Sunday, June 29, 2014

5Ks, failures, and flowers

Yesterday, I ran a 5k as part of a neighboring city's Summerfest. I have not done speed work since March, so this was going to be my test 5k.

On Friday, I out it out there via Facebook and Twitter that I was going to set a new PR in the 5k this summer. I reasoned that the Summerfest 5k would give me a good benchmark.

So, I showed up, signed up, and met my new running friend Dana. I had mentally decided to try for 7:45/mile average, would would be just shy of my current PR. Pacing is often difficult for me, so if I could just pace well, I'd feel ready to tackle a new PR next time. We lined up, and then the gun went off.

I took off. I didn't feel like I was pushing too hard, but I knew I needed to reign it in a tiny bit when the first glance at my watch at 1/2 mile read 3:18 Whoops. By now, the gun-sprint-jitters had worn off, so I felt I could settle into a pace. As the course twisted and turned, I started picking off runner from one of the high school track teams as they fell behind their herd one at a time. By mile marker 1, I'd passed an entire team!

Split: 7:28 (I refused to look when my Garmin beeped, though).

Mile 2 is always more difficult. I struggle to keep even most times, so I focused on picking off the runners ahead. First this guy, then that girl, then this young boy, all while trying to keep leg turnover steady and effortless. 

My legs felt fabulous. My lungs were struggling a bit, but still not bad.

Split: 7:44

I was doing it! Staying close to goal pace! The final mile, I kept chanting to myself, "hang on, hang on, hang on!" I picked off several more runners (I only got passed by one runner the entire time), and finally, rounded the last of the million corners and saw the finish. I read the clock, and my inner monologue switch to my favorite on the bike: "CRANK CRANK CRANK!"

I crossed the line in 23:46.

That's a 2 second PR. Through my gasping and wheezing as I searched for water, I smiled. 

The failure of the day? I didn't get a single picture!

So here's one of the shirt:
Definitely not grey! 

(Three shirts in a row this spring were grey)

Since I failed with race photos, here's a few random flower shots from around the yard:

And Matty thought I smelled great after an afternoon bike ride:

How is your weekend going? 

Do anything fun? After the 5k. I rode an easy 4 miles while the Husbeast rode his unicycle. I rode 9.8 miles and ran 1.37 (odd distances, I know) today, and am super happy that the Netherlands just advanced in the World Cup!!!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014


Normally, I wouldn't post twice in a row like this... But a glitch kept the previous post from uploading when I first tried it two days ago, and I have some important news to share:


We took him to the pet store to pick out a new toy. I think he likes it.

Do you celebrate pet birthdays?


I don't quite know what to do with myself right now.

I don't have a single race left on my schedule for the year. There are some small 5ks in the area in July and August that I will probably run, assuming I'm still in this area... And that is why I have nothing official on my schedule. The whole limbo thing.

I've decided to get creative to fill my time.

Friday night, I went to a Wine and Canvas event to paint that picture.

It's loosely based off of a famous Van Gogh:

I can't have wine, but they did have a platter of salami and cheese and crackers, so my night was Snacks and Canvas. Seriously, I can get on board with a relaxed art class that lets me eat while I paint! (Sorry, no photo of the cute plate of food-because I ATE IT!!!!)

I enjoyed most of the process. It was a good refresher course, since it haven't painted in 8 or 9 years. But, I did take some artistic license as the night went on, and pretty much started tuning out the instructor at one point. Such a rebel. I learn from the best- my mother pretty much went off the rails as soon as we were done with the vase portion and did her own thing.

The fascinating thing about the night was how even though all 24 people were painting the "same" picture, there were 24 very different finished products! Just look at how different mine is from my mom's:

Neither one really looks like the W&C inspiration picture, nor do they look much like the Van Gogh. 

I find is interesting how much bolder the color is in mine, where my mom used a softer pallets. And I have bold, heavy brush strokes where hers are softer, thin, delicate. Her paint. Layers are transparent, where men are saturated. And then there is flower size. Mine started out so big I decided not to paint several of the smaller flowers, and improvised with a dried sunflower to fill in on the left, while my mom's flowers are smaller, delicate, and more plentiful, with her dried sunflower head close to the inspiration picture's shape and placement.

A psychologist could have a field day with these.

Ever done a "painting party" or something similar?

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Before 30 Bucket List- DONE!!!

So, a couple years ago, I started a pretty short, mostly-athletic "before 30" bucket list. It grew a bit as I accomplished some items, but by my 29th birthday, it was finalized, and mostly accomplished. Here's the athletic part of the list:

1. Run a half marathon (I have now completed 9)
2. Run a full marathon (completed 5)
3. Run a Tough Mudder (completed 2, plus a Spartan and a Warrior Dash)
4. Run an ultra marathon (completed 2)
5. Do a triathlon 

As of yesterday, I can say it's done!!!!!!! With 5 months to spare, too.

Now, I can start making the Before 40 bucket list. Which will be big. Maybe not long, but big athletic feats.

1. Half Ironman.
2. Century ride on my bicycle.
3. Full Ironman.
4. Qualify for and run Boston.

Boom. There it is. Four huge goals. I have ten years to nail them, and in theory, the first two goals are stepping stones towards the third, and all that cross training just might keep helping me get faster.

A girl can dream. And dream big.

What goals have you set for yourself?

Do you have a before 30/40/50 etc list? Make one! Your are much more likely to accomplish something once you put it in writing! 

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Ideal Beach Triathlon!

I participated in my first-ever triathlon today.

While wearing a fish swim cap. Yep.

I finished the 150 yd swim without drowning, and I was not last!!!! 

I suck at swimming, have only swam once (last weekend) in the last two years, so that was a win.

I finished the bike without falling, and passed 6 people.

I finished the run after passing many more (6? 7? Not sure).
I had fun with a perfect stranger, Liz, who beat me by under a minute (and she snagged third overall).
And I won my age group! Ok, so I was the only one. But I checked last year's times, and I still would have won. So there.

I call that a pretty good day.

How is your weekend shaping up? I'm ready for a nap now!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

A rare non-running weekend... Sort of.

Last Saturday, my cousin got married. See, I don't always wear workout clothes! The Husbeast had to work so I was flying solo. I need a pin with his face on it for these things that says, "he's in the Air Force" so I don't have to answer the where-is-he question all night!

We got up early to make the drive, then changed at the hotel. I'll be honest, it felt odd putting on a dress instead of a race bib on a Saturday!

...but I did sneak in some training between the wedding and the reception. I nailed a swim in 4:30 (it was somewhere over 150 yards, not sure exactly because the pool was 19 strides long and I know my strides average 34 inches, so by swimming 10 lengths for time I'd have a good guesstimate of slightly more than necessary for race day. You follow?)
And then I ran 1.25 miles. I would have biked, too, but there wasn't a spin bike.

After that, I played euchre with my mom, brother, and SIL, before getting cleaned up again for the reception.
And shenanigans ensued. That's what makes a good party, right? Hey, if my cousin's family payed for a vodka ice luge, we had to make sure it was put to good use!

Even after having so much fun, I got up again on Sunday morning to run 1.5 miles (the hotel treadmills were about 5 miles from falling apart, so by logging less than three, I felt safe. Seriously, worst treadmills I've ever used, but better than nothing!).

We rounded out the weekend with breakfast with one side of the family, and lunch with the other. To quote my Uncle don, I'm the only family member crazy enough to swim/run in between festivities, but at this point, they expect it out of me.

I'll take that as a compliment!

Last wedding you attended?

Does your family think you're crazy for any good reason? I don't mind being called crazy for being dedicated!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Vega Performance Protein Review

Vega Bar Blogger photo Badge_Vega200_zps53a557dd.png

I was given the opportunity to sample Vega through Fit Approach. When my samples arrived, I was beyond excited- do you know how difficult it is to find a protein powder that does not contain carrageenan, gums, and other thickeners (to which I'm allergic)???? AND NO PEANUT??

Yeah. I was stoked.

The first thing I did when it arrived was check out the ingredients:

I always verify ingredients on the label to make sure I didn't miss an allergen. Thankfully, I'm not allergic to anything here!

Next, it was time to taste. The protein arrived 2 days before the Indy Mini Marathon, so I tossed a packet in my overnight bag to take with me. Vega's current campaign is called Fuel Your Better, and since I planned on three half marathons in May, the timing seemed just right.

Check it out- they explain many of the common training complaints-sore legs, slow recovery- and how you can take steps to alleviate them. Seriously, check it out! I'll wait.....
Ok, you back? Cool.

After the Indy Mini, I poured a pouch into my blender bottle and added about a cup of water, shook it up, and tasted.... Well, it wasn't bad. Definitely not too sugary. The chocolate notes of the flavor were good. But there is a strong undertone of grassy-leafy-plant flavor. But it wasn't bad. 

Taste test number two: the next week, I ran another half marathon. This time, I used only about half the water. It still tasted "green" (by that I mean like plants), but definitely better with less liquid.

The third time, I added it to a cup of milk. Yes, cow's milk. I am clearly not a vegan, and adding dairy to a vegan protein powder is probably sacrilege to some of you, but a girl's got to do what a girl's got  to do. It tasted much better with milk, dare I say good? So, for those of you who are vegan, perhaps adding soy milk or almond milk instead of water would make it more palatable if you have an issue with the taste.

Perhaps my favorite way to consume it from my tests? MUFFINS!!!!!
I used this recipe, except I cut the flour to 3/4 cup, the cocoa to 1/3 cup, and used one whole pouch of Vega performance protein (which is about 1/3 cup... ish). I also used whole wheat flour instead of all purpose, and threw in a tablespoon of chia seed, because I can. They made the whole house smell like chocolate doughnuts! And they taste like chocolate doughnuts. Yum!!!!!!!

To sum it up: I would recommend Vega performance protein based on its limited ingredients and sound nutritional base. If you are vegan or used to consuming "healthy" tasting products, the taste probably won't be an issue; however, if you are used to sweeter products, this one is not for you.

I would recommend experimenting to find the proper ratio of liquid-to-powder, and trying different liquids with which to mix it.

So, tell me: how do you Fuel Your Better?

Protein: yes or no? Favorite flavor? I'll try chocolate-flavored anything.

Disclosure: I was given the product for free; all opinions are 100% my own. I do not receive any compensation for purchases made through the links provided. This review is meant to inform and hopefully entertain.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Throwback Thursday

My very first organized bicycle race. Elkhart used to host a three-day event called the Great Race, which included a marathon and several shorter runs, a couple road bike races, fun walks, and a tricycle relay. Neither my brother's team nor mine made it very far in the tourney of trike races, but it was fun!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014


Thank goodness that small scab is all that remains from yesterday's wreck.

Yep, I fell off my bicycle again.

I was riding the triathlon course, flying around the last curve when fwip! I got a flat tire and my bike and I went down. I was more angry than anything else, and had to call the Husbeast to come get me. Some small piece of metal/wire punctured my tire and tube.*^%#*!

I finished my brick when I got home by running something over a mile... Not sure how far, though, because the fall must have shaken up my Garmin- it failed to record distance.

And I dropped my sunglasses in the driveway and they broke.

C'est la vie.

I'm just glad that when I woke up this morning, my wrist and foot felt 95% better.

Lesson learned: I can handle disaster.

In a weird way, I'm glad this happened. Now, if anything happens on race day, I know I can manage.

Tell me something random.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Summer Run Streak

Can you find the deer?
Sunday morning, I got up at 7 to get my mile in. Early mornings make me happy I sleep in socks- one less thing to put on! And I felt pretty darn good for the day after a half.

Monday was the flat tire debacle.

Tuesday I ran to a friend's mom's house since she's in town, then we did a short run before I headed home and did some speed work with the Husbeast.

Today, I got up at 6 for no reason other than to get my run done before the rain.

This is historic, people. Longest run streak ever for me. I love Runner's World for putting these on, and I love that this one I actually am keeping up with.

Are you streaking?

Did you celebrate National Running Day today?

Nearly-silent Saturday: Sunburst Half Marathon

Too much sparkle? NEVER!!!

So happy to see my momma at the finish.

Finished in 2:04:08. Hot and hilly, so I'm happy.