Saturday, March 31, 2012

A little advice to college grads… don’t be rude and ungrateful.

This week a friend contacted me inquiring about a company that his girlfriend’s sister had applied to for a job.  He said his gf’s sister was graduating from college and was having trouble finding a job.  Because her degree was related to the industry I work in, I was glad to help out.  Plus I know how hard it is to find a job, and especially for recent college graduates.  They are graduating in a tough and competitive job market so you have to get creative and persistent to find a job. 

I happened to have a friend at the company she applied to so I forwarded her resume along to the right people.  My friend immediately replied giving some information and passed the resume along.  I also responded to the girl (who I do not even know) asking specific questions on what she is interested in and to get more information about her degree so that I could pass her resume along within my company and give her ideas for who else to contact. 

And the response I get from her for taking time out of my busy life to help out someone I don’t know?….. NOTHING.  Not a even a thank you.  It’s been a week and I have not heard a single thing back from her.

This really chaps my a$$.  Obviously she doesn’t really want to find a job and she is clueless as to how to even find a job.  She was rude and ungrateful and has already made a negative impression on me.  If she even does respond to me, I will not respond or help her out.  Why would I want to help someone out that is rude and ungrateful?  Also, if I did help her out and somehow gets a job based on my recommendations…..then her performance reflects on me.  Nope not helping this one out.

College grads, take note…. jobs do not just fall into your lap.  You need connections and you need to be persistent and professional when searching for a job.  If people take their time to help you, show how grateful you are, even if nothing comes of it. 

Friday, March 30, 2012

You’ll thank me for listening to this “Simple Song”

Its been stuck in my head all morning.  But that ok because I think its a great song. 
The Shins will be at Red Rocks in Denver at the end of May with The Head and the Heart…. I must go to this show!  I’m not much of a concert person, but I think this one will be worth it.

I really want to go to that concert because I LOVE The Head and The Heart.  They are from Seattle and their entire album is great.  My favorite song is “Ghosts," check it out:
I found this video of the band and when I picture bands traveling, this is what I imagine they do every time they get in a van together.  This video makes me so very happy. 

I now want to go on a road trip with The Head and The Heart and I love them even more!   I could travel with them and be in charge of the distribution of snacks.  I should contact them and let them know my availability.  They need me, I’d be an excellent addition to their band.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Running with Asthma

I haven’t had trouble with asthma in a very long time (like since I lived in St. Louis 3 years ago).  I haven’t had to use my daily inhaler OR my rescue inhaler in over a year and I have felt invincible!  I even declared myself healed of asthma and never bring my inhaler on runs anymore! 

Then tonight happened…..that little $hit called Asthma decided to come back into my life.  F U asthma and the way you make me feel like someone is sitting on my chest and forcing me to breathe out of straw.  Goshdarnit, I guess I’m going to have to dust off those inhalers and get myself back on the drugs.   
inhalerAnd I’ll have to start carrying that blasted inhaler every time I run.  Inhalers are SO awkward and there is never a pocket that is quite right for them.  I need to make a special inhaler pocket to sew or Velcro into my shorts.  That would make me so cool. 

Maybe the speedwork/hills and all the smoke from all the Colorado forest fires contributed to tonight’s asthmatic episode.  Either way, I feel like a walking turd right now and am disappointed I didn’t get in the workout I set out to do.  In fact my workout was so haphazard; 2 mile warm up, 3X hill repeats, 2X800s, 3X hill repeats.  I figure it won’t make me slow, but who knows if this crazy made-up workout will make me faster.

Now you know.

This is post of all the random things that went through my mind yesterday:

1. I love Game of Thrones and I particularly love the evolution of the Khalessi. 

I also want to go around calling everyone “My Lord” or “My Lady.”  Normal. 

2. I catch myself staring at people in the mirror at the gym.  But I don’t think it is rude because I am not really staring at them, I am staring at the mirror.  Duuuhhhh. 

3. I saw a man walking down the street carrying a stop sign.  What a brilliant man, he can cross the street whenever he wants and can stop cars.  I want my own stop sign to carry on runs so that I never have to stop to cross streets.

4. I see the same woman every day at a bus stop wearing a different head piece based on the most recent holiday.  Before St Patrick's day, she wore a shamrock headband that sparkled and bounced.  Now she is wearing bunny ears.  What will she wear after Easter, what sort of Memorial Day head gear will she wear?!?  I can’t wait.

5. The elevator smelled like a homeless person yesterday.  I thought about how an elevator would be a good place to sleep at night if you were homeless.  You could just tape a sign to it that it was out of order and you would have comfort, peace and quiet all night.

6. People always find it necessary to talk to me in the elevator.  I still don’t want to talk to them.

7. Why are there not zombie animals in the Walking Dead?  Are they immune to the zombie plague?  Or will they appear in the second season?

Now you know why I always have a confused look on my face, I am always thinking about perplexing things that are oh so important. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Progression Run Success

Last night I set out to do a tempo run but decided last minute to try a Progression Run (or my version of a Progression Run).  Again, the beauty of my made up training plan, doing what I want when I want to, without feeling guilty.  I warmed up for a mile and then each mile I tried to go 15 seconds per mile faster than the last mile.  At mile 5, I only did 1/2 a mile at a 6:45 pace and then cooled down with a mile.  I’m pretty proud of myself and how my progressive pacing looked:
progression It's by no means perfect, but it is a start.  It is a fun workout and a nice change to just logging miles or being locked into speedwork at the track.  I definitely think I can do more miles at faster paces next time. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Putting the “Cent” in “The Centsible Runner”

As I was running today, I got to thinking about how I call his stupid blog “The Centsible Runner” but I don’t ever talk about “Centsible” things.  I am interested in personal finance and how to best save money (I love me some numbers!).  I read several publications and blogs about the topic and I use that information to help me save and invest money.  I need to put the “Cent” in the “The Centsible Runner”…. so here I go (yep, this shows you how much of a nerd I am)…..

Jeff and I like to keep our investing and saving pretty simple; we have a Short Term Plan and a Long Term Plan

Short Term Plan- Our Short Term Plan consists of savings accounts and money market accounts to use for 1) our Emergency Fund and 2) short term savings goals. 

When we got married we set up a joint account where we pay our bills from and excess money went to our savings account.  We started to save more and noticed that we weren’t getting much interest on our savings account money, so we shopped around and found a money market savings account through Capital One.  Because we had a credit card through Capital One that earned travel rewards, we decided to open a rewards money market account where we earned interest AND rewards that linked to our Credit Card rewards account.  Pretty cool, we were getting rewarded in two ways for saving!

At first we were just saving to build an emergency fund.  We looked at our monthly expenses and determined a goal emergency fund amount; so if we both lost our jobs tomorrow, we would have enough cash on hand to get us by for 6 months.  In fact, one of us was out of work for part of last year…. but we were able to cut back on expenses and didn’t dip into our emergency fund, but it sure was nice to know it was there.

Now we are continuing to save for short term goals such as; 1) down payment on a house, 2) cash for a car (we will only get a used car from here on, check out THIS ARTICLE), and 3) a future child fund.   When we are ready to quit moving and know we will be somewhere for AT LEAST 5 years, we want to buy a house.  We want to have 20% to use for our down payment.  We also both have cars with close to or over 100,000 miles on them, so we want to have enough saved that if one breaks down we can buy a used car with cash.  Lastly, sometime in the future we want to expand our family but want to both be able to keep working.  Childcare is EXPENSIVE, so we are also saving to be able to put our future kid in daycare without having to make financial sacrifices. 

Long Term Plan- Our Long Term Plan consists of 1) 401K accounts, 2) IRA accounts, and 3) Roth IRA accounts to use for Retirement.  We started early to retire early and comfortably!

We both have 401K accounts through our companies and put at least the percentage that our companies match.  Even in the bad past couple of years we still have a very good amount in our 401K accounts.  We also have IRA accounts that we used to roll over 401Ks from previous jobs (we both have switched companies in the past few years). 

And finally we both have Roth IRA’s that we contribute the maximum amount to each year.  I think that Roth IRA’s are one of the most important tools to your long term savings plan in your 20’s and 30’s (or as long as you are able based on your salary); check THIS ARTICLE out to learn about Roth IRAs, its one of the best explanations of a Roth IRA that I have seen.  I also just learned from THIS ARTICLE that a first time homeowner (or you have not owned a home in 2 years) can withdraw up to $10,000 from a Roth IRA before retirement, without the 10% penalty, for a down payment on a house.  Score one for Jeff and me when we decide to buy a house :)

And I can’t forget to mention our most important savings plan…. feeding loose change to the Piggy…..

IMG_1608 Don’t hate on the Piggy Bank, this little guy gave us spare change to gamble away in Vegas.  By the way, playing blackjack is NOT a good savings plan.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Window Seat for the Rats

Tonight Jeff and I went to the gym to workout because the wind was so ridiculous (up to 50 mph gusts) that we didn't want to run outside.  We lifted, ran 3 miles on the treadmill, and did 10 minutes of water running (because the pool was empty, I couldn’t let it sit unused!).

When we got home Jay and Elle were waiting in their new(ish) window seat.  It took them a few weeks to figure it out, but Jay and Elle now have a place to lounge in the sun while they act as Watch-Rats to protect our home.
Our Denver rental house has a bay window seat that would be prefect for the dogs, but the royalty pooches needed a comfortable place to lay.  So my mom took measurements of the nook and cut a foam pad to perfectly to fit into place (very impressed by her skills).  When she was recently in town, we went to the fabric store and picked out the least girly fabric I could find (seriously, I think they only have feminine floral patterns there).  She made a cover with the fabric that has elastic so I can take it off easily to wash. 

So now when you walk by our house you stared at by the half blind dog (when he is awake) while the black and white runt yaps obnoxiously and throws herself against the window in a fury.  Thanks Mom, you have now made us the house that kids will hate to walk by ;) But the Rats are extremely grateful and are so happy with their new window seat!!

Training Progress and This Week’s Plan

Last week I got in just over 33 miles and I got to the gym 3 times to lift and do core work. 

weekI’m usually a low mileage runner (for past marathons I have only ran 25-30 miles a week), so I’m happy with a 33 mile week leading up to a half marathon.  My body didn’t mind the mileage and it didn’t seem hard at all.  The only thing that got me was the trail run.  My quads haven’t felt like this in forever (like comparable to how they feel after a marathon), but it is a good pain! 

I am also curious as to how lifting will help me.  I want to lift at least 3 days a week, if not more.  I am feeling stronger and starting to increase the amount of weight that I can lift.  It has been nice to have Jeff “coach” me on what and how to lift. 

Because I did not create a specific training plan, it has been fun to take training week by week.  I can adjust my workouts according to what is going on in my life and how I feel.  I’m liking this approach and don’t feel locked in to a specific formula and don’t feel guilty if I am not doing “what the training plan tells me to do.”  It will be interesting as to how I perform race day!

This week I’d like to get in the following:

- Tempo Run, 1 mile warm-up, 4 miles around a 7:00 pace, 1 mile at sub-7:00 pace, cool down

- Hill Repeats, 2 mile warm-up, 8 hill repeats, cool down

- Long Run of 12 miles, last 4 miles at 7:00 pace

- Other 3 days, run and lift; no specific plan on mileage or pace, just run more than 3 miles each run

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Its good to be a Kansan!

The KU Jayhawks are in the Final Four, WOOOO HOOOO!  They beat UNC 80-67 today and looked solid; they are playing much better than anyone expected.  It will be fun to see how they do next weekend.
I didn’t go skiing today.  Conditions weren’t that good and we stayed up a little too late last night drinking and dancing with some friends.  Instead we watched basketball and re-watched Season 1 of Game of Thrones.  Season 2 starts next week and we want to be refreshed on the awesomeness that is the Game of Thrones.  We curled up in the dark basement and were bums all day; it was great. 
IMG_1605Jeff and I did manage to get out and run 4 miles at a 7:40 pace.  We were both pretty sore from all the hills from trail running but it did make the flat bike trails seem soooo easy today.  We also lifted at the gym and soaked in the hot tub.  We then fixed some delicious turkey burgers on the grill with honey balsamic brussels sprouts, grilled asparagus, and homemade french-fries.  YUUUMMMM……
IMG_1607Yep, the above post proves that Jeff and I are a lame old couple that watches TV, works out, and cooks.  Oh well.  We’ll think of something exciting to do next weekend to redeem ourselves.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Saturdays are for Long Runs

Last night Jeff and I went up to Boulder to meet my friends for dinner, it was Lisa’s 30th birthday.  She joined the 30-year-old club and feels really cool now.  We made it an early night because Saturdays are for long runs and bikes.  Jeff and I are running and Beth is going to get in a ride because she just started training for a 100 mile bike race that is in 2 weeks (crazy girl).

We decided to do some trail running today because we are both getting bored of the paved trails and roads by our house.  Plus with it being a long run, the elevation and rocks on the trail will help keep us slow and steady and will work some different muscles.  We headed to Green Mountain and started on the trails. 
Wow, my legs are not used to trail running.  I was sore after 3 miles…… But we got in 9 miles of running and probably 2 miles of hiking/walking.  It was a great change up and I can’t wait to try more trails in the area.
I heard this song during my run and it has been one of my favorites for a while, its by The Killers “I Can’t Stay” off their Day & Age album.  So upbeat and so good to run to!
Tomorrow Jeff and I are headed to Loveland for some skiing so we may not get in a run.  But I want to try to get in some sort of run to get close to a 35 mile week.  We’ll see……

Thursday, March 22, 2012

How not to do Mile Repeats

Tonight Jeff and I got in mile repeats.  This is how NOT to do mile repeats:

milerepeats Your mile repeats should be consistent; obviously I started off too fast and then got slower and slower and slower….. plus after the first mile repeat I thought I was going to crap my pants and had to find the nearest bathroom to avoid this:

runner-poop-pants-500x335My legs actually felt really good, but my lungs were burning and I felt my asthma coming back (haven’t had to use my inhaler in a while, but I sure wish I had it tonight!).  It also might still be the whole adjusting to the elevation thing.  Oh well, at least this leaves me plenty of room for improvement. 

We did the mile repeats at Crown Hill Park and I just watched the good ole Garmin to determine when I got in a mile.  I did pretty good!  I even did a stretch photo shoot after the run with the Rockies in the background, oh how I love the Colorado sunshine (sorry Steff and Jess, I couldn’t help bringing up the good weather here, I sure don’t miss the Seattle rain…..).

IMG_1584 Gosh I am so inflexible.  I really need to work on that.

Rest Day Guilt and the Importance of Recovery

Yesterday Jeff had a work dinner and wasn’t scheduled to get home until late, so we decided to take a rest day from running/working out.  It had actually been 6 days since my last rest day, so I probably needed to give myself a night off. 

But I felt SO guilty?!?  I also felt like I would get behind in my training and that taking the night off would make me slower.  So I just moped around the house thinking about how I should have ran and how I was being such a sloth.  Why does my mind think this way??

To help ease my mind and to remind myself that rest is just as important as hard workouts, I read a Runner’s World Article called “Rest Easy- Recovery is an important- but often neglected- part of training plans.”

This article reminds you to:

Ease up- There are weeks where your times are slower, you feel like you are running with weights around your ankles, and your body is sore.  This means you are most likely overdoing it and your body is telling you to ease up.  Take a rest day.

Refuel- Eat (or drink) some protein and/or carbs 15 to 30 minutes after every run.  I am not usually immediately hungry after a hard run so I typically drink some GU Brew or Nuun in my water or even make a smoothie with some protein powder.  There is also a campaign to Refuel with Chocolate Milk….I’m not a huge fan of chocolate milk, but I will treat myself to an Oreo dipped in regular milk, whoops-a-daisy!

Baby Your Body- After a hard workout or a long, think about an ice bath.  I used to religiously ice bath after every soccer game in college and I swear it helped me recover.  In Seattle, I would wade waist deep in Lake Washington for the same benefits (now I need to find somewhere here in Denver to ice bath it up….).  Also bust out that foam roller to massage those muscles.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Interrupted Sleep

Yet again one of those little dogs woke me up and interrupted my sleep.  I woke up to Jay lapping up water like last night, but it was not near as funny tonight.  Apparently this is a game to him and now he thinks he is so cute that he wants to drink out of cups all the time.  He thinks he is part human or something. 

This morning he tried to drink my orange juice and gazed longingly at my coffee.  UGH, we have created a little drink out of a cup MONSTER. 

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I can’t make this stuff up….

After posting about Elle’s nocturnal habits, I guess Jay felt the need to one-up her. 

Jay is very old, half blind, and has seizures.  But somehow he is the most resourceful dog and pulls incredibly intelligent moves out of his scrawny little butt!  I can’t make this stuff up….

Last night I am awoken to the sound of a drinking dog.  You know the sound, the *lap lap lap* of a tongue lapping up water.  I’m a little confused because the sound is RIGHT. NEXT. TO. ME.  I turn to my left and Jay is standing over Jeff with his paws on the nightstand lapping water out of Jeff’s water cup.  Seriously.
jaywater I am impressed that this little old dog woke up thirsty and A) knew he was blind and can’t jump off the bed in the dark, so he B) remembered that there was a cup of water in the room, and C) was able to drink out of that cup without spilling it.  And that he was self-sufficient enough to not (purposely) wake us up to go to his water bowl!

I’m a proud momma!

Then I learn something even more hysterical (or at least to me).  I was discussing the midnight water drinking incident with Jeff:

Me: Wow, Jay is so smart knowing where to get water in the middle of the night.
Jeff: You know that I taught him that, right?
Me: What?!?  You mean to tell me that you taught an old dog to drink out of your water cup.  That is so weird, but impressive all at once.
Jeff: Well, I got sick of Jay waking me up because he was thirsty.  So when he wakes me up, I give him some of my water.  He must have remembered and helped himself to it.  He is such a stud (proud dad expression).
Me: This is risky, what if he drinks out of it, and then YOU wake up thirsty and don’t know HE drank out of your cup??  What if you drink his slobbery backwash?!?
Jeff:  Oh. (Tonight Jeff will probably take two glasses of water to bed; one will be out of a water bottle with a closed lid.)
Me: But still, that is so hilarious that you taught him to drink out of your water cup.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Elle the Nocturnal Creature

Elle is a strange little dog. 
wheresElleI jokingly refer to Elle as a rat.  If a DNA test was performed and it was confirmed she was a hybrid rat-dog, I would not be surprised.  Not only does she have rat-like physical attributes, but she also exhibits nocturnal behavior. 

Last night I woke up in the middle of the night.  I look over and see Elle sitting on Jeff’s chest staring at him.  It was so weird and really creepy!  I pretended to be asleep and continued to observe her behavior.  She continues to stare at Jeff (who is soundly asleep) and then walks around the bed and stops near me.  I close my eyes so she doesn’t know I am awake; I feel her cold little nose and warm breath on my face!  SOOO creepy!  Then I feel her sit on my pillow and her tail starts whipping me in the head.  What the hell, Elle?!? 

At this point I am trying so hard not to laugh.  She then starts swatting Jeff’s head with her paw like a freaking cat!  I refuse to partake in this little game so I continue to pretend to be asleep.  Now it is just a game of “Midnight Chicken” with Jeff.  Who will “wake” up first?!? 

What do we do, do we ignore her or cater to her nocturnal shenanigans?  If we ignore her, she will either A) burrow back under the covers and go back to sleep or B) get up and shit on the ground.  I vote ignore her and take my chance with shit on the floor in the morning. 

Jeff apparently doesn’t want to chance waking up to shit on the floor and caves to let out the little brat of a dog.  (Honestly, I think he walks in his sleep and doesn’t even know he is letting her out.  He also uses is as excuse to go have a midnight snack.)

Oh Elle, you are so bizarre and super annoying sometimes.  But I still love your little pea head and extra large eyes that pop out of your head.
IMG_0757 So Fast!

March Running Update

I’m pretty happy with how my training is going for the upcoming St Louis Half Marathon April 15.  I still want to get a bit faster to run a sub-7 minute pace, but I have enough time to add more speed workouts. 
march updateI have been getting 25 mile weeks in, but hope to up that to 35 miles for the next few weeks.  After April 15 I will be increasing the weekly mileage for the marathon in June (40-50 mile weeks).  I am typically a low mileage runner, mostly because I get bored easily and do other activities besides running (before it was soccer), so this will be a pretty big change for me.  I hope the hard work pays off! 

Sunday, March 18, 2012

When you are feeling a little down…..

March Madness always results in mixed emotions.  Right now KU just pulled off a win over Purdue, so I am happy.  Before KU’s win, I was a little down because my bracket was not doing so hot.  If your bracket is also doing poorly and you are a little down, take a few moments to watch a talking dog discuss bacon with his owner:

Saturday, March 17, 2012

First 10K, Lucky Laces

I ran my first 10K this morning, a run in honor of a splendid holiday.  I decided last night at 9pm that I would run instead of going skiing with Jeff.  My coworker said his roommate signed up but was out of town, so I saved myself $25 and picked up his pre-paid race number and ran as a 27 year old male by the name of Dallas.

Dallas dressed up for the race and wore a shirt from 2004 St Pats in Rolla, MO in which he “Feared No Beer.”  He also had some nice knee high socks from a previous St Pats run.
stpat10k Dallas had never ran a 10K before and didn’t know how fast to run it.  Plus Dallas was stupid and ran 5 miles last night at a 7:20 pace and drank beer and ate pizza for dinner while watching basketball.  Dallas didn’t expect to feel or do well.
Dallas finished 6th in the 23-29 Male age group (I would have been 3rd in my age group and gotten a metal, that’s what I get for cheating the system). 

I actually didn’t feel all that well and was disappointed that I ran the same pace I ran my last half marathon in.  I definitely want to do another 10K and try to run it at a 6:45 pace or faster.  I will have to do a lot more mile repeats to run that fast..….

Oh I also signed up for the Denver Rock and Roll Half marathon, goddammit.  They had a deal if you signed up you got a discount and a T-shirt….I was a sucker…. and signed up for another stinking Competitor Group race.  But I did sign up as myself and not as Dallas.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Flashback to Costa Rica…..

So I read a post on another blog about a scary moment while biking across the country HERE.  It was a crazy story about her encounter with an unstable Missourian at an Arkansas Ozark campground.  The story got me thinking about my own scary story (though not near as scary as hers).

Flashback to December 2008.  Jeff and I got married………..

wedding ………and headed to Costa Rica for our honeymoon.  We spent the first few days in the middle of the rainforest at the most magnificent self-sustainable luxury jungle retreat, Pacuare Lodge. The only way to get to this lodge is by whitewater rafting (it was in a very remote location, no electricity).  We stayed in a river view private bungalow (best sleeping is by a river, love that sound) and all meals were included (amazing gourmet food).  We relaxed in our hammock, hiked, zip lined, and met some cool people from around the world.  We WILL go back to this place, it was absolutely amazing.

costarica1 After 3 amazingly relaxing days at Pacuare, we got dropped off at the rental car place (Avis) in San Jose.  We got our rental car and a VERY necessary GPS (because we don’t read or speak Spanish and the maps are terrible and the roads are not marked well in Costa Rica) and headed to the west coast of Costa Rica for the rest of our trip.  We immediately got stuck in traffic and then our GPS died.  We pulled over at a well lit Holiday Inn and Denny’s restaurant (we figured this would be safe) to re-group and figure out how to get back to Avis to switch out the GPS. 

When we went back to our car, there were several men milling around the parking lot suspiciously.  We quickly got into our car and headed straight for Avis.  We noticed our tire seemed to be going flat and then we noticed a car following us.  We did not stop and made it to Avis right as our back tire goes completely flat….it had been slashed!  The car following us speeds off as we pull into Avis. 

The Avis man comes out and immediately freaks out and explains how lucky we were.  There had been a string of attacks against tourists in San Jose. The tourist stops and while they are away from their car their tires are slashed.  They get back into their car and are followed until they have to pull over for the “flat” tire.  They are then attacked and have all of their things stolen and left on the side of the road.  Soooo, we were EXTREMELY lucky we made it back to Avis and thank goodness the GPS died!!!!!!!

The rest of our trip was uneventful, but we were definitely on edge the remainder of our vacation.  We were always aware of our surroundings and suspicious of everything.  I guess that is a good thing, but it made it hard to relax.  Regardless, it was an amazing honeymoon!


And we lived happily ever after.  The End.

Correlation Between Runners and Drinkers

I just read an article in Women’s Health about the correlation between exercisers (runners) and drinkers:

womenshealth (source)

This article says that the more people exercise, the more they drink.  They also found that the trend is particularly pronounced in active, educated women.  It discusses the issue into detail, click the above link if you want to read it. 

Interesting.  And now I know that I am not alone when I say that I run hard to be able to enjoy a glass of wine or beer.  With that being said, I keep within reason and am not drinking more than a few drinks at one time.  My crazy binge drinking days are over (or saved for trips to Vegas). 

This also leads me to my wine review of the week.  My mom brought her favorite $4.99 bottle of wine and we gave it a try:

Crane Lake Pinot Noir, 2010

$4.99, Cork, Sonoma, CA


(We forgot to take a picture before we drank it all up)

There is no description on the back of the bottle.  Booorrriiinnnng.  It just has the Government Warning from our Surgeon General telling me that I shouldn’t drink if I get pregnant and not to drink and drive.  Good advice Surgeon General.

Jeff and I agreed with my mom, this wine is pretty good for its cheap price!  It wasn’t too sweet and was not bitter or cheap tasting.  There wasn’t really anything special about it, but for a random non-special night, this is a good wine.  Good recommendation Mom!

I hope everyone has a great Friday and enjoys all the basketball games that going on (c’mon bracket, win me some $$, right now my “gut feelings” about upsets have all been wrong, ugh).  And don’t forget that tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In Honor of the Upcoming Holiday….

My mom and dad prepared corned beef and cabbage for dinner to celebrate St Patty’s Day (early since they leave Friday and we are going out to eat tomorrow).  Mmmmm it was delicious!

pic1I took tonight off from running or working out because my legs were tired.  But I did take the dogs on a 2 mile walk with my dad.  Its always a good idea to take a rest day if you are feeling tired or sore.

Also in honor of St Patty’s Day, my mom taught me how to make Brownie Pops (don’t ask me how these are related, I just decided that eating balls of gooey brownies dipped in candy is a good way to honor St. Patrick).  I’ll do a quick tutorial because it was flippin’ easy. 

1) Make a pan of brownies.  2) Crumble entire pan of brownies into a bowl.  3) Mix 3/4 a can of chocolate frosting with the crumbled brownies.  4) Roll brownie and frosting mixture into balls.


5) Mix half a bag of candy wafers (we chose dark chocolate and mint) with a tablespoon of Crisco. 6) Melt candy wafers in microwave (about 30 seconds). 7) Dip sticks in melted candy and stick into balls (this is so the balls are easy to eat). 8) Put in refrigerator for approx. 15 minutes to harden a bit.  


9) Dip brownie balls into melted candy. 10) Get creative if you want and put other flavors on it (I was very bad at this, mine got really ugly looking). 11) Stick into something (like Styrofoam) to harden/dry standing up (they harden/dry faster if you put them in the refrigerator). 12) Eat all of them, get a tummy ache, and celebrate St. Patty’s day by eating Brownie Pops instead of chugging beer (I will save the beer for the actual St. Patty’s Day).


So easy and so yummy.  Thanks Mom for helping me make these Brownie Pops of delicious goodness!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Just another Tuesday.

After work I had every intention of immediately heading to Crown Hill Park with the family; Jeff and I would do mile repeats while Mom and Dad walked the Rats.  Then Jay decided to have a senior moment.  Well not really a senior moment, more like a “I think I can keep up with my younger sister” moment that ended terribly. 

We were all excited about the 70 degree sunny weather (again) and about heading to the park.  The dogs were going nuts and I opened the door to the garage while chatting with my mom.  Elle jumped from the top stairs to the garage floor; Jay tried to follow, tripped, stumbled and landed on his poor little head!  The loudest most horrible cry erupted from the poor old dog and he immediately starts seizing.  Oh lord, it was awful. 
garageI scooped the poor seizing little Jay off the garage floor and tried to comfort him.  He was still screaming and violently seizing!  He wouldn’t stop so Jeff and I rushed him to the closest vet.  Right as we are pulling into the parking lot, he stops seizing…. we then go into the vet office and he starts walking around like nothing was wrong!  That vet must have some miracle healing powers!!  We go back home (the vet didn’t even charge us for the mystery healing) and he is fine, WOO HOO! 
Jay We leave Jay to take it easy at home (all that screaming and seizing takes a lot out of you) and the rest of us continued to the park according to plans.  All that stress of the incident left Jeff and I mentally drained, so we decided against mile repeats and just ran around the park aimlessly.  I got in 6 miles (and 1 lap around the lake with Elle) at a 7:30 pace. 
We got back home and little Jay was asleep in his bed and still fine (thank goodness).  We grilled our dinner and tried some beer; tonight we had Boulevard Chocolate Ale and some Breckenridge Vanilla Porter. 
grillbeer The Chocolate Ale wasn’t near as chocolaty as I was expecting.  But interestingly, my mom and I did taste more chocolate in it after drinking the Vanilla Porter.  Those two beers went well together.  While we were eating Jay admired his reflection (he does this frequently, this is not a post-seizure symptom).
JayIt was just another Tuesday……

Another Classic Safety Tip Blunder

Take a look at another safety tip that was sent out to my entire company (a coworker forwarded this as I missed it the first time, I need to pay careful attention because this stuff is hilarious!):

take5It appears to be another boring safety tip, but then there is the second to last bullet on how to help protect yourself and your family in five minutes or less.  Not a big deal to some people, but certain groups of people would be offended.  I think this is another case of copying and pasting something from the internet and not fully reading what you are sending to the ENTIRE company.  Or not fully thinking about how different people view certain topics.  Either way it is another classic safety tip blunder that made me laugh.

Last night Jeff and I ran 5 miles at a 7:47 pace.  My legs were stiff and tired so I was not in the mood to run.  But once I got out there in the sunny 60 degree weather it was worth it.

My parents also arrived last night for the week.  They have picked a wonderful week and hope to explore via bike or walking.  My mom and I might also go skiing!  Excited!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

“We’re off like a dirty shirt!!!”

**To make things more interesting on this internet blog thing, Jeff has kindly offered to write a post today!  Enjoy!**
This is the phrase that my uncle Tom O’Brien used to say quite often.  I always remember it because I think it’s a pretty cool and unique saying.  He had many many little sayings that he used all the time and will stay with me forever.  If Barb would be so kind to allow me to “guest blog” in the future, I will share some more.

Tom O’Brien was an avid marathon runner.  He lived in Sheboygan, WI with his wife (Aunt Pat).   Aunt Pat recently moved to St. Louis to be closer to family and resides there still today.  Tom passed away too early, but will forever be remembered by his family and closest friends.  He once told me, regarding running, every time I turn a corner, I think of someone else.  For example, he’d be running down a road, thinking of his wife, he’d turn left on another road and he would think of his mother.  He would then make another turn, and think of one of his foster children. 

Tom loved to run.  He ran several marathons, I’m positive it’s upward of 30, but I need to verify that number.  He would also create his own marathon course, around his house.  He would get up super early, around 3:30am, and begin his 26.2 miles.  He would place Coke cans along the route to help fuel him along the way.  He ran these marathons alone; not for the glory, not to impress someone, not just to say he did it, but he for himself.  He loved to run long distances, he loved to think, and he loved his family.  

So today Barb was telling me about this blog she follows, called “Shut Up and Run.”   It’s a pretty cool saying because there are times when I want to be lazy and just sit around and watch tv or not run.  It helps to motivate me to just shut up and run.  Anyway, it made me think of Tom and his positive outlook on life, and running.  So, next time your getting ready to go somewhere, try out his phrase, it can be fun to use, and contagious. 
With that being said, goodbye Barb’s blog for now, I’m off like a dirty shirt!” - Jeff

Saturday Long Run followed by Soccer!

Jeff and I got in our long run Saturday morning, 10 miles at a 7:43 pace.  We ran the first 6 miles at an 7:55 pace and the last 4 miles at a 7:15 pace (just a bit slower than my goal half marathon pace).  Slowly we are building our mileage base and will get up to 20 miles by June.  Gotta love the long progression of training for the marathon!  The marathon itself is not hard compared to the commitment of training for the 26.2 miles.

Oh I wanted to share my love of Lululemon running shorts.  That place is ridiculously expensive and way over-priced so I try not to go there often, but I found the Lululemon outlet north of Seattle and allowed myself a splurge now and again.  Their running shorts have the most practical pockets on the front inseams perfect for GU.  I wish ALL running shorts had this function!
It was a beautiful day in Denver and we had sunny 50 degree weather.  I enjoyed every mile of the run and felt pretty good.  When we got back from the run we immediately showered and got ready because we were going to the Colorado Rapids game!  Our friend invited us to meet at a soccer pub where you catch a bus to the soccer stadium.  It was actually the Bulldog Supporters Group bus and they were practicing the songs the whole ride there. 
rapids1It was pretty funny hearing a bunch of adults sing out of tune songs about soccer.  It was sort of fun, I have to admit.  We got to the stadium which was east of downtown Denver and had some beers and food at the Bulldog supporters group tailgate.  They had a Cajun theme and their gumbo was pretty good.  They had cool beer on tap and even a few Jell-O shots.
IMG_1508It was a fun group of people!  We got to our GA seats at the north end of the stadium and watched the Rapids beat the Columbus Crew 2-0 in their home opener.
rapids2The Rapids game was really fun and we got meet some great new people.  We will definitely be doing this again.

I do have to admit, we will really miss the Seattle Sounders games.  Seattle is way more into soccer and the Rapids atmosphere was way different than at Sounders games.  It was still a great time but when Seattle is in town, we will wear our Sounders jerseys proudly.

Friday, March 9, 2012

I bucked up and bought a gym membership

I feel like a gym membership is a waste of money.  Especially for me because I spend most of my time running outside.  Against my better (cheap) judgment, I bucked up and bought a gym membership. 

Jeff and I tried the punch card thing ($75 for 20 visits) and liked the concept of not being locked into a membership.  Except we used up the 20 visits in under a month and we were even “conserving” our visits.  The monthly fee at the city rec center is $47 for both of us; so the monthly membership is a much better deal. I also think it is safe to say we will get good use out of the rec center because we really enjoy going there and it has a lot to offer (and our money is going to our city, not to corporate thieves like LA Fitness- I hate LA Fitness….).

Soon I will be bench pressing more than just the bar and will be able to complete 2 consecutive pull ups.  Watch out world, I’m gonna turn my strength from wet noodles to arms of steel.  At this point I would insert some picture with “Strong is the New Skinny” or other motivational poster.  But some of those things make me throw up a little in my mouth.  Instead, I share with you:
Do you have a gym membership?  How often do you use it?

Jeff and I just finished an amazing dinner, tilapia with mango salsa and a side of Caribbean black beans with mango salsa over brown rice.  Um, it was soooo good and so different than anything we have ever made!  It’s really fun trying to make new things.  Hopefully it will be good fuel for our 10 miler tomorrow (maybe the black beans will give us extra acceleration powers?).
IMG_1501KU just lost in the Big 12 Semi Finals, no more KU vs Mizzou :(  Looking forward to March Madness, I have a good feeling that KU will do well this year.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursday Tempo Run

Jeff and I got in a Tempo Run tonight.  We went up to Crown Hill Park that has various running paths; a 1.2 mile inner loop and a 2.15 mile outer loop. 
mapWe started by warming up on the outer loop (2 mi), then did mile repeats (3X), and a cool down.  Here is what the workout looked like via the Garmin:
splits I felt pretty good today and it was good to get in a pseudo speedy run.  It will be fun to do this workout again (probably 4 repeats and progressively add more on as it gets close to June) and track my progress.  We also got to see a pretty sunset.
sunsetI like Tempo Runs because they make me feel fast.  I saw this (below) on another blog I follow, Awkward Engineer, and I totally have sprinted past a radar sign to see how high I could get the number.  In case you were wondering, I could not get the numbers that high. 
Do you like to push yourself in workouts?  Have you ever ran as fast as you could by a radar sign?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Science Says: “Drink Cheap Wine”

Well maybe the NPR article didn’t really say to “Drink Cheap Wine,” but it talks about a new study by Penn State.  This study finds that the “normal” person can’t fully appreciate the subtleties of wine or has the ability to identify it’s nuances like the wine experts can.  So why spend $50 on wine with a great review when you probably can’t tell the difference between that expensive wine and the $6 bottle from the grocery store?  This just reinforces my stand on saving money by drinking cheap wine.

Which brings me to my wine review of the week:

$7.99 (Costco), Twist Off, Italy
The back of the bottle says:
“Fonte al Sole is produced from grapes grown in the beautiful Tuscany region.  This medium bodied, ruby red wine reveals both structure and grace with a fragrant bouquet of plums and spicy hints and a soft, well balanced taste of ripe fruit.”

This definitely sounds like one of those super-taster wine expects wrote the description, and that they are very classy.  They must think the wine is also very classy.

Which made me feel uber classy while drinking it.  I held the glass with my pinky finger sticking out and spoke in a very sophisticated accent all night.  I even wore my eye glasses and read a book by the fire.  It was just great.

I thought this wine was very solid, for the “expensive” price of $7.99.  I was going to save this wine for a special occasion, but I got home the other night and Chef Jeff was using it in one of his recipes.  This gave me an excuse to have a glass.  Yum.  I thought this red blend was a great change to the typical Merlot or Cab Sav (I think I could tell a difference…. but I’m no expert).  I *think* I can identify the spicy hints but yet I can taste the bold fruit more easily.  This is a winner and it makes me feel nice and warm inside.  Or is that the fire I was sitting next to?

What is your favorite type of wine?  How much are you willing to spend?


Have you seen that Family Guy Wheat Thins commercial?

Our friend was visiting and kept pronouncing the city in which we live, “WHheat Ridge” and would chuckle a few minutes.  Then we would all say “WHheat Ridge” and chuckle for a few more minutes.  Now I can’t get WHheat Ridge out of my head.  And I keep pronouncing WH words with the pronounced WH.  WHhat? WHhere? WHho? 

(Gosh darn you Bosone and your WHheat pronunciation.)

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

How Old is Too Old to Play Soccer?

I am, and will always be, a soccer player.  I LOVE soccer; I love to play soccer, I love to watch soccer, and eventually I will love coaching my kids in soccer.  But how old is too old to play soccer?

IMG_0853Seattle LOVES it’s soccer too!  Seattle has several adult leagues and I think I tried them all.  At one point while living in Seattle, I was playing on three teams a week (while still training for marathons).  Three days a week playing 90 minute outdoor soccer games takes a lot out of you as an adult.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but it was really affecting my body.  I was ALWAYS sore and was getting nagging injuries.  Not to mention the amount of money and time I spent…..

Was it worth it?  Definitely.  I met some AMAZING people and gained valuable friendships (I miss you team Chico’s Bail Bonds, esp. Steffanie and Jessica!).  I was also able to do something that I love while releasing a lot of pent up competitive energy and get in some great fitness.

I remember when my older friends started to quit soccer and I couldn’t understand how and why they could quit soccer?!  I thought they were being wimps and that they were just too out of shape to play.  I vowed never to quit!  Now I am starting to see their point.  Even if you are in the best cardio shape, that does not mean you are in soccer shape.  Running does not fully translate to the soccer field; soccer uses a lot of different muscles and movements than running.  

To compound the issue, every year your body reacts differently to various activities.  I am starting to realize this and I am ONLY 30?!?  I have now taken 3 months off of soccer; I am not sore and I do not have the nagging injuries that I was experiencing while playing in Seattle.  Coincidence?  I think not. 

Everyone is different and has a different answer for “How Old is Too Old to Play Soccer.” I definitely will NEVER be too old to play soccer, but I can’t play at the intensity and frequency that I used to (SAD).  I think I will play this summer on a women’s league, but I will not go back to playing 3 times a week against 20-something men like I was doing in Seattle.  My body just can’t handle it anymore :(