Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekend Getaway And A Couple Long Runs

We spent the weekend in Palm Desert, CA for my sister-in-law's wedding.  It was a great time...  such a beautiful setting and of course it was so good to see all the family and catch up!

Saturday I had my long run of the week (6 miles).  I ended up running a little closer to 6.5 miles at a 10:30 average pace.  It was a little hilly around the area where we stayed, which was great training for me since we have a lot of flat running spots around here.  When I got out the door to run it was a brisk 55 degrees.  It felt soooo good to run in the cold again, I love it!

Gorgeous views for a run!  It warmed up pretty quickly late morning once that sun was up.

After my run I showered up and hit up Panera Bread before my blow dry appointment.  I was so excited to see that they have Panera Bread; I miss it so much from the midwest.

Look at that pastry case!  Their orange scone is to die for!  Just sayin.  ;) 

I'd never gone to a blow dry bar before and thought this would be a perfect weekend to try it out, that way I wouldn't have to worry about doing my own hair before the wedding and I could enjoy the day much longer.  It takes me so long to blow out and curl my own hair, I really need to work on that.  I also really need to get more miles and pastries in so I'll just focus on that.  Hehe.

I found this cute little spot online and called earlier in the week to make an appointment.  I loved the simple design inside and the fresh color scheme.  They had a t.v. on each side of the hair stations with 'Say Yes to the Dress' playing on a constant roll.  I forgot how much I loved that show.  I kind of got out of it after our own wedding (after so much planning, I was kind of over wedding stuff for awhile) but it really is an entertaining show.  

They also served up a little bubbly.   


I really enjoyed the experience and would definitely visit a blow dry bar again when I have a special occasion.

Last night Alli bear and I joined in a group run at one of our local running stores.  We had wanted to run with them for awhile but just never did.  I saw online yesterday that Saucony would be there doing a shoe demo with their newest models and we were really excited to try them out.

For our 4 mile run, I tried the Tribute and Alli bear tried the Omni.  She over pronates a bit and she absolutely loved the Omnis.  I am a neutral runner but didn't care for the Tributes.  I liked the feel when I first tried them on but could tell about a half mile into the run that I wasn't into the fit.  The heel is much boxier than that on my Mizunos and I felt that my stride just didn't flow in them.  They seemed like a great shoe, just not for me.  I would love to try out a different model of Saucony at some point.

My knee started killing me halfway through the run, so today I just took it easy and had a rest day.  Tomorrow back to another 3 miler!

- Did you do anything extra fun this weekend?

- What is your favorite running shoe?

Mizuno Wave Rider 16 is my most favoritest, comfiest shoe I've ever had.  I have them in two colors and pray they'll make them in more.  ;)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Workout Wednesday

Tonight I ran after work at my usual park, and it was already dark by the time I got there.  I absolutely love running in the dark; particularly when it's chilly out, which it was.  For some reason when I run in these conditions I feel like I gain more clarity, and work out more in my head than I do otherwise. 

I've really got to get something reflective to wear at night.  At the Women's Running expo I bought a strobe light clip, which I of course forgot to bring but will now immediately go put in my gym bag.  I'm still thinking I need a shirt in that blindingly neon yellow/green that is so popular right now.  That should do the trick.

Per my *marathon!!* training plan, I ran three miles tonight at a 10:30 pace.  My legs felt really, really good tonight.  I'm over the soreness from the half last weekend and I can tell I'm gaining some strength back.

We just finished up the leftovers from the Black Bean and Pumpkin Soup that I made for Halloween and man that stuff is tasty.  I meant to share this recipe earlier but forgot. 

Make this.  Soon.  You will thank me.

The cast of characters:
  • black beans
  • canned pumpkin
  • vegetable broth 
  • onion
  • jalapeno
  • Rotel
  • garlic
  • chile powder
  • cumin
  • oregano
  • salt and pepper 

 You basically throw it all in the crock pot and set it on low.  I set mine to 10 hours so that it was just finishing up when I got home from work.  I was actually shocked at how good this was.  I am a meat-lovin girl, and feel like it's not really a meal without some form of beef, chicken, or fish.   But the hubs and I didn't even miss the meat in this. 

It was uber filling and such a comfort food.... AND it's actually really nutritious!  Love some good for you comfort food.

And now for some Breaking Bad Season 3.  Why do I always get hooked on a show right before, or right after, it ends??  Friends, Sex and the City, How I Met Your Mother, Lost.... I could go on.  But we just got Netflix and I will blame our newfound addiction on that. 

- Do you have a favorite vegetarian dish?

- Favorite TV show, current or off-air?

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Women's Running Scottsdale-Tempe Half Marathon Recap

Sunday was the Women's Half here in Phoenix.  We carb loaded at Oregano's the night before... I love a big bowl of whole wheat pasta with marinara the day before a big race! 

This was my first Women's Running Series event.  It was a much smaller race than I'm used to; there were only 2097 runners total.  It was a great atmosphere though!  I loved the camaraderie of the women runners. I will note that I have never seen more pink in one place in my life.  ;)  This was only the second year for the Women's Half here in Arizona, and I hope it continues to grow to a larger event.  It was an extremely well organized race and they had a lot of fun extras.

This race was definitely not my best effort; I just didn't train enough for this race, and I totally felt it that day.  I came out the gate much too eager and spent a lot of my energy early on.  I was feeling good and made pretty good time for the first six miles, then halfway through mile six we came to a decent hill that slowed me down a bit.  I was still going pretty decent until mile 9 and then I hit a big wall. My legs were getting really tired and I felt extremely hungry.  I ate my sports beans throughout the race but my tummy was still growling. At mile 10 was also a huge hill and that was pretty rough.

Right before mile 12 I rounded a corner and my wonderful hubby and friends were waiting there for me.  It was really encouraging to see them there smiling, cheering me on.  My hubs ran alongside me for about a quarter mile until I came to the final stretch for the finishers.  As always, it was a great feeling crossing the finish line despite it not being my best time. 

After the race we lingered in the finishers festival for a bit.

They had a 'Freshen Up Lounge' and 'Cookie Cafe' that we didn't take advantage of, but we did hit up the 'Bubbly Booth.'  They were serving Bon Affair, a new sparkling wine with purified water and electrolytes added.  It was extremely tasty and I think it was actually a really cool concept for a beverage too.

There was a station to have the charm from your medal removed and added to a necklace or bracelet.  I had mine added to a necklace and love the daily reminder of my half marathon and the fun day we had.

Alli bear, her family, her boyfriend, my hubs and I left Tempe Beach Park and headed to US Egg, one of our favorite spots for breakfast.  Nothing hit the spot like a breakfast skillet and some protein pancakes!

Except maybe our Bloody Mary's.  :)

I spent the rest of the day in bed with my legs propped up, a little 'When Harry Met Sally' and 'You've Got Mail' on the TV.  I got up a few times to walk it out a little and stretch, but spent the majority of the afternoon relaxing.

Yesterday we went for a walk to help me ease out some of the soreness.  I am definitely feeling better today and put in three miles after work at about a 11 minute pace.  Today technically starts my marathon training plan and I'm excited to really dig into that.  This weekend showed me how much I really need to focus on my training and strengthening.  I'm excited to better my time and increase my distance.

- Did you race this weekend?  What was the event?

- What's your favorite meal before or after a half/marathon?

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Funday

Sundays are cross days for me, so I put in some time on the stair master and also did some core work.  My official training plan starts a week from today and I can't wait.  It's a scared kind of excitement... the idea of me actually running 26.2 miles is slightly overwhelming, but the training is so gradual that I have faith I'll eventually get there.  I'm using the Hal Higdon Novice 1 Training Program, which is an 18 week program.  I'm sure the marathon will be here before I know it though, especially with the holidays coming up.

I finished up the novel The Dinner by Herman Koch today and I must say, I was slightly disturbed by this book.  It was very fast paced (I read it in just a few hours over the course of three days) but I think I just expected a much different ending.  The story is set on one evening, with two sets of parents having dinner together in order to discuss the actions of their teenage sons.  I won't get into what it is that their sons' have done, but it's big.  The novel was very dark and complex, and I suppose if you are a parent it would prompt you to consider how you would react yourself in such a situation. 

Since hubby worked all weekend (30 hours in 2 days, the crazy man.. I'm so glad he doesn't usually work weekends) I wanted to make him his favorite meal.  I cooked up some baseball sized filets, sauteed asparagus, and seared campari tomatoes.  I'm pretty sure he crashed immediately after the meal. 

And I'm sure you're very interested, but my roses have opened up quite nicely and I enjoy looking at them (and sniffing them) all day.  :)

There's a new episode of Witches of East End tonight on Lifetime!  I just got hooked on this show this week and now it's my new favorite.  It's creepy and spooky and soapy and perfect for Halloween/fall. 

- What's your favorite t.v. show right now?

- Any yummy eats this weekend?

- Read any good books lately?

Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Recap

Yesterday morning was the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk at Tempe Beach Park.  The company I work for had a team, and we had 85 people out there representing and walking for the cause.  I was so proud of us having such amazing representation!

We arrived about an hour early, allowing us to wander around to the different tents.  There were booths set up all along the lawn of the park with different vendors handing out goodies.  My favorite was the Starbucks tent where they were handing out free GRANDE coffees.  They even had the flavored syrups and cream/milk for you to request your coffee however you like.  Free coffee doesn't get any better than that.

I may have hit up that booth a couple times.

Coffee in the morning makes me very happy.

It was awesome to see so many people out there to support such an important cause.  They also gave out free t-shirts and medals to any breast cancer survivors, and there were women everywhere you looked with the 'Survivor' on the back of their shirts.  All of those women are such an inspiration. 

The walk went through Tempe Beach Park, along the bridge over Tempe Town Lake, up through a neighborhood, and circled back around to the east side of the park.

Yes, that is my finger over the lens.  I know, I am quite the photographer.

Overall, it was a great crowd and a very well run event.

They even handed out tons of snacks at the finish line, comparable to what we get at half-marathons.  I walked away with all the fruit, chips, cookies, crackers, Rice Krispie treats, and energy drinks I needed to get me through the weekend.

The Three Amigos after our snack coma.   Please don't ask me why I jump like that. 

Have you ever seen Supreme Pizza cheese and crackers?!   Best. Idea. Ever.

I went for a longer run later in the afternoon to get some miles in, then stayed home the rest of the day and got my scary movie fix.

And even though it's not scary (though it sure was to me when I was little), Hocus Pocus is still my all-time favorite Halloween flick.

- Anyone doing anything Halloween-y this weekend?

- What's your favorite Halloween and/or scary movie?

Friday, October 25, 2013


Happy Friday!

We have a 5K in the morning and then I want to do a long run by myself after, so I just did five miles tonight.  I love the gym on Friday nights.. it's never crowded and it really helps me get in my groove. I'm one of those weird people that doesn't like to work out in a crowded gym.  I much prefer running and working out by myself, but yet I love the biggest races I can find.  Something about training by myself really works for me though.

I came home from the gym and started making myself some dinner since my hubby was supposed to work late.  Surprise, surprise, he came home much earlier to have date night with me...and brought me some beautiful pink roses (my favorite color).  

What a great way to end my day.  Love that guy so much!   

- What are your plans for the weekend?

- Do you have a long run tomorrow?

- What's your favorite flower?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Signs of Fall

Can we all agree that the beginning of cooler weather is a wonderful thing?  For many reasons...

We all slide a little more in the fall/winter, right?  No, just me?   ;)

Today on my run I saw a bit of the sunset, which is always beautiful amongst the mountains and palm trees.

My run today was not a very good one but as they say, "a bad run is better than no run." Tomorrow will be a better effort on the (dreaded) treadmill.  Runs seem soooo much longer for me on the treadmill, but with it being dark so much earlier now some days I've just got to do it.

After my run I stopped by Trader Joe's for some veggies and, as usual, got sucked in by all their seasonal items.  Trader Joe's shall now be known to me as the 'Land of Pumpkin Everything.'  Along with all their pumpkin quick bread mixes, pancake & waffle mix, soup, ravioli, beer, cookies, pumpkin butter, they also had these goodies:

Of course I bought all three.

They also had this and I can't wait for it to get just a little bit cooler out for us to start mixing this up nightly:

Yum-o.  I truly love Trader Joe's and find it difficult to ever leave that store with fewer than ten items more than what I came for.

- What's your favorite item at Trader Joe's?

- Do you like running on the treadmill, or is it the dreadmill for you too?