Monday, November 17, 2014

It's All Single Digits From Here

Well, I would say "happy Monday" but I'm totally crabby today. I was woken up by my 5 year old at 4:30 this morning, which wasn't a great start. Plus, the weather has a major affect on my mood, and it was gray and rainy when I got up. Boo. And it got progressively colder all day. Double boo.

In happier news, I completed my last double-digit run on my training plan this weekend!

One of the only things I managed to photograph this weekend - my delicious cherry/vanilla/banana protein smoothie!
I ended up running later in the day on Saturday due to the cold weather. I wasn't tough enough for 28 degrees at 5 am, but 45 degrees at 3:20 pm was totally doable. Hubby had to leave for work at 6:45 am, and I pretty much walked out the door as soon as he got home to get it over and done with.

My splits were all over the place throughout my run, ranging from 9:45 to 8:44, with first mile being the slowest and last mile being the fastest. It wasn't exactly the time that I hoped for, but I can't complain.

I'm now just a week and a half from race day, and it's all single digit runs between now and then. I don't think I'll beat (or even match) my PR from last year's race of 1:59:08, but I think I can come in somewhere between 2:00:00 and 2:02:00. Pretty sure I hit the peak of my running career last year...

Scenes from last year's Atlanta Half Marathon
Hubby has to work tomorrow night, which means I'm taking 2 days in a row off from running, and running Wednesday and Thursday instead. And truthfully, my calves and my shins are in desperate need of a break! And some ice...

Off to bed - hoping neither kid decides to wake me up from a dead sleep 30 minutes before my alarm again... Grrr.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Week in Review + Pancakes-for-Dinner Kind of Night

Yet another week gone in a flash! And yet again, I had every intention of blogging more frequently, but life was happening like crazy. (Though I barely took pictures of any of it...)

Wondering what this mommy has been up to? (I'm going to tell you regardless...) How about a little week in review?

Monday and Tuesday were relatively uneventful. 5 am Pure Barre both mornings, TONS and TONS of work to do all day, a 5-miler on Tuesday night.

Wednesday is where it started to get crazy. Hit up my Pure Barre class in the morning, work,work work, and then hit up the hot bar at Whole Foods for my favorite honey buffalo fried tofu. Sooooo delicious! Around 3:15, I hopped in the car with my co-worker and my luggage for a road trip to Knoxville for business. It's a good thing she's talkative because it was a 3.5-hour drive! Somehow we never ran out of things to say.

We got to the hotel, checked in, and then headed straight to the lobby bar with our bags. These 2 mommies' gotta maximize every minute of an overnight trip! We had a beer while we worked on our presentation for Thursday's meeting. (Per usual, I didn't even finish my beer.) I snuck in a call to daddy and the munchkins, too.

Later that evening, we met up with some friends of hers for a yummy Asian dinner and a couple glasses of wine. Totally planned to blog when I got back from dinner, but it was 11:30 by the time I got back and crawled into bed. So late for me!

I had also planned to run on the treadmill at the hotel Thursday morning, but with the late night, the wine, and the fact that I had a hotel room to myself and didn't need to be anywhere until 9, I ended up sleeping in - until 7. So late for me - in a great way!

We went to our meeting, crushed it, and then packed up and headed back to ATL. I got back to the office just before 3 pm and walked straight into a conference room for an hour-long call. After picking up kiddos, making everyone dinner, and putting baby girl to bed, I finally got that run in. And it was COLD!!

And it got even colder. I had to bundle up to my eyeballs to head to Pure Barre.

I had an appointment this morning, so I didn't get to work until about 9:30. Other than a quick break to heat up my lunch (edamame and leftover homemade black bean burger), I barely moved from my desk today. Next thing I knew, it was time to pick up the kids again. And since it's the end of the week and the kitchen is bare (and daddy had to work), it was a pancakes-for-dinner kind of night. (Vegan pancakes of course to accommodate mommy!) No pictures, but here's the recipe, which made about 8 pancakes:

Whole Wheat Vegan Pancakes
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1T sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1T Earth Balance (melted in the micro for 20 sec)
1 "flax egg" (1T ground flax mixed with 3T warm water - let sit for a couple minutes before mixing into the batter)
~1 cup  unsweetened vanilla almond milk (I used Silk)

We gobbled them up in no time!

Tomorrow is my long run day. My last double-digit run before the half marathon - 10 miles! I have really been enjoying getting up early and getting it over with before the day begins, even last weekend's 12-miler in 34-degree weather. But tomorrow, I have to draw the line. Daddy has to leave for work at 6:45 am and it's supposed to be 28 degrees at 5 am, the time I would need to head out the door. Just. Can't. Do it. Too cold too early. Luckily daddy will be home early enough for me to still get my run in, although I don't love late-day long runs. But certainly better than the alternative. And now that I've made the "official" call that I'm not getting out of bed that early, I feel relieved and happy to be able to stay in my warm bed as long as kiddos will allow!

Speaking of which, it's bedtime for me! Gotta make the most of it!

What's the weather like where you are?

What's your "cutoff temperature" for outdoor activities?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Coming Down the Other Side

I had another one of those "I blinked and it was over" kind of weekends. But it was a good one.

Saturday marked the peak of my half-marathon training schedule! I'm relieved to be coming down the other side. Even though the hubby didn't have to work this weekend, I decided that I would still get up at the crack of dawn to get my 12-miler over and done with so I could enjoy the rest of my day. My alarm went off at 4:50 am, and the very first thing I did was check the weather.

Oy. I decided to make some coffee to warm myself up, and I ate one (or two...) of these babies for fuel:

I layered up and covered my ears, and checked the weather one last before heading out at 5:45.

Even colder!
For some reason, my Runkeeper audio cues completely failed. I'm so used to getting updates via my headphones every 5 minutes on my distance, pace and overall time. I pulled my iPhone out of my Spibelt at the half-mile landmark to make sure Runkeeper was tracking me, and it was. I guess it was a blessing in disguise. It actually took some of the pressure off not knowing what my pace was, and it made it even easier for me to get lost in my music and let my mind go elsewhere. At one point, my mind went so far elsewhere that I suddenly looked around in the dark and could NOT figure out where I was! I completely blanked out. A definite first for me.

I checked my phone a couple more times starting at around 9 miles, and when I got home just before 7:40, I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had run at a pretty good clip. Nowhere near as fast as I ran my 12-miler this time last year, but I will take it, for sure.

It felt great to get up and get it done, and still have the whole day ahead. I immediately got ready for the Saturday swim class and grocery shopping routine. Have I mentioned how amazing it is to spend 30 minutes in the pool after a long run?!

After the shopping was done and I dropped my big girl off at a friend's house, I headed up north of the city for an audition. Yes, that's right - a barre instructor audition! On Friday, I saw a job posting on LinkedIn for a barre instructor at a brand new (non-franchise) barre studio opening next month. On a whim, I applied. I got a call almost right away, and agreed to meet, interview and audition on Saturday. It's the most excited I've been about anything in a while! I enjoyed meeting the founder/owner of the studio, and enjoyed hearing her story about leaving corporate America to pursue her passion for the barre. So jealous... The studio is a bit of a hike (about 25 minutes north of home), but I think I can make it work if she offers me a spot. We'll see!

I capped off a great Saturday with some late(ish) Asian takeout and wine with the hubby. It's always nice to have a chance to talk without kiddo interruptions!

One-on-one time with mommy while big sister was at her sleepover.
Sunday went by even fast than Saturday. I started with a 9:15 Pure Barre class, lazed around on the couch for much of the afternoon, and hobbled out on my sore calves for a short recovery run. Oh, and in the late morning, I got pulled over and issued a ticket for a traffic violation that totally DID NOT commit! It was seriously one of those alternate universe moments, like "is this really happening?!" I can now imagine how people who are falsely accused of more serious crimes feel. When it's your word against a large uniformed officer, you don't stand a chance, even when you've done nothing wrong. Ugh - I can't even talk about it anymore.

I'm going to need a good night's sleep and several deep breaths before I can face Monday in the office. I'm sure everyone feels the same way.

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Running Out of a Funk

Long time, no blog. Again, I really want to get back to posting more regularly, since it's so cathartic. But I really just haven't had much to say lately. Or at least not much that I want to say so publicly!

It's fair to say I've been in a funk recently...but a 6+ mile run was just what I needed tonight! It was clear, bright, and cool (but not cold!) outside. It took me a couple miles to really get into it, but I had so much on my mind and was doing so much thinking that I just about forgot that I was running for a while. Seriously. And thinking so hard made me run faster without even realizing it.

Loving those splits! Faster and faster as I went along.

I felt so much more relaxed when I got home. I only wish I had felt this relaxed and relieved before the kiddos went to bed, but at least it's almost the weekend! Even my 2-year-old has been talking about the weekend since Tuesday.

I'm treating myself to a glass of wine as a reward for working so hard this week. If I was a "normal" person, I'd probably cut myself a break and sleep in until 6 tomorrow. But alas, I'm not a normal person so I'll be up at 5 am for Pure Barre, per usual. :)

Keeping it short and sweet tonight - and hoping I'll feel more inspired to write more often again soon!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Countdown to Race Day + Time to Think

Hi there. How was your weekend? If I had to sum mine up in one work it would be: COLD! The weather has really taken a turn here in GA. Seems like we went straight from summer to winter. Sigh. I don't love being cold, but I have to say that I certainly do run better in colder weather!

And speaking of running... Race day will be here before I know it! Only 25 days to go! I had an 11-miler on the schedule this weekend, and Daddy had to work all day on Saturday, which meant an early morning run for me. The only other option was no run - which basically isn't an option for a Type A like me. ;) I went to bed Friday night dreading a nearly 2-hour run in the cold...

But, I got up and got it done! Out of bed just after 5 and fueled up with a cup of coffee and this:

Cinnamon Raisin Scone. Vegan deliciousness.
I put on my thick performance socks, long pants, 2 layers on top, ear warmer, and gloves and stepped out the door into this:

Brrrrr!! It was even colder by the time I got home.
Runkeeper let me down (again!) in the first 5 minutes (~0.5 mi), saying I had run nearly a mile already at a 6:30 pace. Ha! I wish. I stopped briefly to restart Runkeeper and then got down to business.

For the first half of my run, I had the wind at my back, which was great because it was strong enough to push me forward a bit. I'll take any help I can get during a long run! Unfortunately at my 7-mile turnaround spot, I had to run straight into the gusty wind. It was so strong and so cold that it felt hard to breathe - like I was gasping for air. Ultimately though, the blustery air gave me more motivation to push myself and keep going - and most importantly, get home faster to take a hot shower!

Can you spot the big hill??
Not an amazing run by any means, but solid.

By 7:45, I was getting myself ready for swim class with the kids. It's tough to get up so early on the weekend, but I never regret getting a long run over and done with before all the other daily activities.

Random photo of my amazing Trader Joe's lunch - tofu spring rolls and steamed edamame.
I'm not running nearly as well as I was this time last year, training for the same race, but I feel strong and ready for 13.1.


One of the greatest things about distance running (for me at least) is time alone with your thoughts. It sounds crazy, but with a full-time job and 2 kids under the age of 6, sometimes I don't even have time to think about anything other than what needs to be done immediately. I look forward to a couple hours of quiet reflection on Saturday mornings.

Here's what I was thinking about during my 11 miles this weekend...

- I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up. I envy people who have known their calling all along and pursued it. At age 31, I feel like I'm still discovering what my passions are. The only thing I know for sure is that what I thought I wanted to be when I was 18 is not what I want to be now.

- Something is missing in my life. Maybe related to my first thought above? I haven't been able to quite put my finger on it, and maybe it's not just one thing.

- I wish I could spend more time with my kids. Ironic thought in the midst of 80 minutes all by myself, right? But seriously - I have a lot of guilt about the fact that they spend 10+ hours a day at school/daycare during the week, and I'm often so focused on getting through the daily obligations that I'm not fully present when I do get to spend time with them.

So much cuteness; so much love.

It all sounds so depressing when I type it out... But it sure does give me a lot to work toward!

How was your weekend?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Post Vacation Blues

Ugh. That's how I feel today. Just UGH.

I woke up this morning at 5 and could not for the life of me figure out what day of the week it was. It wasn't until I got to Pure Barre and saw which instructor was there that I realized it was only Tuesday. UGH. (Is it sad that I can tell the day of the week based on the Pure Barre instructor?!)

I got home around 6:45, grabbed some breakfast and started to get ready for work. And then my hair straightener crapped out. UGH. I gave up trying to make my hair look good and just pulled it up.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal made me feel a little better...
When I got to work, I stared at my mile-long to-do list and almost-full inbox and felt totally overwhelmed. UGH.

I think I always go through a letdown period after vacation, but this time it's pretty extreme. I feel downright depressed about being back to reality (and away from the mountains). UGH. Maybe I'm more dissatisfied and unfulfilled that I realized? Maybe I'll just always want what I don't have?

I'm dealing with my post vacation blues the best way I know how - channeling my negative energy into my running. My training schedule called for a 5-miler tonight. I wasn't sure I'd be up to it, since I just about fell asleep at the wheel on the way to work and also fell asleep in the rocking chair tonight, but I used those bummed out thoughts and feelings to push myself, and ended up having a pretty good run.

Here's hoping a good night's sleep will help me snap out of it...

Any suggestions to boost my mood?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Busy Living Life: Kid-Free Vacation Recap

Hey, hey hey! Long time, no blog! File the past week under "Busy Living Life (and Loving It)."

The hubby and I just returned from a 5(ish)-day vacation in Colorado - one of our favorite places! We lived in Colorado Springs for exactly 1 year to the day back in 2008/2009. We fell in love with the mountains, fresh air and 300 days a year of sunshine. Of the 5 states we've lived in (New Hampshire, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Colorado and Georgia), Colorado is hands-down our favorite. Why did we leave, you ask? We panicked - I got laid off when our daughter was just 4 months old. With our primary income gone and our family thousands of miles away, we high-tailed it back to New England. Staring at Pikes Peak this week, I had to remind myself of the reasons why we left such a beautiful, active place...

Anyway...our vacation was the perfect mix of physical activity, delicious food, and fabulous beer and wine. The days look like this:

11:00 am ET - depart Atlanta
12:30 pm MT - arrive in Denver, pick up rental car, drive to Broomfield (we stayed the first 2 nights with the hubby's cousin
3:00 pm MT - run 5 miles through the gorgeous neighborhood and then walk 15 minutes to cool down and take in even more of the scenery

6:00 pm MT - head to Boulder and have dinner at Leaf Vegetarian Restaurant (I had the Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai and 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanc #heaven)
10:00 pm MT - collapse into bed and sleep like a baby

8:30 am MT - class at Pure Barre Broomfield (it was fun to check out a different studio!)
10:30 am MT - head into Denver to walk, eat and drink our way around the city. We had lunch at City, O City, where we had the most AMAZING Seitan Buffalo Wings, and moved on to the outdoor bar at Pizzeria Republica for a drink.
2:30 pm MT - arrive at the Pepsi Center to pick up our tickets for the Pearl Jam concert. While we were waiting in line, the Denver Nuggets basketball team showed up in the lobby!
3:30 pm MT - arrive at Wynkoop Brewing Company where we spent about 3 hours tasting beer, chatting and dining. I had a baby kale/roasted cauliflower/barley salad that was SOOOO good!
7:00 pm MT - arrive back at the Pepsi Center for the Pearl Jam concert! This concert was the main reason we booked this trip. It was our 13th show and probably the best one we've seen yet! We had incredible seats and PJ played for 3 and a half hours!

12:30 am MT - arrive back in Broomfield completely exhausted from the show; collapse into bed
7:30 am MT - up and at 'em! Despite the late night, we couldn't sleep in so we got up and made some breakfast
9:30 am MT - drive to Colorado Springs (we even did a drive-by of our old townhouse)
11:30 am MT - more breakfast for lunch at The Egg & I
12:30 - 2:30 pm MT - a little hiking at Palmer Park, more driving around the old stomping grounds
3:30 pm MT - after checking into our hotel, we head to Garden of the Gods for a run. I nearly passed out from the altitude! Colorado Springs is even higher than Denver and it definitely took a toll on my running (and breathing!). I had planned to do 6 miles but barely made it through 4.

5:45 pm MT - we headed downtown for dinner and drinks. First stop, Nosh. Edamame and some spicy tofu with kale. Vegetarian heaven! (Of course there was wine too!) After walking around downtown for a bit, our second stop was Trinity Brewing, one of our old faves from our time in the Springs.
9:30 pm MT - collapsed into bed yet again after another busy day!

7:00 am MT - head to a park for a run. We scoped a trail online, and I planned to do my 10-mile run on Friday instead of Saturday since we'd be travelling home on Saturday. The trail was kind of a bust, so we literally ran back and forth on a small section of the trail several times until we racked up about 5 miles and then we decided it was breakfast time.
8:15 am MT - breakfast at the hotel, followed by more running on the treadmill. Had to finish out my 10 miles! Even running indoors on the treadmill is more difficult at high altitude!
10:30 am MT - arrive in Manitou Springs to hang out for the afternoon. We walked a lot, shopped a little, and stumbled upon Manitou Brewing Company where we sampled great beer and had amazing french fries! I had a pretty incredible quinoa and black bean burger too! We also did a little wine tasting at D'vine Wine.

2:00 pm MT - check into the resort for the night. We walked all over the resort checking it out and are already thinking about a possible family vacation there...

4:00 pm MT - kicked off our last kid-less night with happy hour at Sonterra Grill. This is the first restaurant we ever took our older daughter to. She was about 4 or 5 weeks old the last time we were there. I got very sentimental (the wine accelerated that...)
6:00 pm MT - back to the resort for a couple more drinks and tapas.
9:30 pm MT - off to bed

7:00 am MT - drive out of the Springs and head to the airport in Denver. I pouted as I watched Pikes Peak get further and further away in the rearview mirror.
10:15 am MT - board our flight
3:15 pm ET - arrive in Atlanta
4:30 pm ET - pull into the driveway, get out of the car and run straight toward the kiddos for big hugs!

To sum it all up, we had a FANTASTIC time! I missed my little ladies, but actually found it easier than expected to be away, knowing that they were having fun at home with Gramma. I love being mommy, but it was nice to just be Emily for a few days.

And now, it's back to the grind. I already spent half my Sunday catching up on work, and I'll admit that I'm a little depressed about getting back to reality. I will daydream about getting back to the mountains, and hope that gets me through the week...