I've been doing these a lot lately.

Long Run Sunday: A Race Prep Run

As you can see from my Marathon Training program a 10-miler was on the books today.  It's the last 'long run' before the big day, and general wisdom is there's nothing I can do the week before the marathon to make myself faster next Sunday.  That means this is a fun-run.  I decided to do my all-time favorite route ever.  Read all about it here.

Also, in the spirit of 'nothing new on marathon day' I decided to test my pharmaceutical interventions for the race.  It's not a secret that, um, intestinal distress has plagued training this year and I really wanted to have a plan for that on race day.  (I kept thinking back to last year and what I did. That race started at 1030.)

A long sunrise woke me up this morning.  (I love this clock!)  I got up, had a small snack, another thing I need to figure out before race day, and took some drugs.  I did research last night and made sure that Imodium and Ibuprofen won't do bad things to each other in my stomach.  I packed my Gu (one pack, ha!) and a bit of water, then off I went.

It was quite chilly and I was glad I had long sleeves.  Even though the sun was up, there was still dew on the grass.  The sun was putting on quite a show as well.  I made it all the way to the falls before I realized that today is the Women Run the Cities race.  (I was running a 20-miler last year during that race.  I used a bunch of their water stops that time.)  Luckily, although I saw the starting line, the race course didn't intersect my path at all.

Down the awesome hill.  Are those horses behind me?  Nope, it's just a cross country team, Hamline's possibly because a couple of them were wearing shirts that said HU (or U of H, I can't remember).  The boys came by first and there were lots of them.  Then the girls came down.  There weren't as many and they sounded more like deer than horses.

Up the awesome hill.  Yeah! for week 2 of me running all the way up the thing.  As you can imagine, I've spent some time looking at the Marathon course map and the elevation change information on it.  Go here for more information.  For the past week or two I've started to become wildly intimidated by miles 21-23 (River Parkway up to Cretin, then to Summit which goes up for some time).  I studied the elevation gain and it's only a bit more than this big stinking hill I run up.  (It's much further into the course, but nowhere near as steep as this thing.)

At the top of awesome hill is the prettiest spot in the whole city.  I think I'll take dad there next week so he can see how much the leaves have changed since he was there a few weeks ago.  That's where I stopped to have my Gu Chomps.  (I didn't even eat them all.)

Then back by the river and the falls.  I got to see what must have been runners after finishing the 5k.  (There's no way any of those people had just run 10 miles.)  Way to go ladies!  And, shock of shocks, I was still running up on my toes.  I actually was up on my toes pretty much the rest of the way home (as opposed to the heel-strike gait).

When I got home, I still wasn't having, um, distress.  This is Great! I thought I had a plan for race day.  So I changed and headed off to the KingField Farmer's Market, you know, the one I couldn't find last week.  I wanted to go and try this vendor's eggs from pasture fed hens.  (Trust me, once you've had eggs from pasture fed hens, you'll understand.)  It's a tiny market but everyone there was really nice.  I found the vendor and got my eggs.  In a carton that said "Virginia" on it.  WTF!  I'm assuming/hoping the cartons are just re-used.  (It's not even like they can do a fake out and say they're from Virginia Minnesota.)  I also got a few veggies I missed at the co-op yesterday.  I was sad to see no one had brussel sprouts for me to buy.

I came home and started to make breakfast lunch.  I think all the color drained from my face and I was standing at the stove.  I started to get hot and got a fairly big stomach cramp.  There's those side effects the box warned me about.  Two pills was too damn much.  It's good to get the dosage issues worked out before race day too I guess.  After laying on the couch for a few minutes I was able to go cook and have my lunch.  The jury is still out on the eggs, although I wasn't as immediately impressed as I'd hoped I would be.

My choices for the day appear to be watching one or another Minnesota sports team play a sports team from Detroit.  So far, it doesn't appear to be a good day for Mr Favre. Doesn't appear to be a great day for the Twins either.


Linkfest - TV

Happy Holidays to those of you who know what I'm talking about.  For the rest of us, I've got some time off work.  Today I filled it with running and some other seemingly productive activities.  But yesterday I filled my time with television.  Here's what's been going on:
  • In connection with the Take Our Jobs campaign, the United Farm Workers got the coveted Colbert Bump When Stephen Colbert testified before congress about migrant workers and immigration.  It starts going off the rails a bit in the beginning, but hang on because he get's the cars back on the track at the end.
  • Jimmy Carter on the Daily Show talking about lots of interesting things.  I get the impression that President Carter is fairly quiet and totally brilliant.
  • Former President Clinton also came by the Daily Show for an 'extended' interview.  Part 1 and Part 2 were broadcast, Part 3 and Part 4 are only available on the web.
  • Possibly the biggest surprise and my favorite interview of all was when Jon Stewart talke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, also with a web only Part 2.  Because of where I work, I express no public opinion on most of the things talked about in this interview. Ever.  I didn't realize until I looked later that almost all of the King's education has been in the United States.


Post 1,300 - LINKFEST Wednesday

I may be starting to carbo-load a bit prematurely for Marathon Sunday.  (It's still like 12 days away.)  In a related note, popcorn that's sat out for a day or two is the best food ever.  Just wanted you to know.

Now onto the Linkfest:


I want to RUN!

There must have been a lot of races lately, across the US, because every blog I read is someone giving a race report right now.  Fantastic!

This morning, in preparation for my own race, I got up and got dressed to run, checked the weather by looking outside and then headed out.  Wow, those are tiny rain drops, no wonder I couldn't see them from the window.  In the dark.  I didn't anticipate the rain and was emotionally unprepared to have what will be my marathon running shoes get wet.

Plan B - off to the gym I went and made friends with one of my favorite elliptical machines. I realized that I was sweating profusely at the gym.  This is the time of year when I try to re-train my body from summer running (sweating is a good thing and will keep my from dying) to winter running mode (sweating just may cause hypothermia).  Effecting such a switch basically involves running and exercising in as few clothes legally possible to train systems to stop sweating.  I think I'll start that after the marathon.

Work was, well, I have two three-day work weeks in a row.  I love my job.  All the people I do business with are having five day work weeks so there's still five days worth of work that needs to be completed.  So I'm just trying to get through it.  Next week I get to have lunch in a Sukka.  My favorite Sukkas are the ones with "Christmas lights". Hee hee.  The highlight of my day was when Mary brought me Pepsi.  WIN!

After work I ran with Team:Work, still training for their first 5k for some of them, for some it's the first 5k in several years.  I'm such a pain in the @ss, I make them do squats, lunges and these things at the end of each run.   (Might as well make all those muscles around your knees as strong as we can.)  The 5k is around Hanukkah.  Every year the 5k is slightly warmer and features slightly less ice than the preceding year so we should be in good shape.  (Beth - I will create great weather for you this year.)

Eight million hours after I left this morning I finally got home.  I used greens, cilantro, scallions and an avocado and made what I will now call "Mexican Spring Rolls" for dinner.  Awesome.  Then I talked to Mom and somehow ended that conversation with a plane ticket home for Christmas.  Win number 2!  She hates it when I drive.  She hates to drive.  I actually find it quite relaxing although the Minneapolis-Cincinnati route is a bit of a haul.

Now I'm sitting listening to GrooveShark and couldn't be happier.  I only have 7.1 more miles to run this week.  And I have one more day of work before not working for several days in a row.


Let there be Apples

After the 15-miler 14-miler this morning, I tried to find the Kingfield Farmer's Market at buy eggs.  You see I did not get to that last night.  Sadly, I couldn't find it because I didn't look at the address ahead of time.  (Looking now I was only a block away, oh well.)

I came back to my no-egg, very-little-for-breakfast home and made a sandwich of fresh bread (thanks Turtle Bread!), sopressetta and Parmesan cheese.  It was actually fairly awesome.  I made coffee which, as it turned out, was not needed.

Then off to see my pooky bear and Amanda (I still need a good nickname for her, I'm taking suggestions) for picking apples.  Amanda, as it turns out, stopped at Starbucks for the three of us.  Thanks!

This is the last year our orchard of choice will be open.  It was quite obvious; they'd already started selling off the equipment and live stock, allowing people to climb trees, stopped making strudel and donuts (no donuts?!?), and were just generally letting the orchard go.  Despite the slightly depressing feel, it was a nice day.

We started eating apples (another thing we had to do in secret in past years) the second we got out there.  Ripeness counts this year as not all the ones available for picking were completely ripe.  Some varieties one tree was ripe and the next wasn't. 
Generally the best apples are highest up and so haven't been picked yet.  It requires some team work to get them.  Usually, Amanda or I would pull a branch down (with our body weight) and my pooky bear, the tallest of the three of us, would pick the best ones.
It also requires climbing the trees.  We were quite stealthy in the trees this year.
You can't see me!
Amanda coined a new phrase.  "There's apples in my melons".  (It's a good thing she doesn't read my blog anymore and won't see this.)  It's tough to explain the actual context, but this photo should help.
We each picked a variety of apples.  We wound up with harelson, golden crisp and red baron.  The harelson were my favorite.  But the golden crisp should be good too.

We actually made a fairly quick trip this year, since there wasn't food at the orchard anymore.  We went down the road a little ways to another stand and bought some baked goods.  I bought Salsa.  Then Kelly stopped at a gas station so I could get a diet pepsi, something I'd been craving all day.

Since there's basically no restaraunts we wanted to patronize down south, we headed back to the Twin Cities to PF Chengs for a late lunch.  We had a conversation about the chicken-lettuce wraps, and whether not they alone made PF Chengs deserve our business.  I had pan fried noodles which were good but had perhaps a touch too much sauce.  I'm going to see if I can remedy that somehow with the leftovers I'm about to eat.  (14 miles.)

Long Run Sunday - Ft Snelling ROCKS!

I liked that "musical" post I did yesterday, so here's a song from my run today that really got me going.  You may watch the video or just listen while you read:

6am - wake up!  Most pleasant 6am wake up I've had in quite some time.  The reason, once again, was my uber-expensive, seemingly worth the money, alarm clock that made me feel like it was sunrise.

I had a banana and packed up my goodies.  (Three gel packs?  That's it?  That can't be right.)

I took the Lake Nokomis and Ft Snelling route, slightly modified from the version here because of the Minneapolis Bike Tour.

After I was all packed up, I headed out to watch the real sunrise.  50* isn't so bad I guess.

Lake Nokomis - gorgeous as always.  And the bathroom was open, also a plus.  This makes me know that I have to make a, um, plan for marathon day.  Why?  I'm planning on running with the 12:30 pace group but what if I need to make a stop?  How do I catch back up to them?  Should I run faster and figure if I do stop they'll catch up to me?  Should I plan to run harder if I do have to stop?  Should I use a pharmaceutical intervention to prevent any needs?  Should I just trust God that this will be fine and not think about it anymore?  I am so confused!.

Coming off the lake - ooh, look, they're starting to close the roads.  At the time I thought it was a bike race and not a tour.  The difference became clear to me later.

Minnehaha Falls - Hmmm, perhaps I'll stop a second time.  This pot isn't nearly as bad as Mom described it to me.  Now I really need a plan.

And down awesome hill I went, all comfortable and ready to rock after my second stop.  This is where I had some stride issues and brings me to my thoughts about plan number two.  For some silly reason, I started to change my stride in the midst of training to a more mid-foot strike (versus the traditional heel-strike)  and I'd do shorter runs totally with a mid-foot strike but longer runs were almost always with the old heal-strike because the other muscle set just hasn't had time or training to fully develop yet.

I started this run with the mid-foot strike, actually much easier on my body but after about mile seven (perhaps the longest I'd run with that stride) my body was ready for a switch.  I alternated the rest of the run between the two strides, always using the mid-foot strike for running up hills.

Speaking of hills, up Monster-hill my little legs carried me.  All the way up.  I feel like a million d- no, wait, if I could feel my legs at all, I would feel like a million dollars.  I do believe I was watching the Minnesota Golder Gophers cross-country (track? some kind of running?) team walk down the hill and towards Pike Island as I was running up. That'd be a nice place to train.

Then up to the prettiest view in the Twin Cities.  Now I really feel like a million dollars.  The leaves are starting to change.  I can't wait to see what it looks like next week when I do my 10-miler.

On the way back I actually crossed to the north side of Minnehaha Parkway much eariler than I usually do to accommodate the bike tour.  I was thrilled to learn there were police actually directive traffic at the major intersections and it was only the side streets that were closed.

It was fun to watch all the cyclists go by.  There were kids and families and couples and (how do you say the bike was wearing a costume?) all kinds of bikes and designs.  Plus they were all totally relaxed, not the stress of a race which was fantastic.

Up that one last hill (from the parkway onto 15th which is not long but is quite steep) and headed down and for home.  I was stoked when I got home and thought I'd run a 12:00 mile for 15 miles.  I was bummed to learn my route was only 14 miles.

Then came the best most painful part of the day.  That's right: the ice bath.  Those things are much nicer when my body's been running in 70* temperatures than in 50* temperatures.  10 minutes is long enough.

 I have a hard time figuring out my pace.  In addition to the two stops, I had to stop a third time because I thought I had a rock in my shoe (that was a shorter stop but at least a minute or two).  That rock, by the way, turns out to be a blister in a place it shouldn't be humanly possible to get a blister.  (I'm not making a plan for that.  Neither the socks nor the shoes have ever given me a blister before.)  Also, Monster Hill does tend to monkey with my pace in a way the rolling hills of Marathon Sunday shouldn't.  So, I have no idea my pace.  Also, I started my iPod when I left home but I walked about .4 miles before I started running (or counting mileage) and I don't know how long that took either.

All in all, it was an enjoyable run, despite the pace and distance confusion.


Long Short Run Thursday and Saturday!

Come and join me in the wonderfulness that is the taper.  (If I was more tech savvy, I'd have a day- counter to tell you when the marathon will be. It's soon enough that I'm tapering.)

To understand my relaxation, you should hit play on this video while you read the rest of my post.  (The video is, um, not the best, but just listen to the song while you read.  Totally safe for work and the kids.)

Thursday morning I woke up at the crack of dawn and I'm so glad I did because I had a great run with the St. Paul runners.  What made it great?  A couple of things.
First - I wore my bolder options marathon shirt and realized it's the first time I've worn that thing out in public.  I finally lost enough weight that I don't look like stuffed sausage in it.
Second - when Robin (could've been Heather or Beth, one of them) said, "wow, Liz, we're not running any slower than we usually do".  WIN!  Because I usually run much slower than they do.  I refer you to the last race we ran together when they ran sub-9s and I ran a sub-11.  But there I was, right there with them at the end.  I could feel it too, but in that great "I just worked my butt off" way.

Thursday at work, much like the rest of the week, was crazy busy but a positive and productive experience.  Thursday night, I actually went back to the YWCA for another run because even though this is a taper week, my mileage for the week was kind of messed up by not running on Sunday.

Friday I slept in.  I refer you to the fact that I did like 15 miles all together the day before.  I went in to work late too.  Again, on purpose and pre-approved by the boss.

Work was very productive, mostly me doing chart audits.  I think I only talked to one person before my meeting at the end of the day.  And I was strongly reminded that I don't like people sneaking up on my from behind.  Seriously, from the side is fine, but not from the back.  That's a longer story than we have time for here.

At the end of the day, a friend called me from a closet at work.  (No, she called me when I was in a meeting and I called her back 5 minutes later she had to go to a closet to take the call.)  Obviously, friend wasn't having the best day.  Probably wasn't helped by the fact that it was 3pm and all she'd had to eat was a cup of yogurt and she was working a double.

I stopped at Taco Bell and picked up food for her and a snack for me.  She ate the burrito 'meal', half of my steak quesidilla, and a couple of my cheesy potatoes.  (Oh, just get the chicken burrito for me, that'll be fine.  Ha.)  I actually planned for her to eat that much food.  One of the things marathon training has taught me: fuel is important.

My Fancy alarm clock that Chris recommended also arrived on Friday.  I set it up when I got home.

Saturday morning I experienced an awesome sunrise.  Such a nice way to wake up.  I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow at 6am when I'm getting up for the long run.  I set it for a 30 minute sunrise but I'm thinking a 45 minute setting will be better.  Seriously, when I opened my eyes, I was awake.  Not like, whomahgod, whuttimizit?  But, just, awake.   Nice.

I went over to Turtle Bread and picked up some fresh bread and a chocolate croissant (I'm running, why not?).  I had the croissant and coffee for breakfast.  Then I headed over to Lake Nokomis for a nice five-miler.  It's good that I'm running when it's in the 50's because that's what it's likely to be for race day.  (I'm thinking about purchasing a pair of those fancy runner-sleeve-arm-warmer deals but not sure.)

I came back and again, headed over to the hot tub at the Y.  It's the time of year that when I stop running I get really cold so the hot tub warms me back up.

After that I tried to make lunch and failed at shirred eggs.  This is my second fail with those things so I'm basically giving up.  I then steamed some collards, fried some bacon, and mixed the two together.  I poached the one egg I had left (ooh, I've got to buy more eggs before tomorrow) and put it on top of the greens and bacon awesomeness.  (Thanks to Amanda for teaching me about that dish.)

Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a long run around Ft. Snelling.  It was about this time last year that I discovered how wonderful that trail really is.  I thought about running on Pike Island tomorrow too, but have opted to add miles by running around Lake Nokomis and its paved, typically more even, surface instead.  I'm reminded that while it's not Pike Island, Lake Nokomis has it's own beauty.

After the run we'll be picking apples, possibly for the last time ever at this orchard.  (Why can't I find pictures of last year's trip?)  Here's 2007, possibly the last year I put on the blog? and 2006 - look how skinny I was!, that's right when I started running.

Now, isn't that a fantastic song.  MaMuse home page or listen to them on Pandora and Grooveshark.


LINKFEST - what is today - Thursday!

Ok, I have too many tabs open, time to share what I've been seeing.


Long Run Monday - A Beer will fix this...

How'd my day go?  It's ending well.

I went to bed last night planning to get up at 5am (why do I do this to myself?) and do my long run for the week, 12-13 miles.  At 1am or so when I was still awake, those dreams were dashed.  I have a paronychia on one of my fingers and it was throbbing so bad I couldn't sleep.  Ice finally helped alleviate some of the pain.

At 5am, the alarm went off and I vowed to spend quality time at the gym after work before I reset it to allow for the correct amount of sleep.

Around 8:30am I finally dragged myself out of bed and went to work.  (A reminder, my office was closed Thursday and Friday to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.)  I had nine new messages in addition to the six from last week I didn't have time to return.

Next my bosses boss (with whom I get along very well) asks me how old I am (no, seriously) so she can decide if she should set me up with this guy she knows.  Say it with me now, 'a beer will fix this'.  At the end of the day, double boss informed me she was assigning "fix up Liz" as an entire staff project.  (Maybe two beers will fix this?)

I also got a text from my teenager thanking me for being her mentor.  Out of the blue.  Here's the thing about me - when anyone else gets all emotional/touchy-feely/whatever, my own emotions just completely turn off.  No getting emotional or freaked out, no being moved, no reciprocating.  I try to be present to what the other person is feeling and attend to that.  As a social worker, it's an invaluable skill.  In personal relationships, not so much.  (Just ask Chris what happened when he tried to tell me how he felt about me once upon a time.)  I did finally get my sh!t together and tell her I'm glad to be her mentor.  (It has been a blast up to this point.)

At the end of the day, I turned on my cell phone.  I didn't know it could do so many alerts at once.  (Perhaps I should just carry it in my pocket from now on, I never hear it ring.)  The battery was basically dead from all the things my phone wanted me to do; return calls, return texts, look at my Facebook messages, look at the weather, etc.

I plugged the sucker in and called home to wish awesome parent number one a happy birthday.  (Awesome parent number two's birthday is Friday.)  She wasn't home but I left a message with Dad.

Off to the gym for my penance.  I swear I basically did a half marathon at 11:00-12:00/mile pace.  The workout was a real ass-kicker.
  • Step 1: 6 miles of sprints.  Which means 2 laps (or 1/3 of a mile) running at a faster than 5k pace (which for me is still pretty slow), then 1 lap (or 1/6 of a mile) walking.  Repeat.  My body moved 6 miles at what averaged out to be a 12:10 pace which tells you the running was pretty fast.  My body sprinted a total of 4 of those miles.
  • Step 2: Go find an elliptical.Nope - not that one.  The first elliptical I had, I didn't like.  I got off it right away.  There are a couple where the resistance is set really weird.  Like, I had it set to a level and resistance that would be super easy on any other machine and I was about dying on that one.
    Go find a better elliptical.  Check!
    Now stay there until your body has moved for an hour, then check mileage.  After an hour and a couple minutes, I'd done another six miles.  I re-signed out the elliptical for another few minutes to complete the last mile.
  • Step 3: Back to the track for that last .1 mile and a stretch.

After that, I realized it was 9pm and I both hadn't had dinner and didn't want it.  But I badly needed something with some carbs.  Say it again now, 'a beer will fix this'.  There's a liquor store conveniently located across the street from my Y.  (Seriously.)  So I paid them a visit.  I also had to stop at Walgreens on the way home.

Then I calculated my calories in versus out for the day and learned I can eat another 1,000+ calories because I didn't eat too much crap earlier and I worked my tail off at the gym.  I don't think I'll get all 1,000 in today.  But seriously, a beer will put me much closer to my goal.


Fun with the parents: Day 3

All the times I've said "I'm soooo tired" will now be explained.

This morning I woke up at 5:40am before the alarm clock.  Ooops.  It's worth mentioning at this point that I dread so much waking up that I finally took Chris' advice and bought one of these things because it feels less violent than an awful buzzing/ringing/vibrating/oh-my-god-make-it-stop that normally wakes me up.

When I woke up 20 minutes early, I took it as a good sign.  I got dressed and headed out for a seven miler.  It was a productive run.  I'm getting better at running up on my toes, although still not good enough to do it for the big day.  It's harder to tell how fast I'm moving when I'm up like that too.

I got back and insisted on a big breakfast because I had a hike around Pike Island in mind for the family.  

That may be the Minnesota River there.  I get confused about what is where down there.

This was easily the nicest day of the trip (oh, look, sunshine!) and Pike Island did not disappoint.  It was hilariously difficult to convince Mom that the trip from Minnehaha falls down that awesome trail to Island is actually down hill ("it doesn't feel like we're going down") although I think she believed me once she saw what we had to walk back upI'm sure I've mentioned this route before.

It was actually a big day up at the fort.  There were people dressed up as old school soldiers with big guns and drums and the whole deal.  At the top of the hill, we stopped and enjoyed the awesome view.
The pictures of the view didn't turn out so well, but I'm trying to teach my parents how to take a self portrait with the three of us.  They're getting better but not quite the prowess of Amanda and my pooky bear.  (Maybe I should have a nickname like that for Amanda.)

It turns out that was a six mile hike so my mileage total for the day was already up to 13.  (My feet hate me.)

Time for lunch and back to Birchwood we went.  My parents really like it.  I like that it's actual food.  Om nom nom.

After lunch, we went to the Sculpture Garden, a request of Dad's.
I'd never been to the Sculpture Garden before because for the longest time I didn't understand that it was free and not requiring a ticket from the Walker.  Here we are, not climbing on the exhibits, in one of the double mirrors.

The day just didn't quit.  The sun was out, making for some great sites and great pictures.  I tried to tell my parents that if there's one thing that everyone around here can identify as being just, Minneapolis, it's the cherry.  They didn't understand.  (It's like the Space Needle I said.  That seemed to help.)  Here's some of the obligatory pictures.

The rest of the sculpture garden was great.  There were flowers, kids climbing on things, and some art.
There's also a bridge from the sculpture garden over to Lorring Park.  (I'm sure at some point I've mentioned I'm afraid of heights.)  I went with Mom because I knew there was no way Dad would ever get near the steps, let alone the real bridge.

After this, I was getting hungry again although my parents thought it was odd that I'd ever want food again.  (Which one of us ran 7 miles by 7am again?)  Just shows me that my metabolism really does speed up for some time after a run.  Mmmm.  Food.

Mom actually wanted to start the trip tonight to make the drive home shorter for tomorrow.  I was a little bummed they left, and even more bummed when my brother tried to call us and missed them.  I just talked to them and they're staying the night in Black River Falls and should have about a 10 hour drive (that I'm sure they'll stretch into 11 or 12) tomorrow.

Tomorrow I may or may not offer support to the St Paul runners as they do their 20-miler.  (We're on different training programs obviously because I have an entire month to taper and they only get 3 weeks.)  They may have found a path where my encouragement is not needed.  WAY TO GO RUNNERS! just in case.

Fun with the parents: Day 2

It's still at night and I'm still stone tired.  Here's what's next:

Day two of the parents visit was Friday.  Friday morning I had an alarm clock fail.  I seriously meant to get up and run.  I'd set my alarm for the correct time on the wrong day.  So I slept in.  My parents protested my eggs and toast (and bacon!) breakfast and had yogurt and cereal and stuff.  I had yogurt, granola and fruit which is my preferred breakfast at work.  The we headed off to St. Paul.

First stop of the day: Como Conservatory which is always a must see when the parents come up. 

Amanda drug herself out of bed (after apparently working like 10 shifts in a row or something) and joined us.  After the conservatory we headed out to the zoo.  It was still the grayest day ever, much like the day before it.  Some of the animals were out but some were inside.  We saw the baby giraffe.  (Too cute!)  The new polar bear exhibit looks fantastic.  Sadly, that one bear still paces back and forth in a mildly psychotic manner.

After the zoo we went over to Cat Man Do for lunch.   Mmmm.  I highly recommend the mo-mos.

Amanda bailed at this point because she'd already spent some quality time at MOA recently.  So off we went.  (My poor dad.  Why didn't we take him home first?)  My parents watched some online video about this self-healing method last night (we are so not normal) so Dad went to the book store and got the manual.  (No, seriously.)  He read that (and I presume he practices too) while we shopped.

Mom and I got coats at Marshall's.  I got a change purse for me and a second purse that Mom liked but would never think to buy for herself at another store.  (And so goes the first Christmas purchase of the year.)  Then, the shopping trip also becomes a blur.  We tried some stuff on at Old Navy but didn't purchase.  We also tried on a ton of stuff at New York & Co but only bought belts.  We hit the mother load in DSW shoes.  I got a cute pair of work shoes (they have a wedge) and mom got two pairs of shoes for herself.  By that time we were about done and we headed up to meet Dad.

Both of their cell phones were dying (meaning their batteries wouldn't hold a charge) so I insisted on a trip to my phone store to get new cell phones.  They upgraded from the old school Nokia (you know the one) to flip phones.  They're actually nicer because the buttons are bigger.  Except the navigation square button, that ones harder to hit and it's fairly important.  It's a miracle they haven't called China and the police at the same time.  (I'm just waiting for that bill.)

And then, as with all the other days, we were all too tired to move.  Dad's reward for letting us shop was to go home and watch sports.  (Still can't believe Marshall blew that game.)  We ordered delivery from Pizza Luce.  (I need to take advantage of the fact that I'm within their delivery area by about one block.)  They had pizza and I had salad.  Yum.

About that time, my eyelids started to close of their own volition.  Not before I got the alarm clock set properly though! 

Fun with the parents: Day 1

My parents came to see me this week. For the last time they both came, we'd have to go all the way back to 2008 when Dad came up for a law conference and brought Mom just for me. (They're getting better with the shoes.)

Mom and Dad arrived Wednesday night, late, which I'm counting as pre-day 1.

Thursday morning I cooked breakfast (those four eggs looked like six last night) and then we headed out to nature. Dad told me I could take Mom from garden to garden the entire time she was here so that was pretty much the itinerary.

Garden number one was Lyndale Park. We walked through the Rose Gardens and were heading over to the Peace Garden. The Minneapolis Hiking Club was getting a tour and the guide invited us to join. It was actually very interesting. I learned a lot about my parks.

Sadly, it was the grayest day ever and the mosquitoes were swarming. A lot.

Next we headed to the co-op to purchase provisions for the week. My parents and I have very similar sensibilities about food but also some notable differences. (My favorite is Mom buying organic milk for the happy cows on the carton but buying conventional yogurt and willfully forgetting those cows are less likely to be happy.) We did pretty well, and they both found some stuff they can't get in Cincinnati due to lack of natural foods stores there.

I feel like we did something for lunch, like I cooked but I can't remember what that possibly would have been. I know I ran out of plates at some point though.

After lunch Mom and I went to Ikea. I got non-stick tongs. My pooky bear will tell you those weren't allowed to exist in Minnesota for several years. I also got a bath mat and some new kitchen towels. I got Mom and new rug for the kitchen and she got some other stuff too.

My parents birthdays are both next week. To celebrate, I took them to the Birchwood for dinner and awesome dessert. Then we got rush tickets to The Scottsboro Boys which was fantastic. I really liked the music. It's, I don't know how to describe it, but 'light and fluffy' would be incorrect. Just so you know. Fantastic music and singing.


I am too tired to move for reasons that I'm sure will be explained in a later post, accompanied by pictures.  For now, it's Saturday night and I'm sitting on my couch fighting off sleep.  I'm not running tomorrow but may get myself up early to go cheer on some friends who are doing their 20-miler this week.  In honor of my tiredness, let's look at some websites.


LINKFEST Sunday Monday!

  • Turns out kids these days aren't so bad, unless you're an old grouch who wants them to be.
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques for endurance runners.  Perhaps I should try these again before next month.
  • Today is the last day of the fair, here's all the food you missed.  Except Amanda and I who ate to win while we were there.
  • Speaking of the fair, I can't believe this story made it all the way to MSNBC.  It's funny they picked a non-Somali Muslim for the photo of that story.  (Of course they did...)  The Muslim community in Minnesota is overwhelmingly Somali refugees.
  • Who downloaded iTunes 10 so far?  I did and I agree with many of the things written here.  For example, did the icon really need to be changed?  Did you really need to loose all of the color in the UI?  Why did you make the buttons go from horizontal to vertical? (Thanks for the fix on that one, already taken care of.)  I do like the new volume button.
  • More light rail for Minneapolis?  Where would we be if there wasn't construction on some road near my neighborhood.  The other line they talked about, the midtown line, I assume would replace the 21 bus route, and is badly needed.  (The 21 is an adventure at best but a very important line.)  I can't think why that would be county and not city land though, unless the county helps maintain Lake Street.
  • just a little fun to brighten your day.
  • Here's the obligatory political bullet:  Governor Pawlenty (our current governor) appears to be gearing up for a 2012 presidential run (as a republican)Here's what the polls say.  (I live in the biggest city in the state, work in the capital city, and the international airport is in between the two.  I don't want a presidential candidate from my state right now.) 
  • One of the possible reasons Governor Pawlenty is not so popular right now? Because all the nurses said so(Full disclosure - my job has something to do with contracts that are funded by Medicaid dollars so I was all for taking the extra federal dollars too.)


A run I should try to remember, but I'd really rather forget

Today was my last 20-miler before the marathon and my training schedule said do 22 or 23.  Originally I'd planned just over 21, but it was going to require an extra bit of Lake Harriet at the end.  Through some interesting running, I did the extra bit of Lake Harriet earlier in the run and made the run 22.75 miles.  Ooops.

It was not a good run.  (Last year's last long run was so bad I couldn't even bring myself to write about it.  I'm experiencing a similar sensation.)  Here's how it went:

500am - wake up gently.  Pack food.  Find reflective gear because it's still dark outside.

530ish - go for a run.  It was really dark on some of the side streets in the beginning.
Lake Hiawatha - oh, look, this is where ALL of the Canada Geese in the whole state sleep.  They're all still asleep and I'm out here running.

Lake Nokomis - I'll run around the lake opposite of how I usually do so I can be on the bridge for sunrise.  Phenomenal.  The fish were jumping.  Mist was rising off the lake.  Other than the fish, water was still as glass. 

Minnehaha Creek - one of my favorite places to run. I felt like I started running too fast but looking at my pace I wasn't.  It's hard to tell from my iPod.  The path under 35W is paved.  (It's the only thing under 35w that is paved.)  The path on the other side of Lyndale has been blocked to repair a pedestrian bridge over the creek.

So I was delighted to find all the gates open and nothing blocking my once normal path.  Until I got to the bottom of the hill and most of the way through what was clearly still a construction zone that some goober left open for the holiday weekend.  And found the fence on the other side that hadn't been left open.  I climbed it.  And cut both hands in several places.

Lake Harriet - I'll just run the second lap now because later it'll be crowded.  That lake is always the most crowded of the three over there.  At the top of the lake after my second (sort of) lap, I checked the time and refilled my water bottles.  And didn't even remember to give myself some time for climbing the fence.

Lake Calhoun - Damn, why did I drink so much water at that last stop.  The run was actually going really well until that moment.  And that was the end.  Luckilly, the lake is well equipped, shall we say.

Lake of the Isles - I hate this lake.  This is where the running/walking began.  It's really not such  a bad lake.  I'm making peace with it, slowly.

Lake Calhoun - here were are again.  Thank god for plumbing.  This is not fun.

Lake Harriet - last time, I swear.  This is about where I threw in the towel but I knew I'd hit the 20 mile mark in a ridiculous and painful way.

40th Street - I did run up that one hill, just practice for marathon day when the hill does come at about that mileage.  I ran down the other side of that hill too.  Then I started walking for serious.  And threw in the towel for serious.  My body hates me.  (It'd probably like me better if I'd given it more water during the run.)

Ice Baths - I'm getting the better at the scream as I submerge myself.

Food - what food.  My stomach still hates me.  I had popcorn.  And coffee.  Mmmmm, coffee.  Later, Steve and I went to Chipotle and had a lovely afternoon.  How much does my body hate me?  I couldn't even finish the burrito.  The rice and beans usually calm my stomach right down.

Why does my apartment smell like tomatoes?  Oh yeah, all the heirloom tomatoes I bought for soup.  I made soup.  It's really good.  I can't tell if it's the tomatoes or if I just know what I'm doing now.  I hope it's not the tomatoes because they were expensive as all getout.  And how, exactly, do you core an heirloom tomato?

On the food front, I think I'll be making up most of those 3,000 calories I burned tomorrow.  Eggs, bacon, spaghetti.  Hmm, sounding better, still don't want to eat it though.

Long Run Sunday - a musical edition

I did a long run today.  I'm sure there will be a more in depth post about the run (can't tell you how excited I'll be to relive that) but for now, here's an update on my running playlist.  Last night I spent some time making a playlist of songs I like and wanted to hear today.

Here's some of the highlights:

  • Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy!. Such a great song. I wish it was a duet and it was a girl singing the chorus. That would just make it hotter than it already is. That's how I imagine it in my head.
  • Usher - Yeah!. I always imagine this from Hitch! when Will Smith tries to teach Kevin James how to dance.
  • U2 - Mysterious Ways. Don't know why, just felt good.
  • Because It's Not Love - the Pipettes. Thanks to Chris for alerting me to this group.
  • Peter Gabrial - Solsburry Hill. This song is in 7-4. Except at the end of each chorus (or is it verse?) there's 2 bars of 4-4. I like to count in my head when I run, it helps me pace myself and I count in fours. So the song being in 7, not so helpful. But it's such a good song. I also can't run to songs in 3-4 or 3-6. Same reason.
  • Martina McBride - Happy Girl - and at that point in the run, I still was.
  • Madonna - Cherish as I'm running over the bridge on Lake Nokomis, at sunrise, with mist coming off the lake. Gorgeous.
  • The Killers - Human. Have I mentioned this song before? I feel like I have.  The Killers is the group that sings "All These Things That I've Done" which has the line that goes "I've got soul but I'm not a soldier", possibly the soundtrack to the Beijing Olympics.
  • Ke$ha - Tik Tok, also known as the soundtrack to Ragnar Relay 2010. Boom.  The party don't start 'till I walk in.
  • Jimmy Buffett - Volcano. I love it. Such a good beat.
  • Elton John - Rock Me When He's Gone, probably one of the oldest songs on the playlist, also one of the best.


It's funny, I got my blog up and forgot what I wanted to say

Marathon training is coming to a crescendo.  And fall is coming to town!

(Blogger got a new post editor and I'm not such a fan. Whoa my god, now it's warning me my html tags aren't closed. Calm the freak down.)

Wednesday something unexpected and very welcome happened that brings a good omen for marathon weekend.

(Seriously not liking the new text editor.)

Thursday was a super busy day at work. I know there was a translator for at least one of the things that had to happen. I actually left work early due to immense pain. And came home and took some strong pain killers. That got rid of the pain. And then made me toss all my cookies. Sadly, I'll never be able to eat this dish again. It wasn't the dish itself that made me sick, seriously, it was the pills. And it was really good. (I'm finally understanding why Amanda had strong feelings towards Chipotle after she tried to kill me with alcohol that one night.)

Friday, you guessed it, back at work. I had two home visits and a meeting so I was uber-busy. Usually by the time Friday afternoon hits, I am so exhausted I just want the work week to end. So I rarely make plans for Friday night. (Kind of lame.) Friday was no exception.

Saturday morning (that's today!) I woke up and made an entire pot of coffee for myself. (32oz vs the regular 16oz I usually make.) Hey, it's the weekend. Looking back, that could have been a mistake because my tummy was less than thrilled. But I was totally wired and got laundry and some cleaning done. I read for a while and then headed out for a quick five miler.

I ran at Lake Nokomis and it was busy although nowhere near as busy as I'd imagined it being on Labor Day weekend. I realized last Wednesday as I ran my awesome run that I had barely run at Lake Nokomis at all in August, possibly not even once. This is the first time probably since the winter that I drove to the lake and did a short run around it. (Brings back memories and makes me look forward to this winter... Wait. Did I just say that?)

After the run I went grocery shopping and really should've weighed the heirloom tomatoes before purchasing. This is going to be expensive soup. But soooo good. Especially since I can't eat beans again. Ever. I'm saving the actual cooking for tomorrow or the next day.

I made some pasta for dinner. I agree with all of my cousins who say pasta (spaghetti) is the best pre-race/basketball/soccer/whatever-the-sport food on the planet. Yum.

I'm also trying to meditate a little more. I find I like the way my body feels. It's like a buzz without the beer (or pain killers) and without the ill effects those substances cause. I also find I sleep better and I'm more relaxed when I'm awake. Which is fantastic.  I've discovered there's about a million podcasts on meditation, mindfulness, guided imagery, etc. There's also some iPod apps but I'll stick with the free stuff for now.

Oh, now the text editor is working right.  For a while it wasn't behaving correctly when I hit return/enter (whichever it is on your keyboard).  Nope, not working again.  So fussy.

The plan for tomorrow is one more long run followed by an awesome month of tapering.  Mom and Dad come up this week for a visit too so I've got a list of activities for their consideration.  Most of them involve being outside but Ikea and MOA are also featured on the list.  I'm going to meditate more now so I sleep well and have a good run tomorrow.


Is it time for bed yet?

Is it time to sleep? Because I am soooo tired.

Last night Team:Work ran 2.2 miles doing week 2 of the Couch Potato Plan. After this it starts getting more complicated, harder to lead the sessions because I have to keep careful time. We had one new person join and one person who hadn't come in a while came back.

This morning I drug myself out of bed at 5:15 (swear) to go run. It's dark at 5:15am now, who knew. I did seven miles and it was one of those runs where my brain kept saying, "faster" and my body kept actually going faster. (Kind of nice not to have to pace myself for five hours of running.)

Then I showed up at work for a super busy morning. The office actually closed early for Staff Appreciation day and the bosses served us lunch. (Thanks again.)

For the afternoon, I headed over to Kohl's for some retail therapy. I discovered that when shopping alone, I am good at picking out certain items. Pants I can always do alone, very simple shirts and blouses (the kind I wear every day) I'm great at. Everything else is too hard for me to shop alone. I like it when someone else is there to say, "oh Liz, you can wear that with...." and give me more advice like that. Otherwise I don't branch out. Nonetheless, I had a good trip. I got three (or was it four?) shirts, two pairs of earrings and a pair of sunglasses. Win! for Kohl's for having earrings clearly marked as "surgical steel" and "nickel free" so I could actually purchase a pair or two.

After that I headed over to REI where I was complimented for bringing my own bag and actually having my membership card. Sadly, REI was out of my normal Gu packs. I bought a different brand which I'd had once before. I have one more 20 miler and maybe one or two other runs where I might want Gu. I also got a few more packs of Chomps which I love but don't fill me up quite the same way gel does.

Ever since then I've been home trying to convince my body that anytime before 9pm is too early for bed. My body and I are still in negotiations. I think I may loose...