Tag Archives: cookies

Holiday Randomness

Despite my lack of having anything very interesting, noteworthy, or glamorous to say—I feel compelled to blog today. Ready or not…randomness at it’s finest coming your way, holiday style!

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This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

This is what 72 cookies looks like in their natural state.

All I have been doing for the past week is eating cookies.

I’m not exaggerating—cookies at work, cookies at home, cookies in bed, you name it. They’re everywhere, and if you’ve known me for .4 seconds, you know that cookies and I have a very intimate relationship. It’s unconditional really—if they are in front of me, under all conditions, I will eat them.

Yes, I feel a bit like a slug when I pass out in a peanut butter/chocolate chip/butter/oatmeal/nutella coma every night…but frankly, I don’t really care. Every night, in my overly-sugared state, I swear I’ll hold off on the cookies the next day, and without fail, I do the same thing again the next day.

I am the living stereotype of holiday indulgence, and guess what…it’s the best. My version of “holiday eating survival” involves hoarding all the offices treats for myself. We’re nearing the end of the world people, don’t you know you need to overload on butter to ensure survival?!

Ok, I do leave some for others, but let’s just say if there were a “most valuable customer” award, it would definitely be mine. I think of it as doing a service to everyone who’s avoiding holiday treats. You’re welcome, America. But good luck when you’re SOL on Friday and I’m giddily licking the chocolate off my fingers.

Peppermint bark, also known as...me pretending to be fancy.

Peppermint bark, also known as…me pretending to be fancy.

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image (1)

I’ve succeeded in watching my two favorite holiday movies: Home Alone 2 and Love Actually, therefore I can breathe easy.

Actually, Home Alone 1 and 2 tie for me…Home Alone 2 just happened to be the one I came across when viewing time ensued. It’s amazing just how many lines I can effortlessly remember from those gems of cinematic genius. Did it ever blow anyone else’s mind that Kevin was 9 YEARS OLD and pulled off all those traps and tricks? More importantly, he went grocery shopping??? I think I was still sleeping with stuffed animals when I was 9. Oh wait, I still do.

And as for Love Actually, just like every other female ages 18-45, I adore that movie. Especially, in no particular order: Liam Neeson, Colin Firth, the story of Colin Firth(Jamie) and Aurelia, Liam Neeson’s son, Olivia Olsen’s version of “All I Want For Christmas is You,” the fact that Billy Bob Thorton plays the U.S. president, and also the fact that Snape is in it.

Plus so much more. Happiness.

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In case you haven’t heard, LES MISERABLES THE MOVIE is coming out on Christmas Day. Fun fact: I am obsessed with all things Les Mis. The book, the show, the music, all of it. If Victor Hugo were alive today, he’d have a restraining order against me.

Case in point: For my 15-mile long run last weekend, I listened to the ENTIRE show—start to finish. It was heaven. There is nothing quite like Javert’s suicide (the saddest moment in theatrical history, IMO) to get your legs a-moving—or something like that. It was magic you guys, magic.

I realize the movie might not live up to my wildly unrealistic expectations given my deification of the Les Mis genre, but that’s okay…I trust Hugh Jackman to pull off a beautiful “Bring Him Home.”

Sorry to everyone who doesn’t understand my references…like I said, obsessed.

……

I spy...Bernadette the elephant!

I spy…Bernadette the elephant!

By some miracle, our quaint, two-person tree has a lot of presents under it! Thanks, family! I also might have spoiled BF a little bit considering we’ll be without our families.

And since this is my first Christmas without my family/siblings, I’m filling that void with excessive spending on him. And cookies. You’re welcome, BF.

……

Running. Oh yea, that. I’m still running. When I feel like it, which somehow has been a lot considering the whole cold/dark/rain/misery state we in Washington currently face. As I’ve said before, I love me some winter running. I’m also participating in Nicole’s Runcember, so there’s a little accountability factored in as well 🙂

My last race of the year will take place on, literally, the last day of the year. I’m running the Yukon Do It half-marathon with a group of co-workers on New Year’s Eve, and it promises to be cold, flat, and fun. In a perfect world, I would tackle my sub 1:40 half goal…but we’ll see. Honestly, I’m still a little shocked at my Seattle half time, and the thought of running faster than 7:40 miles is a little horrifying at this point. But, who knows. It’s a much easier course than Seattle, and with any weather luck I suppose there’s a chance.

I guess what I’m saying is…I won’t be heartbroken if it doesn’t happen, but if there’s a chance, I’ll go for it.

…….

That’s all for now folks. Basically, I’m relishing the cookie-and-winter running filled lifestyle right now. I’ve got approximately 1.5 months left until I hit goal-marathon training HARD, so until then it’s rest days and holiday cocktails galore. I suppose someday I’ll detail all my goal-marathon ambitions for you someday, but it’s been far too long since I’ve had a cookie, so I think it’s time to…as they say…”hit the sauce.”

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails ("candy canes") and this is literally "the sauce." I'm amazing sometimes.

DOUBLE RELEVANCY PHOTO. These are holiday cocktails (“candy canes”) and this is literally “the sauce.” I’m amazing sometimes.

Tell me things about you!!

What’s your favorite Christmas cookie?

anything with peanut butter, chocolate, or sprinkles.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

Do you love or hate winter running?

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Thankfulness and Marathon Goals!

Good afternoon!

I hope you all have had pleasant weeks and are ready for the weekend. This week has seen a lot of ups and downs for me—mostly ups, but there were some dark spots in there, and I’m happy to say I think I’ve managed to scuttle away from them. (But don’t let the Taper Beast hear that, one whiff of calmness and he barges back in full force.) So I’m still treading lightly, paying attention to my actions and reactions, but I’m hoping I’ve exited the Crazy Land of Taper-dom and can continue merrily on my way through Nerve City and Psyched Up Forest. Both of these places, though still filled with a good deal of angst and stomach butterflies, are much more do-able than Crazy Land.

I am nervous, there is no doubt about it. I have to very deliberately and consciously get myself to focus on anything other than race day. My thoughts are consumed by race strategy, fueling, avoiding chafing, and making it through without my knee exploding. My knee is much better than when bursitis struck before, and I am confident that I can race on it, however 26.2 miles is a long way for healthy body parts, so needless to say, I’m wary for my persnickety bursa sack. Lots of stretching, icing, and Aleve-ing before then.

In other news, I SUCK at dress rehearsal runs. Apparently all my pacing abilities (limited to begin with) go completely AWOL when I’m tapering, and the whole “GO SLOW” mantra that everyone preaches so vehemently actually registers as “Go ahead and run 30 seconds faster than your GMP.” Yesterday’s 4 mile run would have looked superb in an official race, let’s just say.

Whoops. Maybe I should get a Garmin after all.

For those of you who don’t know, a dress rehearsal run is exactly like a stage dress rehearsal…you gear up in everything you’ll wear on race day to ensure nothing rubs wrong or fits weird, but mainly I think its psychological benefits are the greatest. This run got me pumped big time, and it felt good to be running in my race day attire. Also, it just felt good to be running.

BUT. The good news about this way-too-fast-taper-fail run was that it showed just how many energy reserves I’m garnering. This whole “resting” thing is actually, physiologically benefiting big time, and despite my better efforts to just rid myself of all this lovely rest yesterday, I’m hoping that this is a good sign for how I’ll feel on race day.

The weather report looks superb for Sunday so far, and now commences the time to start carb-filling and hydrating like a serious person.

Moving on, today is Friday, meaning that Friday Favorites is typically the name of the game. As I’ve done a few times, I’m going to switch Friday Favorites to recollecting some of the things I’m thankful for. This week has been filled with a lot of excitement and charged energy, and although some of it can get overwhelming, ultimately I am unbelievably grateful for it all. Many thanks to Ali for reminding us all weekly to give thanks.

And now…GRATITUDE!

I am thankful for boxes of cookies.

Time between opening package and stuffing face with cookie: .7 seconds.

Last week, my beloved friend Katie—who moved to Missoula last year and I miss TERRIBLY—sent me this glorious package of her chocolate cookies for my birthday. Now, unless you have tried these cookies, you cannot fully begin to appreciate a)how big of a deal it was to receive them and b)how kind it really was for her to send them.

These cookies ARE THE BEST. Katie has some crazy secret recipe that she has worked and reworked and the result are the most chewy, buttery, chocolatey, and I-don’t-care-how-bad-these-are-for-me cookies EVER. I lose all sense of fullness, health, and really general sense of reality when these cookies are around, and they have made up the majority of my diet since they arrived. KT, you are the best.

I am thankful for huge great danes.

WARNING: Creepy female dog photographer, stalking puppies all over West Seattle.

I am kind of afraid of great danes, but I kind of love them too. They are as large as a small pony, and it seems like they have been everywhere recently. BF, who is a big dog fanatic, is obsessed (and may have recently bought a book called Giant George which is about a 245 pound great dane who needs his own size queen bed), and recently I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I’m not sure about owning one, but I really enjoy seeing great danes taking their owners on walks all over the place.

I am thankful for the ability to go and visit my family.

I really, really love whenever I get to go see my family. We laugh a lot, we play games, we eat, we watch Jeopardy, and we love each other. It’s a great treat to be able to go home, and I’m very thankful that I have the means and the time to be able to jet off to Colorado every so often. My next trip will be for baby boy’s graduation (sorry Scott, you will never shed that nickname), and I can’t wait. If anyone was every ready for college, it’s my brother, and not only can I not wait for him to experience college, but he’ll be going to Seattle U…a mere 10 minutes from me!! Get ready Scott, you probably won’t make any real friends.

“Sorry guys, my sister is taking me somewhere again and I can’t go to the party.”

That’s totally how it’s gonna happen.

I am thankful for people who will touch feet.

I know you are SO GLAD you have now seen my feet. Can you guess which toenail is actually completely black?

That sounded weird. And truth be told, I actually don’t have the foot paranoia that so many claim to have. But, that doesn’t mean I would ever give a stranger—or even someone I know—a pedicure. And I especially would never give myself a pedicure. I’m scared of my own feet, and I go to all the lengths I can to avoid people looking at my feet. Not only do I naturally have Fred Flintstone-width feet and awkwardly shaped pinkie toes, but the damage done to my toenails from running is somewhat horrifying. As I’ve said before, two of my toenails are close to falling off, and just about every other toe has either a blister or a callous. It’s sexy.

Moving on. I never get pedicures, literally ever, except for right before big races. For some reason back when I ran my first half, I decided to randomly get a pedicure during the week before. Since then, I’ve gotten my toes done before every big race—and it’s a tradition I am mighty pleased with. This marathon taper time was no different, and I got to spend an hour getting clipped, rubbed, painted, and all that fun girlie toe stuff. The woman, despite not saying ONE word to me the entire time, did a fantastic job, and she handled my mangled foots without a blink. Oh, and she had to use TWO extra coats on my black toenails. Literally doubled the amount of color on each. But a job well done, and I am thankful for her.

Wow that was a lot of talk about feet.

I am thankful for Nuun, Aleve, my foam roller, and Yoga On Demand.

All of these things are helping to soothe, both mentally and physically, my angst about the race on Sunday. Sure, I know I’ve done the training and I know there really isn’t anything more I can do to get ready. But the fact that I can count on each of these things to help me feel better prepared, rested, hydrated, etc. is keeping my nerves at bay.


I am thankful for the weather report for race day.

cmoooonnnnnnn Sunday!

I realize I just 100% jinxed the crap out of the happy-sunny forecast, but let’s hope for the best still. As you could probably guess, the weather in Seattle is not exactly dependable…and so everyone, not just runners, treat the forecast like a toddler. They watch it like a hawk, they talk about it with anyone and everyone, and they can be equally irritated and giddy over it within an hour time frame. So, needless to say, I’ve been in full-fledged weather-stalking mode, and as of right now it’s looking pretty ideal. I actually have yet to run a long race in sunny weather (isn’t that nuts?) so I’m hoping for a first this time around.

I am thankful for free cake.

complimentary white chocolate mousse cake + candle=happy birthday girl!

I am thankful that no matter what happens on Sunday, there will be a Lakers vs. Nuggets game and pizza afterwards.

I’m sorry….no matter what you think about the Lakers or basketball, this is adorable.

I might completely blow up on Sunday, or I might exceed all my expectations. I really don’t know, a lot can happen over 26.2 miles, and sometimes no matter how much prep work you put in, things don’t pan out right. I’m prepared for this (and in case I do blow up and cry for weeks afterward, remind me that I said this ahead of time). However, I am thankful for pre-planning. Specifically food pre-planning—and one thing is for sure that PR or no PR, there will be ample pizza and beer consumption on Sunday night, as well as a viewing of the Lakers winning Game 4 of the playoffs versus the Nuggets, after which I laugh in BF’s face a friendly basketball game between two teams that BF and I happen to heavily separately favor.

I am thankful that I have the opportunity to run a marathon.

I talk a lot about time goals and PR goals and BQing a lot, but when all is said and done—more than anything all I want to do is run. I am so grateful to have the ability to run, and to run 26.2 miles, no matter how fast or slow it might be. After experiencing an injury scare earlier in this training season and reading all about so many bloggers out there that are currently sidelined by injury, my perspective has become a lot more appreciative and humbled.

If you would have told me 2 years ago that I would be running my second marathon on Sunday, I would never have believed you. We all know how that story actually ends, and in two days all the hours and weeks of preparation will come to a 3:xx:xx hour finale. There are some very definite times that I have associated with “I would love to get (this),” “I would be alright getting (this),” and “I guess I’ll be able to live with (this).” However, when all is said and done, Sunday is just another day I get to run…and that, despite any PR or not, is something I am very thankful for.

 

And finally, I am thankful for my readers, my family, and my friends who have and continue to support me through the whole training process:

You all inspire me every day, and you all have provided me with so much strength, encouragement, and guidance in both running and life. The people I surround myself with, including those in the blog world, are so much of the reason I am able to continue running, writing, and believing in myself, and I could not be more thankful for everyone of you.

 

Alright, now that I’ve gotten sappy, let’s end on a bit more of a practical note, shall we?

I have been incredibly allusive and non-disclosing about my time goals for this race. And why? Well, I get scared to say them out loud—because if they don’t happen, well that makes it all the more disappointing knowing that other people know I didn’t live up to my expectations. But, I realized that it’s not fair to share every ounce of my training and race information with you without giving you the dirty time details.

So, if you care to know…here’s my plan for Sunday. There are two pacers I have my eye on. 3:40 and 3:35. If all goes well, I am going to stick near the 3:40 pacer for the first half. If I’m up for it and feeling alright, I’m planning on chasing down the 3:35 pacer after mile 13. We’ll see what happens…perhaps something entirely different…but for now that is my race plan.

I promise I’ll stop typing now…and if you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading, and have yourself a glorious weekend, and I’ll see you on the other side of 26.2 miles!!

Tacoma, BRING IT.


 

 

“Tri” Weekend and Celebrating the Earth

Hello!

I hope you had a great weekend and I hope your week has started off swimmingly. I could be mistaken, but it seems as if everyone is a little bit high on a “it’s getting warmer and sunnier and therefore life is good” kind of mood, meaning there is general cheer in the air. The onset of summer is always an enjoyable time of year, and when you’ve been down-trodden with rain and gloom for several months as we have in the PNW, a little dose of sunshine can go a longgg way.

Case in point: This past weekend.

I normally have a generally good time on the weekend, based on the increase in food consumption, the decrease in computer time, and the amount of running I get to do. However, I can boldly say that I don’t know if I’ve had a better time overall on the weekend as I did this last Saturday and Sunday. Everything was generally perfect, therefore I am going to tell you about it.

Exercise-wise, I was able to do a “tri-series” of sorts over Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Essentially, this means lots of swimming on Friday, lots of spinning of Saturday, and lots of running on Sunday. It was highly enjoyable to mix up my workouts, and I love being able to focus a lot of energy on one solo activity at a time.

I find that when I front load a heavy-exercise weekend with some swimming, everything feels better. As you know, I believe swimming is magic, and my body always seems to enjoy the time spent in the pool.

Although, I will admit, I have a difficult time not getting a tad paranoid when I’m doing laps and the “family area” is filled with 50 toddlers learning to dog paddle. I’m not an uber germ-a-phode or a clean freak, but the thought of swimming in tons of urine is really dampering to the whole experience. I think I’m going to tell my children that if you pee in the pool it comes out bright orange and everyone can see it. This should scare them out of it, right?

Anyways, I don’t normally do a heavy spin day before a long run, but since this week’s LR was only 16 miles, I decided to go for it. And despite my quads feeling a bit tired yesterday at the end of those 16 miles, overall I felt great, and I loved spreading my sweat through tons of different activities.

Also, who am I? I just said “only 16 miles.” Okay, 16 miles is still a long run. Fact. BUT, after 22 last weekend, 16 feels a lot more accessible…particularly when it’s done in 60 degree sunny weather on an all-flat course.

Which brings me to the vitamin-D filled glory that was this weekend.

People, I know we’re not supposed to talk about weather in blogging. But when you have not one, but TWO 70 degree days in Seattle, WA it is a BIG DEAL.

I took full advantage of the splendor, and it was nothing short of fantastic.

Aside from the aforementioned endorphin filled activities, allow me to show you some more highlights.

my backyard

While BF did man things on Saturday, I decided to take full advantage of this beautiful land I live in and took myself to the beach. I spent a solid 2 hours with an ice coffee, an Anne Lamott book, and the sun basking in water-front glory. I actually fell asleep laying against some driftwood, and it was heaven. There are few things more calming to me than being by the water, and given the fact that I was already in a post-spinning/caffeinated state of elation, this whole set up was my essence of perfection.

This also happened on Saturday, which is always a party.

See that “Now Open” sign? Yes, TJ’s has come to West Seattle, a mere 7 or so minute drive from my house. Do I talk too much about grocery stores? Yes. Positively. I will own every ounce of that statement. BUT any TJ’s fan out there will agree with me on the general happiness increase that goes hand-in-hand with your proximity to a store.

I think I could get an award for my excitement for the little things in life. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or it means that I shoot too low in terms of my expectations, but no matter. I love you Trader Joe’s and your cheap almonds and whole wheat pizza dough.

Sunday had the promise of all-day sun, and BF and I were ready to take full advantage. Oh, and take it we did. Not only did we take it, but we took every single hour of the day and squeezed as much sunshine-filled activity out of them as we possibly could.

As I stated earlier, the day started with a 16 miler, completed averaging 8:20 miles (very happy about that) and the biggest blister I’ve ever gotten in my life. With two toenails on their death bed and now this beauty covering my entire pinky toe, I think it’s safe to say I’m ready to be done with training and get this marathon show on the road. I’m in a bit of a pickle because I think my old shoes are the reason for all my foot ailments, however my new shoes make my knee hurt, so it’s really just a debacle between which pain I’d prefer.

Post runs (BF did 10 miles), we walked to our typical bagel spot. Walking in shorts and flip-flops mind you. THIS IS A BIG DEAL.

Blueberry w/cream cheese and strawberry jam. Perfection.

Bagels should be an essential food group.

Afterwards, we decided to take on an endeavor we’ve only talked about hypothetically in the past: Planting a vegetable garden.

You see, we live in a big house that was turned into 5 separate units, and with the whole “living in a real neighborhood in a real house” scenario comes a 24 sq. ft patch of garden with which we can “do whatever we want,” according to our landlord. We both liked the idea of a vegetable garden, however it required not only the soil and the plants, but we needed to remove all the weeds and various shrubbery that had taken over our plot of garden.

As you can imagine, it was easy to procrastinate taking on this activity.

But not yesterday, when being outside was required, and we had a day to do whatever we chose.

So off to the hardware store it was, and we loaded up on all the things you need to be a green-thumb person. Okay, it was actually more like this:

Me: “Oh! Spinach!”

Me: “Ohhh!! Strawberries! Kale!”

BF: “How about….”

Me: “OHH!! PRETTY FLOWERS!”

Bf: “Check this out..”

Me: “Can we get a big chocolate cookie after this?”

Eventually, we made it out with a large variety of vegetables and a few flowers to plant.

Hooray gardening!! Also, those are my running clothes I'm still wearing. It's fine.

I got my cookie too, don’t worry. So did BF.

Also, in a very “we are a semi-adult couple who lives in a semi-adult home” move, we bought PATIO FURNITURE which was on sale. Again with the little things people. Until yesterday, when BF got all handy-man and set up our new table and chairs, the sole piece of furniture on our porch was a little, lone rocking chair. Now, we can do all kinds of fun things out there, including eat dinner, play cards, and make fun of all the people of segway tours that “drive” by our house.

Seriously. WALK.

Anyways, once arriving home and setting up our new sitting area, we got to work on the garden.

You pour the soil BF, I'll document.

After some pulling, clipping, digging, and planting, we had a final product!

Gardening!! Earth Day!! Not going to Safeway for vegetables every day!!

Into the newly poured soil went: spinach, snow peas, kale, strawberries, beets, chard, mint, basil, rosemary, radishes, and flowers. I’m PSYCHED. Now, let’s just see if this actually produces anything…

To celebrate our “manual labor” we headed to the park down the street to play some catch/whiffle ball. Note: It is not easy to play whiffle ball with two people, though it is highly entertaining, and perhaps more entertaining to the people watching.

It was actually after all these activities that I realized it was Earth Day, which made everything so highly appropriate.

I love the sun. I love running. I productive days. I love convincing BF to buy cookies with me.

Did you know these things?

I’m sorry if you’re tired of reading about me getting excited over and over about the exact same things all the time, but what can I say? I’m easy to please and I know what I like.

 

So, that’s all for now. If you made it all this way through my weekend recap, both thank you and I hope you had a great weekend as well. Today begins the less than two week countdown to marathon day, which will be on May 6. I’ve technically begun tapering, but as you can tell by my recap of exercise this past weekend, the real tapering is yet to come. I’m probably going to turn into a crazy, “I HAVE EVERY FEELING IN THE WORLD” person, and so I can almost guarantee some frightening/entertaining posts in these next couple of weeks.

NOW YOU! Tell me about your Earth Day, your weekend, your long run, your favorite grocery store, your simple pleasures, or ALL OF THESE THINGS! I enjoy comments.

Warning: Sparkly Excitement Ahead

You know how you secretly hate those people who are all “Happy Monday!” “Welcome to the week!” “I love life!”? Seriously, pretty much everyone is merely trying to get through this first day of the week, why do you need to shove it in our faces that you are hyped on Prozac and caffeine and unicorns all the time?

Yea, well…today, I am one of those people. So, if you aren’t feeling exclamation points and glass-over-flowing-with-excitement optimism this afternoon, go ahead and quietly scroll your arrow to the little “x” box at the top right corner of your screen and pretend like you were never here. No hard feelings.

Still with me? Sweet! Now let’s make some sweet sweet rainbows and sunshine together.

On Friday, I posted a bit about my hopefulness and hesitation for the fate of my spring marathon aspirations. Due to my knee being a huge a-hole and my training getting thwarted for two weeks, I was coming to terms with the fact that things may not pan out as I’d hoped.

And I was okay with it…I really was.

Then came yesterday’s run. Oh dear, sweet yesterday’s run.

After very grudgingly getting out of bed for an attempted “long run,” I decided that I would be shooting for 16 miles. That was the ideal, and if I had to cut it short, I would accept it. Because that’s the Smart Runner Bird I’m trying to be, remember?

So then, I started to run. And I felt fantastic. And I kept running…and I still felt fantastic.

Call it cortisone, call it rest, call it luck, call it the Aleve I took literally 3 minutes before walking out the door, but no matter what it was…it worked. I kept running, waiting for my bursa sack to inflame and immobilize the rest of my leg the way it had been for the past two weeks.

NADA. NOTHING.

I stopped halfway through to stretch a bit, and while my knee tingled a bit, there was no indication that running was irritating or bothering it in any way. As I started off on the last half, you could not get the smile off my face. It was ridiculous and reminiscent of an elementary school “You Can Do It!” motivational poster…but I just couldn’t help it. The thought, “I’m back!” kept reverberating in my brain, and I relished every moment. It also didn’t hurt that despite a forecast of rain and wind, there was sunshine and {some} wind instead.

So proud of you Seattle, so proud of you knee.

I even threw in a mile long hill at the end of it all with a 300 ft. elevation gain for some added grunt, and the knee seemed to take it all in stride. I felt as if my knee was like, “Okay Robyn, since you actually did the right thing and laid off me I’ll suck it up and get better. You win.”

Total mileage? 17.22

SO PSYCHED. This was super encouraging, as I’ll {hopefully} still be able to get in two, 20+ milers before taper.

Please excuse my overly enthusiastic Tweet yesterday in which I had miscalculated my mileage before mapping it.

awkward.

No problem. 18 would have been great, but 17 is great too.

Side note: I have this weird thing about running distances that are odd numbers. As in, I am really uncomfortable with it, and I almost always try and run even numbers of miles. Half Marathons are great, but 13.1 is scary numerically to me. Fun Fact Monday. Well, maybe not fun, but maybe it helps make you feel more normal?

I even foam rolled afterwards and stretched! Improvements!

I would like to say this face was exaggerated, but that would be a lie. Self portrait attempts + quad mutilation via hunk of foam + face caked in salt= the essence of beauty.

And if I hadn’t already basked in pain-free running glory enough, I decided to do the wise injury-prevention thing and go to yoga yesterday afternoon. It was definitely not my best performance, and I stuck to all the easier versions of the poses, but my calves and hammies were very happy with all the stretchy attention the got. I think I fell asleep for a minute in savasana also, but that must mean I was really meditative and Zen. Right? Good.

And speaking of meditative and happiness and birdies, this was also a necessary end to the day:

Oh buttery, sugar-coated, pink, bird sugar cookie, I love you.

I am feeling wonderfully sore and sleepy today. After not doing a long run for a few weeks, those miles definitely wiped me out in the best possible way. I’m still on the watch for lingering injury pain, but yesterday was definitely a fat ole’ confidence boost kick-in-the-butt. {I also don’t think you can get more adjectives/descriptive nouns in one sentence. Way to go English major, way to utilize your inability to tone down your detailing.}

Nothing like a little patience to really make a run feel like solid gold.

Shake out run today, and presuming things keep going well, I’m looking forward to continuing on in this [final!] month of marathon training.

____

Now… please let me hear your lovely voices! Did you race this weekend? Long run? How’d it go? Are you as sad as I am that Alec Baldwin is engaged?

Friday Favorites: Girl Scout Cookie Tangent

This morning I ran, and it was excellent.

Well okay back up, pretty much every factor involved in this run was working against me, and I didn’t escape it void of any knee pain…but oh boy, did it feel good to run.

To continue on my bad-blogger theme of talking about the weather, I’ll paint a quick picture of what this morning looked like:

Rain, alternating between heavy sudden downpours and lighter sprinkles. You didn’t really know what you were going to get with the rain this morning, and it delivered a smorgasbord of intensity and directional changes. With that said, there was also my least favorite running element present this morning—wind. I can deal with rain, I can even deal with snow, but let it be known that I hate wind with a fiery loathing passion. So that was neat. It was also quite cold, as demonstrated by the fact that my fingers were completely void of any healthy color once I was done. They were a pale yellow, and I’m pretty sure I could have had someone run over my hand with a bike without me even flinching.

Okay, this is getting boring…maybe weather talk should get the boot. But I am very happy with that fact that I was able to run, and it was only a little bit slower than my normal semi-fast-but-not-too-fast pace. My knee bothered me, but once I was done it felt very normal which was encouraging. I think so long as I keep up my icing and stretching and rolling routine, I’ll be able to pull off runningthrough this bursitis.

It’s nice to have a run under my belt after 4 days of being all Whine Birdie Whine and RICE Birdie RICE. Still being cautious, but feeling optimistic. And let’s get real, who can’t be optimistic on a Friday? Especially when Friday means it’s time for some Friday Favorites!

If you’re new, every Friday I like to talk about some of my favorite things, both of the present moment and of all time. Lots of the time they are about food. Other times they are about Glee songs. However, they are all little parts of life that make me smile, and you should play along to! Comment below with some of your favorite things, I love to read them.

Ready…set…go!

My “Look I ran a marathon” Oiselle T-shirt

It took my forever to work up the gall to buy this pretty blue shirt, but I’m so happy I did—and it’s fun having a piece of “runner” clothing that isn’t actually worn during running. Actually, I suppose you could wear it running, but I’d rather wear my permanently smelling old tech tops instead.

I wore this shirt on Monday, when I was feeling particularly down about my dumb knee, and it made me feel the teensiest bit better. I’ve preached the importance of remembering that you’re a runner, even if you’re hurt or in a rut. Wearing this shirt on a downer-day helped me to remember that even if I couldn’t run right then I will be able to again and I was still able to claim the 26.2 title. Thanks, Oiselle. You ladies are awesome.

The Runner’s World Quote of the Day

I’ve gotten in this 21st century habit of checking through all my iPhone gizmos before my eyes are really open in the morning. I really dislike this habit, and although it actually helps me wake up and I find it oddly soothing, I would much rather spend the first ten minutes of my waking day away from technology.

However, the best part about this routine is that I get to start my mornings with a lovely little email from Runner’s World, featuring the “Quote of the Day.” You can sign up to receive them on their website, and it’s really fun/motivating to wake up to the words of wisdom from various runners. Often times the quotes are about running, sometimes they’re about life. Sometimes they’re from Kara Goucher, sometimes their from your Uncle Buck who happens to love running, but no matter the source or the content they always manage to get me started in the right frame of mind.

Also, if I’m about to go for a run, there’s no better motivation than hearing some Yoda of Running jargon beforehand. Or, if I’m feeling lazy—these quotes can be a friendly kick in the butt. I recommend signing up. I don’t recommend playing Words with Friends when you are still half-dreaming.

{A note to all my iPhone game opponents: if you’re wondering why you receive game updates from me before 6 am…this is why. Nice to start my day with you, and yes…I do consider it a disadvantage that I play my moves while still in sleep delirium. Your welcome.}

Girl Scout Cookies

I know I’m preaching to the choir, and by choir I mean the entirety of the United States, when I say that I effing love Girl Scout cookies. Below are my specific reasons, because listing is fun, and I don’t want to bore you with trying-to-be witty prose about the perfect symmetry of Samoas.

  • They are little

As I mentioned last week, I really love little things. These cookies are no exception, particularly because small cookies=more cookies available to eat. People like how Girl Scout cookies are “portion controlled” compared to the normally over-sized nature of other desserts. Sure, this is great, but when I think of something being small, I think, “Oh, that means I can eat MORE of them.” Dessert is more fun when it is divided into 3 or 4 or 8 miniature parts, as opposed to one whole…don’t you think?

  • There are many options

As a cookie savant, my palate is very eclectic…and by eclectic, I mean that I enjoy too many different types of sweets to pick just one. The Girl Scouts of America have recognized this problem, and they have come up with the wonderful solution of providing many flavors that I enjoy, and I consequentially purchase.

If we’re talking specifics…this year I’m into Samoas and Trefoils, although Thin Mints and Tagalongs are long time favorites and have also been purchased.

Also, I hate these new names. When I was a proud GSC seller myself, they were called Caramel Delights, Shortbread, Thin-Mints (no alternative there eh girls?), and Peanut Butter Patties. All kids of the ’90s will agree.

  • They can be stored

I’m actually not a big processed food person, but I do appreciate the fact that you can freeze/store these little gems so that they can be enjoyed for a prolonged period of time.

I think it’s safe to say that for the month-long period of time when Girl Scouts prowl the streets and supermarkets, they are easily the most popular girls in town.

Are you wondering yet why I’m not 200 pounds? Yea, me too.

My “Girl Power” Playlist

I’m into Spotify nowadays, and I like that you can make your own playlists. This past week, I found myself listening to a high number of you-go-girl music and decided to create a femme-centric playlist.

It pumps me up, it keeps me entertained, and it inspires me. Thanks Katy, Lana, and Kelly. You make me want to run and spin and climb Everest and fight the good fight.

Boom! Favorites completed. Sorry for that tangent about my obsession with cookies…that was unplanned, I swear. Maybe I have inspired you to contribute $4 to the adorable badge-clad chickies at your local grocery store next time you’re there. I hear the new lemon ones are all the rage…just rumors though.

Please tell me what you are digging today, and because now I’m curious…what’s your favorite kind of GS cookie? Are you doing a St. Patrick’s Day race? A corned beef and cabbage cook-off? A Guiness keg stand? I don’t recommend this last one…stick to the lighter brews, but if you are doing this…tell me how you accomplished such a feat. You must be Irish.

Friday Favorites: Comfortable Pace and Being Kind

We made it to Friday. Did this week seem especially long to anyone else? I’ve been thinking it’s Friday since about Tuesday night, and I’ve been pining for the weekend ever since.

Sweet, it’s nearly here.

This weekend has some serious running endeavors planned out, and I’m a little afraid. Mainly because Sunday is supposed to be a—GAH—20 mile run.

Damnit. I said it, therefore I’m accountable.

I’m planning on approaching it with this mindset: I’ve done it before, it’s only two miles more than I ran two weeks ago, and there will be many cookies on either end of it.

Also, I have this new strategy in tackling long runs—or any run, for that matter—and it’s new to me. It’s called: Running at a Comfortable Pace.

Groundbreaking, right?! I have this really horrible fixation on running at or below MP(Marathon Pace) on, oh, every run I do. It’s not an extremely difficult pace, but it’s not exactly comfortable either. This habit is so silly. Runs do not always need to be as fast as you ideally would want, and in fact it’s good for you to do some slow and steady miles in addition to quicker runs.

Blah, blah, blah…I know this, and I need to get better. Unfortunately, I am a distance runner who still has the brain of her former sprinter self. However, yesterday morning I was incredibly intent on running at a comfortable pace. I knew not checking my watch and panicking if I wasn’t around 8:00 minute miles would be hard, but I really wanted to just “feel it” instead of push it. Highly successful run; I finished 12 miles in 1:41:30, and although it’s not MP, it’s not bad for being a very comfortable run.

Let’s get to some favorites though, and I’ll leave 20 sweaty miles for Sunday AM.

– $5 round-trip airfare

HOLLA

Thanks to lucky timing and to my Alaska Airlines credit card, I ended up paying out-of-pocket FIVE DOLLARS for my spring vacation to my home turf of Los Angeles, CA. Okay, yea sure, that also means that I won’t have another free flight until I purchase thousands of dollars worth of things on my card—but the novelty of a $5 flight is still awesome.

That being said, I am PUMPED for this trip. I love to travel, whether it’s to a place I’ve never been or to a place I’ve been dozens of times. I’ll be meeting up with my family for a week of desert camping (better than it sounds) and perusing through Lotus Land looking for Seth and Sandy Cohen.

– My Timex watch

This was a 10 miler I clocked recently. NBD

You can keep your fancy Garmins and heart rate monitors. My little blue Ironman Timex and I are just peachy-keen happy with one another. I got this guy(or maybe it’s a girl, I actually never thought about it) a little over three years ago, and s/he’s been kicking ever since.

Don’t tell my baby blue, but I have toyed with the idea of getting a real Garmin watch. I know it all—keeping logs of my heart rate, my splits, my mileage, etc. would be an ideal addition to training. I know someday (don’t tell lil blue!) I’ll get one, however for right now I like not knowing my miles and calories burned on a moment’s notice. There’s something fun about doing the math after a run to figure out my pace and rate, and even when I do get all fancy and digital I plan on keeping my trusty Timex sidekick around. She(I decided female feels right) and I have been through a lot together in my life as a runner, and I could never, actually, let her go.

– Holiday Appropriate M and M’s

If you ask me to make dessert, I WILL make too much and I WILL bring options

Correction: Accessorizing Desserts with Holiday Appropriate M and M’s

BF and I decided that for V-day, we would make dinner together and he would provide the libations and I would provide the dessert. Obviously I was torn with this task; not because it was too daunting or I didn’t have time, but because the possibilities were too endless. In the end, I couldn’t decide and ended up just supplying us with two options. This was a very good idea, despite the fact that I think I’m still sweating brownie batter.

And yes, the plate above was originally intended for the two of us.

And no, we did not finish all of it. I do have some self control people—and plus, the best part of making yummy things is having BF bring them to his office and therefore winning girlfriend points.

– My Car

{This isn't actually my real car, but it's pretty darn spot on}

So I didn’t actually own a car myself until I graduated college, therefore buying this car was not only a milestone in becoming an adult, it was a milestone in gaining automotive liberty!

I absolutely love this little Toytoa Corolla, named Glinda, and she’s been a trooper ever since I got her—off Craigslist, I’ll have you know. Sure, she’s had some interesting moods at times, as in she doesn’t feel like starting, or she doesn’t feel like shutting down the engine when the key is out of the ignition…THIS HAPPENED.

BUT this little girl has been quite reliable, and I still perk up whenever I see her ready to take me all the places I need to go.

– Random Acts of Kindness

This photo is completed unrelated. But it works for some reason, doesn't it? Also, you're welcome.

Listen up: Today is National Random Act of Kindness Day!

I will fully admit that I think this recent onset of “National” holidays is a bit fishy, but as someone who both loves holidays and communal kindness, I’ll pay attention to this one.

Something I wholeheartedly believe in is the concept of Paying it Forward. We live in a world where approximately 99% of our energy is focused on Number One. We are self-serving creatures by nature, and in a lot of ways we cannot help it—it’s how we’re hardwired in order for survival. However, since I’m pretty sure that the majority of Americans aren’t currently being run down by lions and are within 50 miles of some source of food, I think we can take at least a day to do something for someone else.

{And if you are currently being hunted by safari animals or you’re in a desolate region without food or water, WTF are you doing reading this blog? Also, I know you have either a smart phone or a laptop, therefore I don’t really feel bad for you.}

Moving on, I dare you to try reaching outside of yourself to do one nice thing for someone else. It takes such little effort, but it can make—in my opinion—all the difference in the world. It’s as simple as giving the change in your pocket to the homeless man you pretend to ignore every day, complimenting a stranger on their bag (this should be genuine—btw), or paying for a stranger’s coffee. I am convinced that acts of kindness have a chain reaction, and they are a perfect example of small efforts making a big difference. Paying it Forward is one of the most accessible and simplest ways in which we can make a change in our world. And frankly, with all the hostility, anger, and self-absorption that clouds our outlook on society—we could all use a little more kindness. I truly believe this, and I think you’ll find that doing something nice for someone else will bring a spring to your step as well.

Kindness doesn’t need to be altruistic. But we do need more of it.

 

5 more faves in the bag! I hope you are getting psyched for your weekend ahead, and if you’re willing to share…

What Random Act of Kindness have you received before? What are your Friday Favorites?

I Try to Only Talk About Running…

…but then I get all existential and philosophical about life. I can’t help it, and I blame running. You see, running is a sport, indeed, but it’s also my therapy, my quiet space, and my drawing board. That’s why my posts seem to read like a self-help book sometimes, and I’m sorry about that.

This post, furthermore, which was supposed to be all about my awesome start to marathon training, turned into a combination of thoughts on running and happiness. Which, at least to me, somehow always go hand-in-hand.

But I digress….moving on:

There’s something magical about good days.

Yesterday was a good day, and I loved it. Let me tell you why.

I’ll preface it with something I realized yesterday, as things were going swimmingly, and it’s something I need to recognize more in my own life.

It’s important for us to pay attention when things are going good. And I mean really, really pay attention. Whether our good moods are due to the events and people around us, or simply because our stars have aligned correctly, I’ve found that taking notes on why we’re feeling so good fills us with a feeling of gratitude.

And gratitude, in my opinion, influences everything for the better: It shines a light on all the good things going on in our lives, while simultaneously taking power away from the not-so-good things. When we’re appreciative of the things we have, the things we don’t have seem to become less important, and we can focus our energy instead on all the positives around us. And when you start looking, there are a lot of positives.

In other words, acknowledging just one good thing can be infectious…and I credit this practice to why yesterday was so darn good.

I started out the day clad in rain-ready running gear, which was a very good decision as it rained the entire run and continued to rain, oh, the whole day after. Love you Seattle, love you.

The rain didn’t matter on this run though, as it was as close to perfect of a run as I can hope for.

I felt strong, calm, and completely balanced in terms of my energy. I normally feel alright from miles 1-3, great from 4-8, and then meh from 9-10 on my normal Tuesday runs, however yesterday I felt fantastic the entire time. Also, I ran dead even 8-minute splits, which I was psyched about. I’m not going to say out loud that I might be secretly training to run 8:10 miles for 26.2 miles in the hope that a certain race in a certain town might accept me to run in 2013, but if I were—this run would make me feel more confident about such a goal.

Afterward, I lifted and foam rolled and basked in the quintessential essence of a runner’s high.

Moving on, I continued to let this great start to my day weave its way into my morning: I had a fantastic breakfast, I worked productively, I smiled at everyone, and all that other flowers and sunshiney stuff that happens when you’re in a great mood.

I practiced yoga at my lunch break with my favorite instructor, and to my elation was able to hold a hand stand for TEN SECONDS. This never happens. Normally I’m just kicking back and forth on my mat whenever handstand time comes around, however the magic of the day infused itself in my shoulders and I was able to hold it. I was PUMPED, and the instructor winked at me after I came down.

{giddy}

I rode the wave of gratitude for these small tokens of affirmation, and the rest of my day continued to be all-around wonderful.

When I got home, BF had made cookies again (twice in a week!), and we made dinner together and watched a riveting episode of Dexter. Please understand the joy of walking up to your front door and, without even opening it, smelling freshly baked cookies inside.

Yes, I picked the right guy.

Except I’m getting concerned his chocolate chip cookies might compete with mine….and therefore we might have an issue…

So there you have it. As I look back, nothing was spectacular about the day: Babies weren’t born (well, they were somewhere, but I did not see them therefore it doesn’t count), I didn’t win the lottery, and no one knocked on my door with a basket full of golden retriever puppies. In fact, my day was 100% normal: I ran, I worked, I yoga’ed, I hung out with BF, and I watched Dexter slice up people’s cheeks(it’s a good thing, trust me.) However, these are all the things that make me happy on a day-to-day basis, and yesterday I feel like I was able to fully appreciate what each of them brings to my life.

It’s the little things, truly, and I’m learning more every day that being present isn’t just for yoga class or meditation—it’s for every day. The beautiful thing about the present is that it’s always there, waiting for you the look up say hello to it.