update

I’ve been meaning to sit down and write for months now. Seriously, months. As I’ve pondered this whole blogging thing, I’ve asked myself why I want to blog. People have different reasons, but for me, it comes down to chronicling my life. There are so many funny, crazy, overwhelming things that happen that I want to remember.

So I’m back.

Since we last met, quite a bit has happened. But I’ll just give you the highlights. (That’s not a promise to be short, just that I’m leaving out lots.)

We moved to a new apartment. Not stressful at all. :/ Who knew it could be 85* at the end of October?

We moved to a new apartment. Not stressful at all. :/ Who knew it could be 85* at the end of October?

We did the Color Run 5K in Charlotte! It was SO fun. Everyone needs to do it at some point.

We did the Color Run 5K in Charlotte! It was SO fun. Everyone needs to do it at some point.

My brother and sister were there along with a bunch of our friends.

My brother and sister were there along with a bunch of our friends.

Seriously, so fun.

Seriously, so fun.

I did a photo shoot for my cute nephews. They already look bigger.

I did a photo shoot for my cute nephews. They already look bigger.

cox

And I did a photo shoot for this cute family.

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I got to hang out with some cool kids when my bff came into town for a week.

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We celebrated Christmas with lots of these dark chocolate covered peppermint jo jo’s. I loved them so much that I wanted to document them. Don’t judge.

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We also celebrated Christmas in style.

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I had a merry birthday with a wee party in our new place.

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Even my photos got in the spirit of things!

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We rang in the New Year with games and friends. 5 hours can fly by when you have Mexican Train.

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We finally got some snow. This snow bunny loved it. Don’t let her face fool you.

I got bangs! Maybe you're unaware, but this is a monumental occasion in a woman's life. And apparently they are butt holes when it comes time to grow them out. There's your PSA.

I got bangs! Maybe you’re unaware, but this is a monumental occasion in a woman’s life. And apparently they are butt holes when it comes time to grow them out. There’s your PSA.

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We celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary in Boone and Blowing Rock. We got to play in some snow there, too.

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You can never really get the mountains out of your blood. They’re always calling.

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We had an AMAZING dinner at the same restaurant, in the same table (!) where we had our first date 9 years ago. I would’ve taken a picture of my ahi tuna steak, creamed kale, and jasmine rice and Brian’s meat loaf with Cheerwine barbecue sauce, creamed potatoes, and asparagus but the lights were too dim. Besides, some memories are best left tucked away in your heart. (I’m talking about the meal. Seriously, so good.)

So there you have it. Thanks for reading, if you made it this far. 🙂

ProCompression socks deal

So I know I haven’t been posting about it, but I’ve still been running my 1/2 marathon training plan pretty consistently. I did take a week off here and there for vacations and trips. But I’ve kept up the longer distance runs and built my way up to about 6.5 miles. I’m loving that I can run for over an hour and still feel good, but I think I’m going to switch to a plan that will help me run faster.

One of my favorite ways to recover after a long run (besides a yummy chocolate protein shake) has been wearing compression socks. They compress in the right areas and keep the blood flowing so you can recover faster. I don’t wear them while I’m running, but I know long-distance runners swear by them. And they’re great for anyone who is on their feet a lot, flying, or just wants to keep the blood moving in their lower legs.

Anyway, ProCompression is having a sale on their Marathon Socks! Thanks to SkinnyRunner, use the code GARMIN at checkout and get 40% off plus free shipping.

I have this pair of orange socks and love them. Anytime you can find compression socks for $30 or less, it’s a good deal. And if you buy a pair with that code, you’re also entered to win the Garmin 10.

Next I want a pair of compression shorts. You know, to help the hammies be strong and stable.

Sometimes I feel like a wet noodle when I run.

it’s friday

(Now that song is in your head. You’re welcome.)

I kept meaning to blog this week but ran out of steam/time everyday. My apologies. We’ve had a full week. I’m going to work my way backwards, if that’s okay with you.

Today I had an awesome run.

It was a 45 mi run: 5 blue, 35 green, 5 blue; plus some extra because I decided to run a loop rather than double back. I’m so unpredictable. I don’t even know what the heck I’m going to do until I get to a corner and have to turn left or right.

But anyway, I had a great run. I feel like running in the morning has been challenging for me, feeling empty if it was a fasting run or feeling heavy/tasting breakfast if I ate something first. Today all I had were 3 Clif Bar shot bloks and a few chugs of water. I didn’t realize it until now, but they have caffeine from green tea (I probably wouldn’t have chosen to use them had I realized it… thought it was just a bunch of sugar). They tasted good and I felt great on my run, probably due in part to them.

I did the 4.8ish mile loop in just under an hour and mostly in the green zone (i.e. slower pace). I’m wondering how tomorrow’s run will compare since it will be half green, half yellow.

I also learned some new things about the miCoach app today! If you love seeing a graph and breaking down your run, I think you should definitely give this app a try. Check out the additional notes (shown for my red zone, available for the others as well):

I ran all the way back up the steep hill, trying to maintain <12:00 mile, which naturally put me in the red zone for over 5 min. But I conquered that beast and still felt good.

Compared to last Friday’s run (slightly longer loop):

I also learned that miCoach keeps track of any songs you play (through your music player, not Pandora)! Brilliant! Not brilliant: Britney Spears feat. the Ying Yang Twins somehow always cycles through. Must remove from playlist.

I also added my new shoes to my list so they’re ready for me when I decide to take them out for a spin.

See that middle box? I made that up, I haven’t run 200 miles on a pair of shoes nicknamed BOOM. Just wanted to show you what your shoe boxes look like if you choose an Adidas brand (vs New Balance and Reebok that I have). Neat.

This week’s runs were pretty good. I think I got sprinkled on by various sprinklers at least thrice. It was nice. We leave one week from today for Panama and Guatemala for 16 days and I highly doubt I’ll be able to run there. So I’m kind of bummed and don’t want to loose any stamina I’ve built up. Just crossing my fingers that our hotel in Guatemala has a decent gym with a treadmill since, being the blonde chick that I am, I will not be running on the street alone in either country.

Yesterday I met my seester at some outlets and enjoyed a hot afternoon walking around shopping.

Wednesday was the Fourth and it was fun! We hung out with some friends, had too many watermelon cookies, ate delicious pasta for dinner, and watched some fireworks in our neighborhood. It was quite good!

Nothing happened Tuesday.

But on Monday I got to meet our new nephew, Mordecai!!!

He’s just a bundle of cuteness. So sweet and content.

Uncle Bribri is a natural.

Seriously. Does it get any cuter? He didn’t cry once.

We also hung out with Mordie’s older brother Malachi.

This little punkin head snuggled up to me while we were watching some educational cartoon that I can’t remember the name of and you probably wouldn’t know. He’s a keeper. 🙂

Since we’re leaving in a week, it’s time for me to start the annual gathering of all things mini or trial-size. New to this year’s lineup (thanks to various germaphobic friends and news segments): a small bottle of mattress cleaner.

Perhaps I’ll do an entire post on how to pack for an international soccer tour for those who don’t play soccer but have to go. No one’s blogged about that before, right?

hot night, wind was blowin

I must say, I’m quite proud of my run this morning. It was a 45 min run: 5 blue, 35 green, 5 blue, but I ran a longer loop so my run lasted just at an hour. This is the fastest I’ve run this 5.2 mile loop! I know for some people (ok, most people) this is a mediocre to moderate pace at best, but for me to maintain <12:00 pace for 5 miles is awesome! In fact, for a good bit of it, I was maintaining <10:00 pace! Knowing that the heart rate monitor requires me to slow down going up hills, I’ve been taking advantage of the down slopes and booked it at nearly a 7:00 pace a few times. That’s flying for me!

Instead of just wetting the heart rate sensors like I’ve done up until now, I decided to put some gel on it and it seemed to work fine today.

I felt pretty good today, despite the heat. I left the house before 7:20 and it was already over 80* when I got home. In fact, the hardest part of the run was coming up the 3 flights of stairs to get to our place.

The other day, I enjoyed reading out on the balcony. That wasn’t an option today. I know I’m the fajillionth person to talk about it, but dang. It got smokin’ hot today.

I got my hair done this morning, which meant showering and blow-drying my hair before I went to the salon. So basically I didn’t stop sweating for a couple of hours.

After lunch, I started feeling rather yucky. I had made sure to stretch well after my run and rehydrated like a champ. I feel like most days, after I’ve run more than 4 miles, I just feel yucky. I was even wondering if it was my blood sugar so I had healthy snacks throughout the afternoon. Perhaps it’s a combination of the heat, running, and someone putting a spell on me.

No, not really. But I am enjoying Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. It’s just so creative, the way Rowlings interweaves magical twists into the ordinary.

new kicks

Today’s run was a laid back 35 min: 5 blue, 25 green, 5 blue. It was the first time in a long time (maybe 2 weeks) that I felt good throughout. My legs weren’t heavy, my chest wasn’t tight, and I wasn’t fighting to breathe through the humidity.I did pretty well staying in my zones, only had to stop and walk once or twice just to keep my heart rate down as I went up hills. I probably could have gone longer, but I’ve been trying to stick to my scheduled time lengths and save up for my longer runs–tomorrow I have a 5 miler. The heart rate monitor wonked out on me at the beginning a bit (notice the big jumps in the blue) and as I was sticking my finger on my tongue and lifting my shirt to wet the receptor, a gentleman came running around the corner in time to see me remove my finger from my mouth and stick my hand up my shirt. Nice.

Now you know why I always run with sunglasses on. Eye contact would’ve only made that worse. Plus I think it makes me look pissed off so no one messes with me.

Speaking of tomorrow, it’s gonna be a doozie…

Yoinks! 80’s before 9:00 and 90’s before 11:00! I am not made for the heat, so that means I’m planning on being home from my run by 9:00 at the latest. And for those visual learners among us:

Yowzas. I will be staying indoors tomorrow staying hydrated. Speaking of which, yesterday I posted about some coconut water that I wasn’t a huge fan of. When I picked up that one to try, I also grabbed another bottle of red tea & coconut water.

This one I actually really liked! They had other colors of tea as well, but I avoid caffeine, so red tea was perfect and tasty with a blend of hibiscus and citrus flavors. I liked it so much I actually drank it pretty quickly. I’d definitely buy this again.

This evening B-money and I found ourselves at some outlet stores and I popped into Reebok. I’ve been trying to find a pair of cross trainers to wear when I’m exercising/lifting so that I’m not always having to wear my runners. I had seen some other bloggers’ reviews of Reebok’s shoes for CrossFit and thought I’d try some on.

These were the first ones I tried on and I fell in love. If only picking out my wedding dress had been this easy. They’re the Reebok Yourflex Women’s in gray/pink/orange.

Not the prettiest shot, I know, but I love them. I usually wear a size 6 in every-day shoes and a 7 in running shoes (since your feet flatten out as you follow through your stride). I wanted a pair slightly smaller than my runners so that my feet didn’t slide to the front while doing push-ups or other on-the-toes exercises.

These fit in the length and in the toe box (so my forefoot doesn’t slide side to side). They’re surprisingly light weight, breathable, have a moderate rise, and super cute colors. Plus, probably the best feature, they were less than $60.

I tried on some of the other zigs and “running” shoes, but these were the best. Love. Them.

I guess that means I need to start the next fitness program in miCoach since I finished Base Strength and Flexibility last week. And I guess I should go to bed since I have to run at the butt crack of dawn.

high fiving a million angels!

I am so stoked right now!

I just signed up to do the Color Run! I am SO EXCITED! I was going to do it regardless of who else was going, but it’s going to be even more spectacular because so many of my friends are doing it! I debated not announcing it on here for fear of it filling up before we could all get signed up. But then I realized that even if all 12 of you signed up right away, there would still be slots left. So have at it. And in case you’re wondering what the Color Run is, check out this video.

I’ve been doing about a 5k every time I’ve gone running lately, but some runs are better than others. This last week or so they’ve been on the slow end. The heat and humidity are really zapping me. I’ve been tempted before, but today was the first day I actually ran through some sprinklers. 😉 When I’m feeling good and still have energy, I like to high five the low-hanging branches of trees as I’m running by.

And pretend that I’m Liz Lemon.

Since I was at my parents’ house on Saturday, I decided to run around the lake that I visited so frequently growing up.

It was perfect weather, nice and cool. And it brought back so many mems. I love this place.

This week I’m looking forward to a “cold front” moving through and snapping the humidity. Now it’s time to start putting my outfit together for the Color Run. I already know what top I’m wearing…

meh

Today has been a blah-feeling sort of day. It took a while for me to get my butt moving and go for a run this morning. I used Lola as an excuse for a while, letting her out to play for an hour. She was being extra cute. She even tried to escape and ended up jumping into a big box and startling herself. I had a good laugh.

She often gives me this look, like she’s waiting for me to bring her a dried apricot or banana (her favorite treats) and/or bring her Bribri so she can do the love dance around his feet. I often respond by reminding her that I own her and her box that she lives in.

But she just did a lot of this after she realized she couldn’t escape the den.

And I imagine this is what she was thinking.

Anyway, I eventually got my butt in gear and went out for an easy 30 minute run: 5 min blue, 20 min green, 5 min blue. About 7 minutes into it, at the bottom of the giant hill, I was hit with a wall of mist. It kind of unnerved me at first (thank you Hunger Games), but it also felt nice (once I realized it wasn’t coming from a living being nor poisonous), like running through the mist machines at Coke World. It did that a few more times on my run, but never actually rained on me. Good thing, too, because there’s no way I could sprint back up that hill and make it to safety before my iPhone got destroyed by a downpour.

There is an intersection along the route that I ran today and I always choose a different way to go. Well, being in the funk that I was, I still hadn’t decided which way I wanted to run (it’s a giant loop, so really it doesn’t matter) when I arrived. But then I saw something run by and I had to follow to make sure I actually saw what I thought I saw.

It took me a few minutes to catch up while maintaining my green zone so I really wasn’t sure what I saw. Yup! It was a gray-haired lady running! (Yes, I’m creepy, but I had to take a quick pic for proof.) I was so impressed and inspired, it made it worth the run today!

And, as you can see, my heart rate monitor flat-lined me again! I don’t think the hr monitor reconnected after I paused the app to take the picture… I’m going to email Adidas about this. And I actually expect a prompt and helpful response. Brimuscle has had great experiences with their tech support over the past couple of years so I’m not too worried.

When I was headed home and back up the hill, this nice girl ran by me, headed up the hill too. At this point I was just jogging, not necessarily trying to get home quickly. But she was going faster and made it look easy. So I thought I’d try to keep pace with her. Oh boy. She was running a sub-9:30 min/mile UP the hill. I’m doing good when I keep it around 12:00. I made it about half way before I thought I was going to pass out. It was fun, though, being secretly competitive. And when I got to the straight-away where the road leveled out, I booked it (she was long gone at this point).

See that 6:13? That’s how fast I was running. Sub 7:00min/mile! Granted it was only for about 30 seconds. And see that 185? That was my heart rate. Pretty sure it was a few beats away from exploding. It’s surprising how I can maintain a 179-180 bpm, but jumping to 183-185 bmp is killer. (Definitely hyperbolically, probably literally.)

You know what is a self-esteem booster? When you walk in the door from running and your husband asks if it was raining. Nope.

run and paint

🙂 I just had a happy moment because I remembered that we are going to YoPop tonight! Lots of froyo shops may be sweeping the nation, but nothing beats YoPop!

🙂 I managed to get all of my exercises done this morning before 9:30.

😦 It was raining so I had to run on the treadmill.

🙂 There are no hills on the treadmill.

😦 The GPS screwed me over and somehow I ended up with a terrible score.

Lesson learned: You can’t turn the GPS on/off after you’ve started your workout. So make up your mind before you get going.

And somehow, the heart rate monitor was messed up again. It was working fine while I was running. But apparently it didn’t record properly once I got inside. Despite the technical difficulties, I had a decent run and felt like I could have run longer than 15 minutes in yellow.

🙂 I got a lot of work done and by 4:00 I pulled out my paints. Today it was water colors.

🙂 Lola was posing for me today, so I painted her real quick.

🙂 This is what we call the duck bun:

🙂 And I had fun with some washi tape.

I have really enjoyed painting lately. If you can’t tell. 😉

the weekend, part 2

I got up early again on Sunday (I know! What was I thinking?) to run before the heat set in. I wanted to try running on an empty stomach. Since I knew it was a fairly short run, without too much intensity, I thought I’d give it a try.

My legs felt heavy and I had an unusually hard time getting my heart rate up at the beginning. I know your heart rate is lowest first thing in the morning and thought that may have had something to do with it. But I felt like I was working hard and hadn’t even made it into the blue zone! (Blue = 3 out of 10 effort.) I also wet the sensor, thinking maybe somehow it wasn’t registering properly. Even though I had a hard go at the beginning, eventually my legs woke up and I felt better.

In the graph above, you can see I even managed to keep my bpm steady(ish) while climbing the last hill up to my house. I had to really pay attention to do that…

I was so glad I got my run out of the way early because that left me the rest of the day to get on with my next project!

Taping a giant canvas! Seriously, though, I was so sick of it I nearly didn’t finish. I spent at least 6 hours just taping. (I followed the instructions here. And apparently we had similar thoughts on colors!)

At this point, after I had painted several coats, I found myself a little nervous to peel the tape…

And when I started to peel, my fears were confirmed.

Fortunately (for me) you can’t see the details in this and how the paint leaked under the tape. Lesson learned: when using a canvas with deep texture, invest in better tape (like frog tape). Also fortunately, acetone nail polish remover helped me clean up the bad spots and I tried not to be such a perfectionist about the rest. I left it to dry overnight so I could hang it today.

When I got up this morning and checked on my plants, I found this little guy blooming! I really need to move this zucchini to its own box…

After getting some work done and going to the travel clinic this morning, I got my lift on with this little bad girl.

This is still one of my favorite stretches:

A few minutes into the stretches, my workout buddy had given up…

After dinner, we got the canvas hung on the wall! Since we’ve been married, we haven’t ever gotten real bedroom furniture, that money was always allocated to furnishing other parts of the house. So, in lieu of buying a bed frame with a headboard, I painted one. 🙂

Pardon the white balance, the iPhone can only do so much. Even though it took forever, I’m glad I did it. One step closer to a grown-up bedroom! 🙂

And here’s a view with the rest of the room:

The bed skirt, curtains, and painting are much closer in color than they appear here. Blame the tungsten light. Now I want some big fluffy yellow throw pillows and a chaise lounge. And some legit night stands. And a gentleman’s chest. 🙂

Arnold Palmer, on the rocks

Today’s run was my long one: 5 min blue, 35 min green, 5 min blue. I ended up running for just over an hour, though. I was actually looking forward to this run because I’ve found a route that I enjoy and I tend to feel better the longer I go. I was even more excited when Brimuscle said he would run with me today! We ran a slightly different loop than I normally do because I wanted to be sure I made it past the 5 mile mark without having to double up somewhere.

I discovered a few new things on the micoach website today. If you drag the blue slider left to right, it gives you the break down of all your stats for that exact second. I was watching the calories-burned numbers and noticed they ticked by much faster the higher my heart rate was. (Duh.) So, obviously, if you’re trying to burn calories, you need to work harder. I’ve been guilty of just taking it easy on the elliptical or zoning out on the dreadmill. You gotta put in the effort if you want to see change. (I’m saying this as much to myself as I am to whoever is taking the time to read this.)

I also discovered I can name my routes and save them. See the compass symbol in the top right of that window? I liked today’s route so I saved it and named it Arnold Palmer. It’s one of my favorite drinks and I heard he was a good golfer. 😉

After we got back I plopped down on the ground and stretched for a few minutes. This picture does not do the rosie-ness of my cheeks justice. Seriously, I looked like I’d used beet juice as sunscreen.

I’m thinking I need to go to the chiropractor soon. It’s been over a year since my last visit and I’m pretty sure my hips are out of place again. I lean more on my left side and my left knee has been aching. When my hips (which go out easily, apparently) are out, it also makes the muscles in my neck tense so I’m prone to headaches. Yep, I’ll be making that appointment soon.

In other news, I found a video that you have to watch. Even if you hate the song, you have to watch. 🙂 I’ve watched it at least 10 times today.

My favorite is the .25second clip of Obama with school kids saying “Hey!” 🙂

And here’s the original in cased you missed it: