I successfully woke up at 5am and got out of bed again. WIN!

I headed out on my 17-miler. My first thought is that it's really early in the season to be running this far. I had a brief thought about going to the Y today but four hours on the elliptical is more than even I can stand. (And I do spend quality time on that thing.)

I started on the run and it was a gorgeous day. It was cool enough that steam was coming off the creek and Lake Nokomis. (Did you know there's a hill on Cedar ave before you get to the lake? I learned today.) It was long after that my friends Puke-y and Blergch came to visit. And they stayed for the rest of the run.

It was not a good run. actually, it was fine in most of Minneapolis. It was around the Franklin Ave bridge that I started feeling like true ish. It was shortly after that I had to stop running. I walked most of the rest of the way home. FAIL. I had a shocking realization that an overwhelming majority of the last, I dunno, third of the marathon will be up a freaking hill. Ask me how I feel about that.

I actually had good luck on the way home when I got really sick right next to awesome, um, facilities with running water, soap, and all kinds of other amenities. WIN number one.

WIN number two came when I took a short cut home. I usually run home along Minnehaha Parkway but there's a running/biking path that veers north of the parkway and out into nature between Hiawatha Ave and Lake Hiawatha (about a mile) and it's the prettiest place I've found so far in my running. And that's really saying something because I've been a lot of places.

Next week is mercifully an off week.

This year, I'm learning a lot more about my body and when I'm likely to get sick on long runs. It's only at certain times that I get sick and I'm learning the signs much better than last year. My fear is that I'm going to wind up running the marathon on a day like this. So I keep trying. Maybe I should come up with an alternate mileage plan. Not today.


Long Run Friday: A nice time at Lake of the Isles

Long run preparation really started Thursday night when one my neighbors had her screaming kid with her in the laundry room, courtyard, too-close-to-my-window, why aren't you in bed, please make your kid stop.
It was ridiculous. Of course the kid was screaming and bonkers, it was 11:00 at night, he should have been in bed. We don't have too many kids here at the condos but with the economy and general ridiculousness of real estate, there's double or triple the number from when I moved here.

Eventually I fell asleep, although much later than I wanted. Because the alarm went off at 5am. I did, in fact, turn the light on and start my day then.

I had some dark chocolate peanut butter before the run. I've decided not to do that anymore. It's upset my stomach and made me all puke-ish the last couple of times. I'm thinking I might have to get some real "peanuts are the only ingredient" peanut butter and have that.

My fifteen-miler took me along Minnehaha Creek, around Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun and (not my happy place) Lake of the Isles. (I'm having issues with Gmaps, so let me know if that map doesn't work.) It was really humid. Like gross, sticky, humid. But gorgeous. The milk weed and other plans are coming out and the flowers smell awesome. The sailboats and Harriet and Calhoun are always nice too.

Because of the heat, I hydrated liberally. I also tried a new nutrition plan which worked well. I took half a Cliff Bar and ate that first. By the end of the run, I don't want actual food. My mouth is so dry it just doesn't feel good to eat it, but early on, I need really food with good protein. I also had two gel packs (yes, I've made peace with the gel) and had those for my second and third food stops.

And I had a surprisingly nice time at Lake of the Isles. Lake Calhoun too, my last run there was horrendous.

The shortcut home, across 40th street (which I didn't know about for all of last year) is my favorite part because it's downhill (not noticeably changing elevations, just a gentle grade) for like a mile. And it's downhill at the end right by my house. And it's so much shorter. (Ha, I'll pay for that later.)

After the run, I headed out to get pooky bear her birthday present. (Luckily I read her blog because someone already got her my original idea). I found some nice things, actually wound up feeling better about them than my original idea anyways.

I had to work for a little while (like 3 hours, I love Fridays) before heading back home where I finally laid down on the couch and took a nap.

I was woken by a teenager calling me. She needed a ride. It's a good thing I said no because a few minutes later my party planner *ahem* Amanda called me and she needed me to stop and get bread on my way. Which I did. I was already back to my car when the heavens opened up. I turned off my iPod in favor of the radio, because I had a feeling the National Weather Service would be needed my attention any minute. I found out just how fast my windshield wipers can move. It wasn't fast enough. The rain was coming down so hard and fast, I could barely see.

Luckily, that only lasted a few minutes. (It lasted from 42nd St and Hiawatha to Marshall Ave in St Paul at 15mph). Even after the rain stopped, the roads were still underwater in some places. At Marshall and Cleveland there was one such sewer-backup-makes-new-lake issue. I watched the car in front of me drive through the lake before making sure the light was green and trying it myself. Once I was on the other side I thought, 'hmmm, I guess I was lucky it wasn't high enough to come in the doors, I wasn't watching for that'. It's ok, I got another chance when there was a similar (ultimately smaller) lake formation on Selby that I drove through after a truck.

The rain was such an event (seriously, there are no words) that several people wound up not coming to the birthday bash. Several of you did show up and I was thrilled to see you. Amanda cooked to win, won, and then drank to win. She won that too. Our birthday cake was 12-layers, homemade, with homemade butter cream frosting.

I did not drink to win, I drank to always have a beer in my hand but not puke. I met my objective.

The Chef showed up with some friends and they all hung out for a while. (Ok, 'the chef' is not the best nickname I could've come up with. Although at least he can laugh about it now too.) Apparently I'd met most of those guys the night of the catfish incident. It's not at all shocking that I don't remember them.

After most people left, Amanda, Kathleen, Julie and I went for a walk on Summit and Grand Ave. (Remember when I said Amanda was drinking to win?) We came home and I put myself to bed on the torture rack. Like Lake of the Isles, this was the most pleasant experience I've had on the rack. I woke up at 7am and fell right back asleep.

I woke up at 9am to Amanda getting water ('ohh, my head'), coming to my bed, curling up and sucking on her water bottle moaning. Kind of brings me some insight into the night Amanda got me that drunk. We got up and had Tex Mex and lots and lots of coffee.

Then I came home, planted myself on the couch and have been here pretty much ever since. I watched the USA - Ghana game, on and off. Sad that the USA lost but a big part of me loves that an African team is doing so well.

Saturday: LINKFEST

Too many tabs open in Firefox is a sure sing I'm overdue for LINKFEST. Woops. Here's what I've been reading about or enjoying lately:


Desperately overdue to...

I got a new phone this week. The only way you'd know is that I haven't really written anything because I'm too busy getting to know the new phone. Sorry.

Why'd I get a new phone? I Went to Austin and got lost everywhere I tried to go. That's not true. We got totally lost the first two places we tried to go while someone else was driving and then I learned that I had to study the map before I went anywhere. And the going route is different than the returning route thanks to a bizarre set of expressways, one-ways, and turn arounds. Two of the cousins present had GPS on their phones so we spread them out among all the different cars. It was ridiculous. And then I was bored in the airport and hotel with limited internet access. (I say boo!)

I came home and ordered a smart phone.

I'm glad I got to see Amanda's experience of getting a Blackberry and hating it because it's not an iPhone. (She's not reading the blog right now, I could say anything I want about her. This is at least true.) I knew I couldn't have an iPhone because there's no AT&T coverage in my unit or most of my building. I did a lot of reading about iPhone vs Droid and found out Droid has some nice things going for it as well. So I was emotionally prepared to own something that's not an iPhone but with similar capabilities. Droid's got a great search function and I'm pleasantly surprised by Gmail. (No one knows why I hadn't tried that yet either.) I've used the GPS and mapping a couple of times. I expect to use it a lot on vacation in New York. (I'm going to New York!)

Running has been an off-and-on kind of thing. This week I did 10 miles on an elliptical on Sunday (because when I wake up late, running indoors is mandatory). Monday morning I ran 4 miles (practice for the victory lap down Summit at the end of the marathon) with the St Paul runners who then treated me to coffee and croissants for my birthday. Tuesday I turned the alarm off and rolled over. Wednesday I woke up to rain and ran sprints on the track at the Y. (Yes, that is my first indoor track experience this training season and also my first sprint experience this season.) Today I was scarred by the alarm and rolled over for another couple hours of sleep.

Tomorrow, I'm planning in my head to think 'turn on the lamp' when the alarm goes off instead of 'oh, no, I'm too tired'. I'll get up if there's light. Tomorrow I'm planning 15. I could go bat shit crazy and do 18 but it seems unlikely. My plan is to head over to the lakes. At the top of Lake Calhoun I will decide to either go north to Lake of the Isles, run around that and take a short cut home, or, skip the third lake and take the regular distance and route home. It's good to have options. Hopefully this will calm me down about Lake of the Isles where I've had some rough times in the past. I've had some rough times around Lake Calhoun too. It's good those both come early in the Marathon when I won't be freaking out.

Why'd I wait 'till Friday (a day on which I rarely run) for the long run? That decision was on instruction from Amanda who told me I had to have enough calories to eat whatever awesome food will be cooked for Pooky Bear and my birthday party. And then also have enough calories left over to drink whatever kinds of alcohol I want. Although I have some calories to play with since there will be dancing.

I told Amanda that I want to sleep it off on her couch and go have Tex Mex in the morning. Amanda usually sleeps 'till 3pm (no, seriously, she works 3rd shift) so I'm thinking I may just have to wake her up when I'm ready for food because I won't be sleeping like that.

Happy Birthday to me!


My birthday: It's like a giant hug

As it should be. Since it's my last birthday in my twenties, I'm trying to stretch it out.

But first, as a gift to Heather, (one of the St Paul runners), all of you who use Firefox and Chrome should install this extension and then click "search and share" instead of the regular search button every time you Google.

For my birthday:
  • Last Thursday: I went out to Cat Man Do (I have no clue why this website plays sound) with my former adviser from school.

  • Saturday afternoon: I went to see Doll House at the Guthrie with my clinical supervisor. I had a nice time. It's a modernization of the Ibsen play, although I hated the ending. (The ending in the original play wasn't so hot either really.)

  • Saturday night: I went to a party with the Ragnar/Amsterdam/Bolder Options crowd. Most of it involved hanging out in the backyard around a campfire. I stayed much longer than I anticipated. (Amanda, you would have been proud.)

  • This morning: The St Paul runners got up, ran me around their neighborhood, decorated my car and fed me coffee and breakfast treats! It's the perfect level of party and calm relaxing for me.

  • At lunch: Bonnie made me lunch. I love it when people cook for me.

  • Tonight: I had a fourth piece of bacon. (Actually stayed within my calories too.)

  • This coming Friday: Amanda is throwing Pooky Bear and I a party. I've already told Amanda I want to drink, dance, spend the night at her house, wake up and eat Tex-Mex at the Uptowner. But I don't want to get puke-drunk. Amanda has already told me I have to do my long run that day so I have enough calories to eat whatever I want all the awesome food she's about to cook.



I'm laying here trying really hard not to get out of bed. Here's what I've seen for the last week:


I should have known better

Yesterday I had the worst headache which miraculously did not turn into a migraine. Turns out I only drank half a can of Pepsi in the morning. Which resulted in a killer caffeine head ache. Consuming caffeine later in the day did nothing to address the issue. Taking medicine similarly did nothing. Fail. I wound up taking some pretty strong medicine because, hey, I fear migraines.

I planned to get up this morning at 5am and go for a long run. I was still hung over from the head ache medicine. (It was not alcohol but it was powerful.) Obviously, I did not run.

I did go to work and had basically a productive day.

And then I went to the gym and got on the elliptical. And stayed on the elliptical. And then got on a different elliptical and stayed on that one for a while too. Thirteen miles later....

I have twelve miles left to run this week. I'm not sure how they'll get done but I'm hoping I can do all of them outside. (Can you believe the rain this summer?) I'm trying to gear up for a birthday run with the St Paul runners. (I'm also trying to convince them that costumes are completely unnecessary for the occasion although I dared them to come up with a good costume so we'll see what happens.)

My birthday is actually Monday and I'm celebrating the Friday after it with Amanda, Kelly, and whomever else Amanda invites.


Messing with Texas

I had a blast in Austin, and my first time in Texas. I may go back but it will likely be in the winter. (The lows in Texas were warmer than the high temperatures in Minnesota.)

When I arrived Mom, Dad and Uncle Tom picked me up at the airport. Dad tried to kill us all by taking a U-Turn at 60mph (not realizing it was a u-turn) until I started screaming. (The only time I haven't been scolded for screaming while Dad was driving. Ever.)
Austin is an exciting place to drive because of the expressways, service roads, one ways and 'turn arounds'.

Ultimately Dad let me drive his car for the rest of the trip. I studied the maps (and found the Google Maps app on my iPod completely helpful) before I went anywhere. I didn't get lost at all. The one time Dad rode with another driver, said driver went up an exit ramp the wrong way. A lot of Austin looks like this in my mind. See that little 'U-Turn' sign. It's easy to miss when you're doing 60.

Friday was the bride's lunch and rehearsal dinner. I took pictures at dinner but they didn't turn out well enough to post. I know some family members got some great ones though. I'll get my hands on them sooner or later. This is Aunt Mary (groom's mom) and I at the Bride's lunch.

Saturday we got all dressed up and had a wedding! Here's Mom, Dad and I in our 'nice clothes'. You may recognize this dress from the time I finished grad school, the time my pooky bear married Eric or the time Mark married Irmghard. (This is a good dress pooky bear, thanks for helping me pick it out! You too Amanda.)

My newest cousin Ben (I think he's still the newest but not for long) spent a lot of time entertaining me. As did his big brother Luke.

This is how Mark entertained himself for most of the ceremony. Entertained me too.

Just in case Brian forgets the big moment (Ha, don't think there's much chance of that) I have it on film.

More from the wedding day.

After the wedding we went to the hotel and changed into jeans (read: watched as much as possible of the USA vs England soccer game) before heading to the reception which was a true Texas barbecue at a ranch. It was a really pretty setting. Those pictures are on my dad's camera because I forgot to charge mine.

Sunday we saw Brian and Allison's house. Then Mom, Dad, Aunt Anne and Uncle Dave and I headed to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center where I sweated at least half of my body weight in the 95* Texas sunshine. It was pretty but very hot. The best part was this windmill creaking in the wind. You could hear it from a long way off and just had such a great Texas character and feel.

Sunday night my plane was mildly delayed but I made it home in one piece. Steve (thanks again!) picked me up at the airport and took me home.

The one thing the trip taught me is it's time for a smart phone. I was the only one without GPS/mapping on my phone and we needed it in Austin. Also, with a smart phone I don't have to worry about internet access in the airport. I'm looking now. I think Uncle Dave talked Dad into getting a new toy too.

Second Cincinnati Update

In honor of finally getting all the pictures off my camera, I thought I'd tell you about The Cincinnati Tradition that is Grater's.

Rule 1: Always go with friends (or family) and prepare to have fun.

Rule 2: I don't know why I gave Chris anything that belongs in my wallet. He must have given it back because I had ID when I flew this time.

Rule 3: EAT!

Rule 4: Hungry runners finish first. I'd just run 13.1 miles and I was ready to EAT. That's why there's nothing left.

Rule 5: Spoons are not required.

Rule 6: You may look silly if you try to eat Grater's with a spoon. (Although there's a very real possibility Chris was just being silly when I took this picture.)

Making marathon shirts

Remember when Deb and I ran the half marathon? Remember when my pooky bear helped me make the shirts for the race? I finally took the pictures off shirt-making off the camera and thought I'd share.

No one knows why I didn't take pictures of the front. The backs actually turned out the best. I wanted Wild Cat Blue (it's a color in Kentucky, trust me) for Deb. Kelly cautioned me about the metallic flecks in the blue but they actually make the shirts look even better.

Painting the shirts:

Final product:

The funniest part of the race was when I ran by these two girls. Deb was a few feet behind me so she passed these girls a few seconds later. And one says to the other, "I wonder where they got those shirts, they're so cool". (Serious.)


LINKFEST Wednesday

It's an off week for running so I find myself with little to talk about. Work has been... busy. Busy is a good out-loud word to describe the experience. I 'ran' on the elliptical yesterday and I'm planning on more work outs at the end of the week. Right now, I'm enjoying the down time. Here's what I've been checking out on the webz:


Is it a PR if you've only run the distance once?

A couple days ago, Beth decided it would be fun to run the Grand Old Day 8k this morning. I was, um, less than enthusiastic because the two other times I ran this week, I got really sick.

I was almost a complete hermit yesterday. The only other human being I spoke to was while I was getting cash so I could run this morning. So I decided I could get out today.

I decided a good goal for the race would be speed/time related. I finished my last 10k at an 11:05/mile pace. So I decided on an 11:00/mile was my goal.

It was a really fun race. Beth and Robin took off like a dart. It was about ten steps before I decided not to even try staying with them. (One of the better decisions I made today.) All that hill training paid off because if I passed people, it was always going uphill. About quarter-mile from the finish line this girl and I pulled even. I could tell she wasn't going to let me get by her (I do love the competitive types) so I just drafted off her until we both decided to pass a third person and fly to the finish line.

When I crossed the clock said 54:??... something. I think I made my goal. But they haven't posted the official chip times yet so I'm not sure. (It's 6pm, why aren't the times posted yet?)

After the race Beth fed me awesome coffee and her girls took me to the parade. We were about 50 feet from the staging area so we got tons of good candy and stickers. Then we went up to KidLand (that's what I'd call it). The kids rode some slides. We found some games (didn't win but they were free and the volunteers were from Habitat for Humanity which was cool) and we found baby animals including the cutest baby kangaroo (also known as a Joey).

I stopped at Chipotle (like it was going to be anywhere else) for breakfast/lunch. Since I got home, I've been enjoying Ice Road Truckers which I find problematically addicting.



Today was a long slog at work. My brain is about to turn off. Before that happens, here's some things to entertain you:


Forget the river; I need to make peace with the lakes

The last two weeks, the runs I took along the river were great. I'm hopeful that I have some of my issues with the river path worked out. Now, I need to turn some time and energy to making peace with the lakes. And quite possibly my stomach.

Here's the thought process last night and this morning:

10:00pm last night (probably later really): Ok, when the alarm goes off at 5am, all I have to go is get out of bed and put some Gu Chomps in my mouth for breakfast. Don't think ahead any farther than that. The rest will work itself out.

5:00am - wwhatimuzit? wha...noise...that alarm sucks...
Followed by me getting out of bed and sticking to the plan of just getting out of bed and having some calories. I told myself last night that I could run 15 miles or go to the gym and do 15 miles on the elliptical.

5:15am - I cannot handle being on an elliptical on National Running Day.

5:16am - Perhaps I should have checked the weather. Those clouds look awfully dark. But if I go back inside to check there's no way I'll actually do this long run. I'll just go. It did rain and I got soaked. Happily there was no thunder or lightning and the rain stopped after about 20 minutes. It didn't even muck up my shoes.

I went over to the lakes because I haven't seen them in a while. I think ultimately it wouldn't have mattered if I were running on the lakes or the river; today was just a bad day. I actually got really sick yesterday when I was running. I thought my body was over that and I'd be safe to run. I was until about mile 10. Then my stomach was done being tossed up and down and churned all around.

It's sad that I felt like ish at the lakes. I already have a mental block about Lake of the Isles. One of my last long runs from last season was spectacularly bad and the drama all came to a head there. I have a little bit of a block around Lake Calhoun too, but nowhere near as bad as Lake of the Isles. Lake Harriet is always one of my favorite places to run ever, right next to my happy place.

After the run, I headed to work and worked a loooong day. Now I'm sitting on the couch thinking about bed. I can't believe it's 9:15pm and it's still light out. Must mean my birthday is getting close. I LOVE summer.