Archive | May, 2012

Week 14 Training: 5/21 – 5/27

29 May

Somehow, after the long holiday weekend of sleeping in and relaxing, my brain is functioning even less well than it did on Friday. I don’t know how that’s possible.

Anyway, I am so glad that this is the peak week of marathon training – because that means tapering starts next week. Don’t get me wrong – I love running. I wouldn’t be training for a marathon if I didn’t. But I’m discovering that I don’t love running this much. I’m definitely more of a half marathon gal.

These past 3 weeks, I’ve had a really hard time feeling motivated to get my runs in. I’ve resorted to giving myself little pep talks, “Don’t give up now. You only have x weeks left until taper. You can do this for x more weeks. You’re almost there.”

And I am almost there. One week left. 3 days. 3 runs. I can do this.

It’s at times like this when I need to read and listen to things that pump me up for running. This Nike ad is one thing that does it for me:

You pretended the snooze button didn’t exist. You dragged your butt out of bed while others slept. While others ate their pancakes you had a feast of protein, glucose and electrolytes. You double-knotted. You left the porch light on and locked the door behind you. You ran 5Ks, 10Ks, 26.2 miles. Some days more, some days less. You rewarded a long run with a short run. And a short run with a long run. Rain tried to slow you. Sun tried to microwave you. Snow made you feel like a warrior. You cramped. You bonked. You paid no mind to comfort. On weekends. On holidays. You made excuses to keep going. Questioned yourself. Played mind games. Put your heart before your knees. Listened to your breathing. Sweat sunscreen into your eyes. Worked on your farmer’s tan. You hit the wall. You went through it. You decided to be man about it. You decided to be woman about it. Finished what you started. Proved what you were made of. Just kept putting mile after mile on your interval odometer. For 25 years, you ran. And we ran with you. How much farther will we go? As far as you will.

A few others:

If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Ok! Now that we’re pumped up to RUN, here was my training last week:

Monday: 4.1 mile easy run, untimed (FELT GREAT!)

Tuesday: 8.61 mile tempo run (1:39:18; 11:31/mile)

HOT run. Ran first 6 miles at or faster than GMP (11:18 average). Last 2.5 miles were easy pace (12:03 average). Walked .5 mile to cool down.

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 5.23 mile run w/4 x 800 easy (56:52; 10:52/mile)

I ran these 800s like fartleks – at a faster pace but not fast enough to require recovery. 800 times were 5:28, 5:44, 5:13, and 4:55. Not too shabby.

Saturday: 9.58 mile Long Run Part 1 (1:53:18; 11:49/mile)

Sunday: 4.59 mile Long Run Part 2 (55:42; 12:08/mile)

Total Running Miles = 32.11


Yesterday, I went swimming at the outdoor pool near our house. It was awesome. I love swimming outside! (Never mind it was my first time swimming since…???) Since my run Sunday morning had pretty much sucked, I took yesterday off from running and Travis and I went on a little hike near Roxborough. We were going to go to the state park down there but they don’t allow dogs. Apparently, they’ve had 10 mountain lion sightings in the past week or 2. After hearing that, I’m not sure I ever want to go hiking there. Yikes.

After that, we went to a park and played frisbee and sand volleyball with some friends. It was a good weekend overall!

Here’s my plan this week:

Tuesday: 5 miles (pm)

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 10 miles (am)

Friday: Rest (my parents are coming to visit!)

Saturday: 20 miles

Sunday: walk/cross-train

Blazing Long Run

26 May

Last night, Travis and I went to see the 6:30 showing of The Avengers. The movie was really good! For some reason, I really enjoy that kind of movie. After some ice cream from Coldstone, I went to bed around 10. I didn’t set my alarm clock because I assumed I’d wake up early like usual. Well, the pooches did wake up at the usual time. I got up at 7 long enough to let them outside and feed them. But then I went back to bed and closed the bedroom door. When I finally did get up at 8:45, I was completely groggy and exhausted so I had breakfast and a cup of coffee to wake up.

All that to say, I didn’t get started on my long run of 14 miles until 11 am, when it was already 80 degrees out with no clouds in the sky. Wow, does that make a difference! It felt like 95 degrees on this run.

I ran 2.5 with the dogs (and they were doggin’ it especially slow today so I turned around earlier than I had planned) and then 7 with Travis, who is still contemplating the half marathon next weekend (never mind that this was his longest run in…a couple years?). By the end of that 7 (so 9.5 for me), I threw in the towel. The stubborn part of me wanted to just get the run done with but it was SO HOT and I couldn’t imagine running another 4.5. I drew up an ice cold bath and sat in there for about 7 minutes.

I plan on running those last 4.5 miles tomorrow morning, which is still within a 24 hour period so close enough. And I’m feeling pretty good about this:

I’ve ran 45.5 miles in the past 7 days. What’s amazing, though, is that they’ve been good miles. In fact, Monday’s run was the best run I’ve had all month. Running just felt so easy and natural and I couldn’t help but smile as I ran. It made me think of a new running phrase – instead of Run Happy, my motto is Run Blessed. I’ll post some more thoughts on that soon.

Well, we’re off to a BBQ. Hope you’re having a fun weekend full of great weather and even better company!


Clothes and Couches.

24 May


Our care group is having a little BBQ this Saturday and since it’s supposed to be 84 degrees, I’m planning to wear my new dress:

I LOVE this dress. It’s so comfy, casual and for some reason, I’m smitten with the orange/tan color combo.

As for the trendy vs. timeless pants, longevity and comfort are the winners this time.

The skinny jeans fit me well… standing up.

But they’re a little iffy for bending over or sitting down, meaning I’d always have to wear a belt. And since I don’t like being limited like that…

Dress pants it is.

The dress pants are the Aubrey cut from Gap (a quick Google search shows that they’re either only available at Gap outlet or have been renamed). They’re the perfect size in both the waist and hips (hard to find!), perfect length to wear with either heels or flats, and they’re machine washable. Best part, I got them for 50% off. I feel like $30 for nice dress pants is a very reasonable price.

After much contemplating, I mailed my “marathon shirt” back yesterday. I did exchange it for a large and while it fit better, it was still really long and a little tighter than I would prefer:

One of my friends is an amazing seamstress (I was going to write “sewer”, but somehow that didn’t seem right…) and I was thinking about asking her to shorten the shirt 2-3 inches. But the more I thought about it, it’s just not the right shirt. So back it went, much to our wallet’s delight.

Speaking of our wallet, I have not bought and am no longer planning to buy a Garmin just yet. A new pair of running shoes had to come first (somehow, they seemed more essential) and our Alaska trip has pretty much eliminated any wiggle room beyond that in our budget. But it’s a small price to pay for the trip of a lifetime.

So what am I planning to wear for the marathon? Well, after way too much thought and deliberation, I’ve (almost) decided to go with this short-sleeve shirt if it’s a warm day:

 Malibu Half 2010

Or this shirt if it’s chilly:

On the bottom, I’ll wear my pink running skirt over my 2XU compression tights. The other bottom option I’ve been thinking about is my running skirt over my Aspaeris compression shorts (just in case compression tights would be too warm) but then I’d want to wear compression socks and not only would that be more $$ to spend, I’m not sure it would be any cooler than the tights in the first place. I’ll probably change my mind 10 more times before the race and end up bringing along 5 different options anyway. Le sigh. #firstworldproblems

Travis laughs whenever I bring up the majorly important and hard decision of what I’m going to wear during the marathon. “When I ran my marathon {Twin Cities 2006},” he said, “the night before the race, I realized that I didn’t have a drifit shirt. My roommate said he had one I could borrow, and that’s what I wore.”



We are LOVING our new couches that we got from our friends who just sold their house to travel around the country:

You almost can’t even see Charlie on the loveseat… but she’s there. All. the. time. Luckily, besides a minor mishap (looking at you Katy) in the first 36 hours, the couches have remained intact. But the dogs still lick them every chance they get. ?!?!?

Wise words.

23 May

Week 13 Training: 5/14 – 5/20

23 May

It’s official!

I’m registered to run 26.2 miles in Anchorage on June 23. Gulp.

I have to be honest. As the reality of that distance sets in, I’m starting to wonder what made me want to run a marathon in the first place. Why again did I think that sounded like fun? But there’s no turning back now when almost all of the hard training is behind me! After my 20 mile run in 2 weeks, it’ll be taper time.


My runs this past week were slow but actually felt pretty good, which was a huge change (and blessing!) from last week.

Monday: 4.1 mile easy run (50:18; 12:16/mile)

Tuesday: 9 mile tempo run (1:45:30; 11:43/mile)

I ran the first 3.5 miles easy, the next 4.5 at goal marathon pace (11:30) or faster (whoops), and the last mile easy. Splits (courtesy of my Poor Man’s GPS):

1 – 12:13 (3:46 wu, 8:27 run)
2 – 12:28
3 – 12:03
3.5 – 5:47
4.5 – 11:03
5.5 – 11:30
6.25 – 8:56
7 – 8:16
8 – 11:11
9 – 12:00

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday: 4.13 mile easy run (48:50; 11:49/mile) + 60 minute CorePower 1 Yoga class

I cut my run short by one mile to make it back to yoga while my free week was still good. I went to a more traditional Vinyasa class this time. Here’s the description:

I enjoyed it. It was relaxing while still being challenging and our instructor, Linda Lou, was really nice and friendly. All the people there are so happy, they make me happy. When I was leaving, I noticed a pure barre sign on the building across the street. That’s what I want to try next.

Friday: Rest, walked an easy mile with husband and pooches

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 18 mile long run (3:47:36; 12:38/mile), walked the dogs for 15 minutes

Total Running Miles = 35.23

Only 2 weeks left and it’s taper time! (If you can’t tell, I’m really looking forward to that. I’m so behind on everything!)

Anniversary Trip {Part Two}

22 May

Sunday dawned cold but clear. When I went out to get bagels from the grocery store across the street, this was our car:


After eating a cinnamon raisin bagel with peanut butter, I was off on my run and Travis was off to his morning hockey game. I took the pooches with me for the first 3 miles, then planned to drop them off to run the last 15 alone. After being couped up in a hotel room for 36 hours, only going outside for bathroom breaks, Katy and Charlie had a LOT of energy. And needed a lot of #2 pit stops. Nothing gets things moving like a run.

It was 35 when I first went out so I had decided to wear a long-sleeve tech shirt plus a lightweight jacket. The sun was out in full force, though, and by the time I got back to the hotel with the dogs, that jacket was too much. I left my long-sleeve on and with my compression tights and running skirt on bottom, I was perfectly dressed for the 40-50 degree weather.

Running in the mountains isn’t all bad

Pooches in their kennel, I headed back out with 3 hours of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to keep me company. Having something like a story to think about helps to pass the time. Since I had a long way to go and was running at a good 4,000 feet higher than usual, my strategy for this run was to run at an easy, comfortable pace and walk when I needed or wanted to. Which was good because there were a lot of hills on this run.

First 3 miles:

15 mile out and back:

And those just show the main hills! There were also a bunch of smaller rolling hills. I ran up most of the smaller hills but walked up the big ones. It just wasn’t worth pushing myself to run up them, only to be completely out of breath at the top and have to walk anyway.

Miles 5 – 7.5 (of the 15 mile route) were tiring. It was enough uphill to be noticeable but not enough that I could justify walking. Around mile 6, I saw Travis driving back from his hockey game. He honked and I waved.

Finally I got to the turnaround! But because of the doozy of a hill at miles 10-10.5 (which I walked most of), and my aching legs/hips, I actually only ran the way back a minute faster than the way out.

Around mile 13, I took a bathroom break, which was glorious. For the last 2 miles, I alternated between thinking “Hey, this isn’t so bad”, “Holy crap, my hips are throbbing”, “I can totally run a marathon”, and “EIGHT more miles after this? I’m screwed”. But I made it. And I’m pretty sure that I’m going to cry at the finish line of the real marathon because I get emotional just finishing my long runs. 😉

I borrowed Travis’ phone so that I could track my splits via the MapMyRun app but I’m pretty sure it didn’t work correctly. It says that the route I ran was only 14.6 miles instead of 15.1 (and actually, on the phone it said it was only 13.99 but when I looked it up online later, it said 14.6). It also said that my pace on some of the flatter miles was something like 14:45. I know I’m slow but I’m not that slow.

So plugging in my own numbers, it took me 3:47:36 to run 18 miles, for an average pace of 12:38. For running the longest run of my life at 9,300 feet with a cumulative elevation gain of 736 feet and a bunch of walking, I’m feeling pretty good about that pace.

Nevertheless, I’m hoping that I’ll run the marathon faster than that. And since the race is practically at sea level and I’ll have tapered beforehand, I feel confident that I can. Even if I run the race at an average pace of 12:30/mile, that would put me around 5:30:00 for a marathon finish time. So the goal I’m toying with right now is somewhere between 5:10 (11:49 pace) and 5:30 (12:35 pace).

I’ll wait until after my 20 miler to officially decide on goals.


After my run, I took a shower and Epsom salt bath. Travis’ team had won their morning game too so they were moving on to the championship game at 3 pm. We packed up all of our stuff, ate lunch at Noodles & Company, and then went shopping at the outlet mall for 25 minutes to kill time. I went to the Gap Outlet and found this adorable dress for $32 that I am smitten with as well as 2 pairs of black pants — traditional dress pants for $30 and skinny jeans for $35 (I’ll post pictures later). I’m only going to keep one pair (due to our Alaska trip limiting our $$ resources) but can’t decide if I want to go trendy or timeless. Thoughts? Travis had some luck too with finding some hiking/aquashoes at the Columbia outlet for $25, marked down from $85!

Then it was off to the last hockey game. I took the dogs for a short walk while Travis got ready and then went in to watch the game. They lost by 1 point in overtime. Bummer!

A quick stop at a gas station for snacks and we were headed home to do laundry and veg out. We took Loveland Pass instead of the Eisenhower Tunnel, which neither of us had done before. The views were gorgeous:

But as always, I got freaked out and asked Travis to slow down at least 10 times. I’m a wreck on mountain roads.

Finally, we made it home. After we unloaded and unpacked everything, Travis was going to recharge the AC in our Focus when the car just up and died. Now it won’t start. I’m just glad that it didn’t die at the top of Loveland Pass! That would’ve been bad.

But I convinced Travis that instead of spending all night trying to fix it, he should just hang out with me. And so we ended our nice little anniversary weekend with an episode of NCIS (we’re totally addicted to that show).

Pretty soon, though, the real celebration begins: ALASKA!!

Anniversary Trip {Part One}

21 May

Our anniversary weekend was GREAT. Travis and I both agreed that it was so nice to have a slow-paced, relaxing weekend… never mind the fact that Travis played four hockey games and I ran 18 miles.

We got up to our hotel, the Holiday Inn – Summit County, Frisco around 7 pm on Friday night. After a few room debacles (the doorjambs were all busted so the doors wouldn’t close right), we got situated in our room and decided to have a couple drinks in the hotel restaurant, Sporting News Grill. I had 2 glasses of Chardonnay, Travis had a few beers and we ordered a chicken quesadilla to split.

Our quesadilla took a while to come but because Travis and I weren’t in a hurry and were enjoying just hanging out and talking, we didn’t really notice or mind. Our waiter felt bad though and brought us a free piece of apple pie topped with whipped cream. I devoured that thing in record time. When our quesadilla finally did come, I had one section. It was really good. It had peppers in it and was served with lots of salsa and guacamole.

The only thing we weren’t impressed by was the atmosphere. It was a sports restaurant trying to masquerade as a club. They had a DJ playing club music in the bar area and it just seemed weird. But whatevs.

The next day, Travis had his first hockey game at 9:20 (as part of the tournament he was playing in) so we left our hotel room around 8:45. I had planned to do my long run that day but it was supposed to be rainy and cold all day (which it was). Sunday was supposed to be nice and we were able to get a late checkout so I decided to run then. I dropped Travis off at the hockey rink to get ready, got coffee at Starbucks and then watched the game. They won!

Travis was #22.

We went back to the hotel so Travis could shower, I did some stuff on the computer and around 1, we went to lunch at the Butterhorn Bakery and Café. I had eaten there once before with my mother-in-law when we had explored Frisco during elk season. It’s a cute little restaurant with great service and amazing food. If you’re ever in Frisco, this is a great restaurant to check out.

Since it was our wedding anniversary, I thought our salt and pepper shakers couldn’t have been more fitting:

I ordered the French toast with strawberries and walnuts:

I wasn’t going to eat that massive chunk of butter but then I discovered that it was the best butter ever. In that case, who cares about saturated fat?

Travis got tuna salad on a croissant. Isn’t that a huge sandwich?

Since we had only eaten a NutriGrain bar each for breakfast, we both cleaned our plates. After lunch, we walked down the street to the Frisco Museum.

I had also been there before with Travis’ mom but found it really interesting and thought Travis would enjoy it. And it’s FREE. Can’t beat that.

They have a model train set in the old schoolhouse that is supposed to show what Frisco looked like back when it was founded in 1873.

Like all museums, they have enough information in each building that you could spend an entire day just reading about the history so we didn’t make it to every building.

It amazes me how much work just living was back then.

Wood burning stove + oven

Canning and baking


After the museum, we went back to the hotel until Travis’ afternoon hockey game at 4. They won that one too!

We had talked about going to see The Avengers that night but the timing would’ve been rushed so we opted to jump in the hotel hot tub for a bit (which felt great because I was freezing from sitting in the hockey arena) and then go out for a nice dinner at a steakhouse in Dillon. We took the long way there to check out a new road and some great scenery:

And my sweet husband surprised me with a lovely card, bag of dark chocolate Dove Promises, and this gorgeous necklace:

I felt like a schmuck since I hadn’t gotten him anything (we had agreed not to because of Alaska costing so much). But I still have a few tricks up my sleeve…

Our dinner at Pug Ryan’s Steakhouse Brewery was delicious and afterward, we watched X-Men: First Class on TV at our hotel and called it a night.

Sunday details up next…

Five Years

19 May

Five years ago, on May 19, 2007, I married my favorite person.

Spring will always remind me of the excitement I felt during our engagement. I’d wake up in the morning and stare at the ring on my finger. “It’s true. This is actually happening.”

In some ways, our 4.5-month engagement flew by. There was a lot to do, buy and plan but things fell into place quickly and easily. I tried on 4 dresses and decided this was the one:

We got married at the north campus of the church we had been attending, surrounded by lots of trees and flowers:

We had our reception at a historic old farm, now right in the middle of a suburb:

(My brother and sister-in-law got married there the following year!)

But in other ways, our engagement seemed to last forever. Even just a few weeks seemed like an eternity until I could spend every single minute with my best friend and wake up in the same bed as him.

But that day finally arrived and it was magical. My parents are to thank for that. They were SO generous and made sure that our wedding was everything we had dreamed it would be. The flowers, dress, decorations, food, everything was AMAZING. Thank you Mom and Dad for making our special day so perfect!

I am thankful that I was able to just enjoy the day. Whatever happened, happened. If things didn’t go according to plan, that was ok. Because at the end of the day, we were MARRIED and were going to spend the rest of our lives together. (I did, however, get slightly irritated at Travis when a slow song came on and he didn’t come find me to dance!)

But as all married couples know, the wedding day is the easy part of marriage.  After the excitement winds down, you realize that you’re still the same two people with the same old problems.

That’s where God’s grace comes in.

If it weren’t for God’s grace…

Well, I’m scared to think of where Travis and I would be today if God’s grace hadn’t been actively at work in changing me. I am a different woman than the one Travis married 5 years ago. And praise God that I am! It has taken me FIVE WHOLE YEARS to be able to cheerfully and willingly serve my husband. To desire his happiness more than my own. To set aside my own desires and expectations to please him.

“This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

This is the day that the Lord had made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Edited to add 5/23: I should also mention that our marriage is where it is today because God has been actively at work in changing Travis. He is so slow to anger, quick to compassion and incredibly sweet and thoughtful. He has changed the way he does things (like the dishes) because he knows the way I like them done. A marriage takes two people working together with servant hearts and many a conflict has been avoided by Travis kindly taking notice of and avoiding the things that tip me over the edge.

I am thankful every day to be married to such a wonderful, loving man. I truly do not deserve him. I don’t deserve any of the blessings that God so abundantly lavishes upon me. But He still gives them to me. The Giver loves to give, and gives in abundance, as if He had nothing else to do but to give and give again.

Today, I tell God that His gift to me has not gone unnoticed. I am thankful to the depths of my soul for His giving me the love of my life.

I can’t wait to see how God shows His faithfulness to us in the next five years.

Heading to the Mountains

18 May

Rocky Mountain National Park, September 2007

Tonight, Travis and I are heading up to the mountains for a little anniversary getaway. We are celebrating 5 years tomorrow. I know those married longer would say we’re still newlyweds but I feel like the 5-year mark is the official exit from newlywed status. 😉

Travis has a great opportunity to play in a hockey tournament this weekend so we have 3 hockey games on the schedule. I’ll have to miss the first one since I’ll be doing my long run of 18 miles. Holy crap, that feels like a long way. Back at the beginning of my marathon training, it seemed unfathomable to ever be able to run that far and now, it’s right around the corner.

Since I’ll be running at 9,000 feet, I plan on taking things easy, enjoying the beautiful scenery, and taking lots of pictures to share with you fine folks.

The rest of the weekend will be spent playing Scrabble, drinking wine, checking out cute little mountain towns, and cuddling with pooches – yes, we are bringing them. This will be the first ever that we’ve had them in a hotel room with us. It will be interesting, I’m sure.

Have a great weekend!

Loving Who I Am

17 May

The past month has been on the rougher side emotionally for me. Last Thursday morning, I was reminded why.

Ingratitude. Rejecting God’s grace to me.

Man. It’s a hard fight to live in truth. The slide back down into lies is easy and short.

But once again, God has reminded me of the truth.

And so far, I’m still living in the glorious freedom of truth:


That truth, and that truth alone, is life-changing.

My flesh wants to add qualifiers and exceptions and clauses and caveats.

There are none.

My flesh wants to make it more complicated, more needing of explanation, more detailed.

It isn’t.

It’s so simple, and yet so difficult, to live there.

But this truth… this is worth fighting for. Worth spending my life ruminating on. Worth clinging to at the expense of other noble thoughts.

“The true Love Dare. To move into His presence and listen to His love unending and know the grace uncontainable. This is the vault of the miracles. The only thing that can change us, the world, is this — all His love.” (Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts)

Today, love who God created you to be  because He loves you.