the half distance.  I’ve been recovering today…with shopping (yep…more…because I bought a pretty dress!), and baking and cooking…and now I’m watching Tangled, which is part of my Disney Animated Movies In Order viewing-fest.

What did you guys do this weekend?