Friday Five: Fall Preview

It’s time for Friday Five, folks! Once again, I’m joining the Friday Five link up with the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run.  Earlier this week I had been thinking about making a fall bucket list, but decided it could wait. I’m working on getting excited for fall, but I also feel like summer just got here! I’ve still got one thing to check off my summer bucket list… I want to make it to one more baseball game! But when the Friday Five theme was announced, “Fall Preview,” I decided it was time to think about fall!

But quickly before fall… head over HERE to see what I was up to during summer! (I am going to miss summer…)

Fall Bucket List
1) Finish my half marathon training and run the race! After an extraordinarily humid Chicago weekend, it will be nice to run in slightly cooler weather! (But not yet! I’m not done with summer yet!) I blame this pace on the heat and humidity!

Holy Humidity!

Holy Humidity!

2) Take a hike in crunchy leaves. I love walking through the woods with perfect fall sun with crunch leaves underfoot. The company doesn’t hurt either.

Hike
3) Make chai teas lattes and pumpkin lattes at home! Last year I started making chai lattes at home with instruction from Cassie over at Back to Her Roots, and they are delicious! Two years ago I had attempted a pumpkin latte (also from Back to Her Roots), and it was a bit of a failure, but I want to master it this year.

4) One other shorter race. I love fall, and fall mornings are even better. I love the crisp air. There’s no better way to enjoy mornings than with a race! I’ve been trying to find one for boyfriend and I to run that fits around my half training, his crazy work travel schedules, and other various commitments like a cousin’s wedding. So far… I haven’t had much luck. But I’m working on it!

5) Trip to the farm! My family has a farm in the boonies, and it’s a pretty great place to go. One weekend last year I went and hung out with my family to pick apples and grapes. We made our goodies into grape jelly, grape juice and apple cider. Boyfriend and I took some of the grape juice and are making it into wine!

Farm

That’s it, guys!  Top 5 for fall! Now I am even more excited about fall!

What about you?  What’s on your schedule for fall?

Have a great (3-day!) weekend!

Friday Five: 5 Things to Love About…

Once again, I’m joining the Friday Five link up with the ladies of Eat Pray Run, DC, You Signed Up For What and Mar on the Run.  This weeks theme… Five Things to Love About *Blank.*  My choice?

Five Things to Love About Running!

1) Fun race locations. Last year there was a new runway opening at Chicago’s O’Hare airport with a race to celebrate. I LOVE all things air travel… planes, air ports and my traditional in-flight tomato juice. I love seeing planes taking off and landing. Dorky? Maybe. But I just had to run that race. Other awesome places I’ve run… Lambeau Field (GO GREEN BAY PACKERS) and US Cellular Field (the Chicago White Sox). There is a race a Miller Park (The Milwaukee Brewers) that is on my future list of races.

This disaster of a picture was taken while running through the player's tunnel at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

This disaster of a picture was taken while running through the player’s tunnel at Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI.

2) New distances = automatic PR. On the 4th of July, they boyfriend and I met up with a friend to run a 4 mile race, “4 on the 4th.” Totally new distance, so anything is a PR! Boyfriend says, “wouldn’t that make it more of a base time?” Hush, you. It’s a PR. No goal going in, but after a while I noticed I was pretty much on pace for 40 minutes. 10:00/mile is pretty good for me, but I knew I’d have to keep at it during the last mile to make it. No slow last mile like I normally end up with. I went around the last corner and… hill. Ha! I had forgotten about the downhill in the beginning. I had to haul a$$ up that mountain, but I made it! 39:47.

4onthe4th

3) Pretty scenery and adventures. New running routes put some new adventure in training, and they can be so pretty! Running on the trails behind my office and I found this adorable little spot.

McD

4) New friends. In preparation for half number two, I joined a training group! Last time I did most of the training by myself. 12 miles solo? Long! Last night was the first night and my new running buddies and I pounded out just over four miles while chatting and getting to know each other. It’s so fun to know that I get to hang with these lovely ladies for the next three months leading up to our big day.

Running Group #1 

5) Satisfaction and accomplishment. It’s a great feeling watching yourself (and all your running buddies!) improve, finish races, succeed at goals. You get out of running what you put into it and a little hard work can go a long way in making progress. You can do ANYTHING with the right mind set.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

What’s your favorite thing about running?

Half Training, Month 1

The first month of my half marathon training has come and gone. Unfortunately, this month of training only held three weeks of running.  Whoops.  More on that later.

My training plan starts out slow.  I mean really slow.  But that’s just how I like it.  I’m using the same training plan I used for my last half; I liked it and it worked well.  By that I mean, I crossed the finish line.

The first week of the plan calls for a total of 3.5 miles in the week.  Woo!  Got that in the bag, plus a day of weight training and two yoga classes.  Two yoga classes in a week almost never happens, and it was a treat.

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Week two called for weekly mileage of 4.5, and I snuck in 6.85, plus one day of weights and a day at the driving range (that’s cross-training, right?).  What put me over mileage goal was a run with a friend.  There are some trails near my work’s office, so  she met me there after work and we took off.  We were chatting and running and ended up with a nice round 5k.  Saturday night was a friend’s wedding… dancing is cross training too, right?

Week three the plan says 6 miles, and put in 6.1.  For cross-training I had, a day at the gym with rowing and weights, a day with a yoga class and then the softball game I subbed for.  I also ran the Watermelon Virtual 5k hosted by Jess of Run With Jess.

Week four… I fell off the train.  Plan said 7 miles…. I ran a whopping zero.  Yes,  zero miles.  One should not run zero miles during half training, but I did.  I did do a spin class on that Monday, though.  Then I left for vacation immediately after work on Wednesday.  I hauled all of my workout gear up to the north woods of Wisconsin with the best intentions.  Alas, I never used it.  We did some hiking and lots of fishing, so I didn’t have zero physical movement on vacation, but no runs.  When I ran on vacation last year, I got up before everyone else and got my runs in.  However, this time when we were fishing we were getting up early.  It was all I could do to drag my butt out of bed to go fish, let alone up earlier to run and then go fish.  Excuses, excuses, I know.

So there’s month one! 3 months to go!

Beach Running Memories

Happy Friday, folks!

I’m off on a family vacation, ‘cabin-ing’ as I’ve been calling it.  I’ve been told I can’t call it camping, if we’re not staying in a tent. But there will be family, fishing and relaxation.  And laughing, lots of laughing.

This has inspired flashbacks to last year’s summer vacation, the same week.  Last year we went to Gulf Shores, Alabama.  This year we’re in middle-of-nowhere Northern Wisconsin.  Vastly different, equally as awesome.

We rented a house on the beach last year, woke up to the sound of ocean waves, and had a ton of fun (and sunburns).  To a Midwestern girl, the waves sounded like magic.  This was the view; beach chair, the sound of waves and a cup of coffee.  Perfection.

Beach View

 

But what is vacation with out some running with a view?  I had never run on the beach before, and I went twice while we were there.

Observation number 1: HOT.  And by hot I mean humid. So humid.  Even if I went at 7 am each time.  Clearly I needed to go earlier.

Footprints

Observation number 2: It’s hard! I didn’t know where to run on the sand.  Up too far on the sand, and it’s too soft to not fall over.  Down farther towards the water, where the sand was firmer, my shoes got attacked with water if I wasn’t paying attention to extra large waves.  Which I often wasn’t, considering I was trying not to fall over in the sand.

Shoes

 

Even through the heat, humidity, and hard work.  It was a lot of fun.  Hopefully I’m getting in some good vacation work outs this year too!

 

What about you?  Do you work out on vacation?  Do you run on the beach?

Softball and Spinning – Treat Yourself Tuesday!

One of my revised 2014 Goals was to keep varying my work outs and learning new things. When a friend texted and said her co-ed softball team was short some ladies and could I help out, I jumped at the chance! I showed up to their pre-game warmups and tried to remember how to catch a ball. It’s only been a good 10 years since I’ve tried to play softball or baseball. It took me a while before I remembered some of my skills, and was perfectly mediocre. Ha! I swung the bat a few times, and actually hit it most of the time! A few hits down the 3rd base line, too. Of course that was only during practice. I did manage to hit the ball every time I was up to bat, but as I learned, 1st base is far away, and they managed to throw me out at first every time. Boooo. I did score a run though! You have to bat boy-girl-boy-girl (which makes me think of this totally unrelated, spectacular movie), and if a guy walks, the girl behind gets to walk too. Woo! I got on base! And then with another walk, I got to 3rd. Aaaand with one more walk I got all the way home to scoooooore! Is it totally fun? Yes. Was it because of anything I did? Absolutely not. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. But I certainly found some softball-throwing muscles in my arm and some bat-swinging muscles in my back that are apparently never used. The next day at work, whenever I moved my hand from my mouse to my keyboard, my whole arm sure felt heavy!

My next new fitness adventure was a return to a cycle class! I have now officially gone to a cycle class three entire times. Ha! I went twice about a year and a half ago, but the class was at kind of an inconvenient time with my work schedule. I now have a new job and some of the classes align better with my new schedule. I was also in the market for bike shorts. I finally found some inexpensive ones to give a try. I just couldn’t rationalize the $50+ price tag for something I didn’t know if I would stick with. Once they came in the mail, I made plans to go to the next class I could (and drug the boyfriend along for his first class!) It was just as good of a workout as I remembered! I will admit though, I could have pushed myself harder. Don’t get me wrong, I was sweating and my legs were tired! But I didn’t want to hurt myself. I haven’t been in so long, I’m mid-training for another half… yeah yeah, excuses excuses. But now that I know how my body responds, I know I can push a little more next time!

IMG_2686.JPG

 

Because these workouts were such a treat, I think I’ll link up with Becky over at Olives n’ Wine for Treat Yourself Tuesday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Do you play any rec league sports?
I just might have to find my own team to join. That was fun!

2014 Goals, Part 2

My 2014 goals are 50% complete, and 50% forgotten.  Time for a redo!

1) I’m going to stick with the idea of meal planning.  I just don’t think that any time soon I will be a person who sits down with a pen and paper, decides on recipes and makes shopping lists, etc.  Now, if you are that person, you are amazing, and I envy you.  But I’ve tried that in the past and it turned out to be a lot of pressure! I felt like I was failing at meal planning.  If I can start off the week with food in my fridge to make a few meals, I’m doing great and I’ll feel good about it.  Those Sunday evenings where I go to the fridge to pack Monday’s lunch and I find ketchup and barely anything that ever grew in the ground are terrible and need to end.

2) Vary my work outs! If you had asked me January 1st what kind of exercise I’d be doing this year I would have said running. Period.  Maaaaybe with a few elliptical sessions and strength training thrown in there.  Since then, I have discovered weight training (is there anything more empowering than bench pressing?!), the rowing machine at the gym and… yoga.  Love yoga.  I have really seen improvements in how much I can lift and in my yoga classes.  I now only topple over once or twice a class, as opposed to before when I’d topple over multiples times a pose.  Baby steps, folks.  So I want to keep going with my new discoveries, and maybe I’ll even find something new and exciting!

3) Half marathon.  But wait, you say, she said she completed this goal?!  Yeah, I did! Finished my first back in May.  When I wrote out those goals in January I was terrified of a half marathon, couldn’t figure out what I got myself into.  Little did I know that 2014 would contain TWO half marathons! I’m registered for another in November.  While I completed my goal of simply finishing the race, there were a ton of things on that day that were a mess.  Some were rookie mistakes (and I knew it as I was making them! But I told myself, “aaahh… it will be fiiiiine.” Famous last words) and some were completely out of my control, like the necessary addition of cough drops and day quil to my running belt.  So with the second half, I’m taking another shot; no more rookie mistakes, and hopefully I won’t be so dang ill!

So that’s it!  Kind of broad, but I’m excited.  They’ll be ways to incorporate more well-rounded healthy habits, rather than just focusing on one specific item at a time, which is a life goal anyway!

How are your 2014 goals going?  Did you have a mid-year re-do, re-group of your goals?

Goals

Running Group Re-Group

I haven’t spent a weekend at home in over a month. I love summer, but WOW. This has been crazy. First was a road trip to help a darling friend craft centerpieces for her wedding. Then I took a trip to Iowa to see family. The following weekend was another road trip to visit family in Wisconsin aaaand back home for a bachelorette party. Next, which was last weekend, was the big wedding day for this bride we’ve been celebrating. Crazy fun, crazy exhausting. This weekend? Home.

And I got to meet up with some running buddies Saturday morning! Fantastic time to chat about life, catch up, and get in a run on a local trail.

Saturday Run

 

One quick week back though, and then I’m outie from the Saturday morning runs with these guys for quite a while.  I’m on vacation next week (more on that soon!), and following that my half marathon training group starts up, and they meet at basically the same time.  It’s a bummer, but I’m excited for the new training group! I trained for the last one all by my lonesome, so I’m excited for comrades.

Hope you’re all having fabulous weekends!