Friday, December 15, 2017

Holiday Traditions

We are well and truly into December.  I started to feel like the month was getting away from me, even though this is only the second week of the month.  I know I'm going to be useless next week, and I'm not sure I'll get anything done at work.  Start the countdown!  One week from today, I'll be waking up at my parents' house, which is why I'm jumping ahead to next week's topic: holiday traditions.

1) I mentioned this in my recap from Thanksgiving, but we're getting out the Rudolph Monopoly since trying to do a 1500 piece puzzle didn't work the past 2 years.  The puzzle was of Disneyland Main Street, and was extremely complicated.

2) Watching A Muppet Christmas Carol.  I love watching this one on Christmas Eve.  I still have other Christmas movies to get through, but since we're supposed to get snow Saturday afternoon and evening, a movie will be perfect that day.

3) Seeing Star Wars.  Since Disney is releasing the new Star Wars movies mid-December, my parents and I have been seeing them around Christmas.  Let the big crowds see it first, we can wait.

4) Christmas dinner.  When my mom was down last weekend, we ordered the standing rib roast for our traditional dinner: roast, dried corn, oven browned potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding.

5) Holiday treats.  Along with Christmas dinner, we normally make fun desserts for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  This year we're buying them from a great local bakery in Arvada.  It's heaven in that bakery!  My dad is picking all of this up, and driving Allie and me up for our Christmas break.

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Into the New Year 2018

As I mentioned yesterday, 2018 is almost here, and it's hard to comprehend how fast it'll be here.  Didn't we just start 2017?  It's been quite a year for me, moving to a new state and starting my new job.  Except it's not new anymore since I packed up everything in Dallas on 12/17 last year.  My Facebook memories are keeping me updated with what I was doing this week last year.  Crazy.

A new location meant new resources, and I think I did a pretty good job at taking advantage of those.  I followed everything my new chiropractor told me to do, since she's battled ITBS too.  And I had two successful 10k races this year.  My goal for 2018 is to keep up everything I've done this year.  Strength training almost every day, Pure Barre at home, and working on a faster cadence.  I shortened my intervals and picked up speed, and PR'd at Las Vegas.

Hopefully I'll be able to chose a race for spring 2018.  I'm still very undecided, and unmotivated to run at the moment.  I'm hoping a new goal race will help snap my not running streak and get me going in the new year.

Tuesdays on the Run with PattyErika, and Marcia.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Monday Musings 12/11

Another Monday, and I think I need another day off since my weekend was so busy.  This weekend was my girls' weekend with my mom, and we were quite busy.  It started Friday when we watched Hallmark's a Princess for Christmas to start going through all the Christmas movies I have.  It's my favorite of the Hallmark movies.  After that we watched Mickey's Christmas Carol.

Saturday started at Snooze, which is a great breakfast place.  I haven't had anything there yet that I haven't liked.  This time I got their OMG French Toast, and my mom got one of their eggs Benedict dishes.  We also went down into Denver to one of the big craft fairs, and the beneficiary was the Golden Retriever Rescue of the Rockies.  I didn't buy anything, but I took cards because I have ideas for future gifts.  Mostly we went because we wanted to spoil the goldens that were going to be there, with begging vests.  I did buy one of GRRR's 2018 calendars since I need one for work.  I can't believe 2017 is almost done!

Saturday afternoon was spent at PF Chang's for lunch, doing a little shopping at the mall (good god!  I don't normally go shopping at the mall in December!), and then more Christmas movies and baking gingerbread cookies.  We watched Hallmark's a Nutcrakcer Christmas, and then the Holiday.

Sunday morning was spent in Boulder, at the chocolate class we signed up for at Sur la Table.  This was the decadent chocolate class, and we made chocolate park with peppermint and pistachios, biscotti with chocolate chunks and dried cranberries, chocolate truffles, and chocolate salted caramels.  It was great!  They made us all a box each with the treats we made, and I'll enjoy eating them.

The afternoon was more low key, though I did get the new inserts I needed.  The ones I was using got me through both my races, so I definitely needed new ones.  I don't know if this will help me get motivated, since I'm still on my cardio break, but I know my feet with appreciate them.  We watched the last of the Hallmark movies I recorded, Once Upon a Holiday, and then the Santa Clause.

Linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for Weekend Wrap-up.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Christmas With a Cat

Y'all know I have a cat.  Allie is 5.5 years old, and still as energetic as ever.  This is the 4th Christmas season I've had her, and each one has been an adventure.

1) The first year, my tree wasn't too sturdy (it was my first Christmas tree = cheap), and she brought it down at 5am, a week after I put it up.  I'm not sure how she did it either, since I had been sleeping before hearing that big crash in the living.  Did she try to climb it?  Jump from the dining room table?  Either way, my first thought wasn't "someone's broken in", it was "it lasted a week."  My suspicions were verified when I stumbled into the living area and Allie made a beeline to the bedroom.

2) The second Christmas I had my tree up at work, with all my ornaments.  Not fun for Allie, but we still had Christmas decorations up in the apartment.

3) Last year was the 3rd Christmas, and while my ornaments were all packed for my move up to Boulder, I still put my tree up.  This time she climbed it, multiple times.

4) This year, not only do I have a tree, I have a Christmas llama.  This guy is in the corner to protect his cord since Allie is a chewer.  Have I mentioned that before?  She's chewed through two phone chargers, and one pair of headphones.  She showed an interest in the llama right away, and I knew I had to protect his cord for future Christmases.

5) And the tree?  She hasn't climbed it yet, but there are no ornaments on the bottom branches.  I did have a couple, and she took a flying leap at one and tackled it off the branch.  So those ornaments are now on the mantle.  I've also had to rearrange other ornaments as I find them on the floor when I get home from work.  Did you know Target has shatterproof ornaments?  I have some, but Allie hasn't gone after those.

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

2017 Wrap Up

2018 is almost here (crazy!!), and today's topic is best races of 2017.  I did two bucket list races, and both were great in their own ways.  I also ticked off two more states, so now I've done races in Florida, Texas, Oregon, California, Colorado, and Nevada.  I'm not really aiming for all 50 states, but it's fun to use these to travel to new places.

Bolder Boulder was incredibly fun, and the entire city comes out to cheer on the runners.  While I did not partake in any of the bacon, beer, slip n slides, and whatever else, it was quite an atmosphere, capped off with being on the lead truck for the women's race.

RnR Las Vegas was great all around, with a great training run, and the fact that no knees, muscles, feet, etc bothered me during the 6.29 miles I ran. 

These races wouldn't have been successful though, without my hard work.  I've been focusing on strength training for a couple years, and it's constant work.  Between strength training, working on form, and working on cadence, there was a lot that went into each of these races.  Which is why I brought chocolate back from Las Vegas for my chiropractor.  My history of injuries goes back to high school, so it can be challenging.

Tuesdays on the Run with PattyErika, and Marcia.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Monday Musings 12/4

I'll start the countdown.  3 weeks until Christmas.  I had a low key weekend after last weekend, after getting back and scrambling to get errands done before heading back to work.  How was everyone's week after Thanksgiving?  I found Monday wasn't too tough... it was Tuesday.  Tuesday was really tough, and the week was a little long.  I did get some decorations in my office, and I got more this weekend.  I took Friday afternoon off to spend time with my mom, and she and I got decorations for my front porch.  Since I got back last Sunday, I felt behind in the neighborhood decorating.

I've got my tree up, the Christmas llama, the lights are up, and we put bows on the back lamps.  I even got more decorations for my office.  I got a strand of lights, and Christmas window clings, with penguins.

My mom was here because another GRRR Turkey dog batch, and she sponsored another dog.  I wish I had pictures, but now that it's approaching winter, it's dark at night.  But the dogs were so excited to get to the shelter house.  They have a huge lawn in the back, and the dogs REALLY enjoy running around and rolling in the grass.  I got tackled a couple times, but that's OK.  These dogs have been on the streets in Istanbul, and they're here for their forever homes.

We started going through the Christmas Hallmark movies I've recorded.  We watched The Christmas List, which we liked, and the Christmas Train, which we didn't.  The channel really played up the Christmas Train, and we felt it was a bust.  After we went to GRRR to play with the dogs, we watched Little Women, which is kind of a Christmas movie.

Saturday I started back up with strength training.  My glutes have knots in them, but it's a good kind of feeling.  I don't know when I'll get going with cardio, but I did glutes and abs Saturday, then upper body/abs on Sunday.  I also made a big batch of spaghetti sauce Sunday, and when it simmers for 3 hours, my house smells fantastic!

I watched Miracle on 34th Street, then wrapped up Friends season 1 from Netflix.  I wasn't a Friends fan during its initial run, but then again, I was 9 when it started, and didn't have anything in common with the characters.  Now I do, and it's hysterical.

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Friday, December 1, 2017

Holiday Gifts for Runners

It's that time of year.  Even though today is December 1st, I've already bought a couple gifts to ship out.  My high school best friend also celebrates Hanukkah, so I needed to make sure her gift was on its way to get there in time.

The difficult thing about shopping after Thanksgiving is it's before pay day, and since I had my trip to Vegas on my finances, I've needed to wait to really dive into holiday shopping.

Today's topic is gift giving, so what do you get for the runner in your life?  Or, as a runner, what ends up on your list each year?  I have some new items, and then some staple items.

1) If there's a piece of running gear I've been eying, it's on the list.  Complete with the title, direct link to the website, color, and size.  No deviation.  I'm picky, and I know what I wear.  I also figure that amount of detail will help the shopper.  Don't know my size?  I include it.

2) A new medal hanger.  I love my medal hanger, but it's full.  I definitely need another one.  I had to take some of my 5k medals off so I could hang up my Vegas medal

3) I've saved all of the bibs from my big races, and I have no way to display them.  Medals are fun, but I carried the bib from start to finish.  Many of the bibs have fun designs too, and are another way to remember a race.

4) Trusty gift cards.  I love spending gift cards!  My parents gave me all gift cards for my birthday one year, and I had a lot of fun spending them.  Anything from favorite brands, to Amazon since they have everything, to favorite stores, and even iTunes.  I gotta keep my music fresh with new songs.

5) While I like the concept of subscription boxes for runners, I like more control over what's inside.  I just recently put one together for my cousin, who'll be running her first marathon in April.  I got some fun magnets, two brands of energy chews, Honey Stinger waffles, salt caps, and a bath bomb for sore muscles.  Anything I could think of that a new marathoner would need for training.

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Rating November

November was a strange month for running.  Ever since I completed my 10k on the 12th, I've taken a break and haven't done any cardio. I wasn't even doing yoga until last night.  I felt very agitated for whatever reason while driving home yesterday.  It wasn't a full panic attack, but I could feel my heart rate was higher than normal, so out came the yoga DVDs.

I didn't even run over Thanksgiving.  My parents live a couple thousand feet up in elevation from where I live, which makes it a little difficult to keep active.  I felt short of a breathe a couple times, so I think I need to acclimate up there too.  There goes any thought of having a race up there.

What I have been doing is being careful with my nutrition.  After Vegas, I realized how many dishes I had leading up to the trip, and on the trip, that had cheese.  It seemed like it was cheese! cheese! cheese!  I can't get away from it completely, but I have been making lighter meals to give myself a break.  Holiday parties are coming up, and I already have two at work.

Tuesdays on the Run with PattyErika, and Marcia.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Monday Musings 11/27

First day back from break, and it may be a tough one.  The Monday back from a long weekend is always a struggle.  I get work done, but people can't expect me to think on my feet.  My brain needs a phasing in period to get back to work.

How was y'all's Thanksgiving?  I took Wednesday off from work, and went up with Allie to my parents' place Tuesday evening.  There was no way I wanted to be on the roads Wednesday, and after seeing the traffic accidents, that was a smart move.  The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is just crazy.  I get anxious too with Allie in the car, and Tuesday was better.

Wednesday my mom and I prepped what we were taking to my uncle's house.  We provided the appetizers, the rolls, and the dessert.  We brought a spinach dip, a goat cheese mixture that we changed up a little bit and mixed the walnuts in with everything else, the sweet Hawaiian rolls, and pecan tassies.  We were busy Wednesday morning, but once everything was done, they went in the fridge and chilled.

Thursday was the big day, and we drove to Golden to my uncle's house.  I definitely missed my Texas family and the Friendsgiving we did, but it was also great to be with my parents, my uncle and aunt, and my grandfather.  This was the first Thanksgiving since my grandmother died and it was good to be with everyone.  The meal was at 2, but we had the appetizers with a cocktail my uncle made.  It was made up of Prosecco, cranberry juice, and apple cider.  It tasted like fall, and it was pretty good.  While both appetizers were tasty, I kept going back to the goat cheese mixture.  It was really good, and at one point I had to move away from it, otherwise I wouldn't have room for all the main dishes.

For the meal we had the turkey, stuffing, a gourmet green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, dried corn, cranberry sauce, and the rolls.  I had a little bit of everything, and tried to be careful this year.  I had a carb hangover last year, and I definitely did not want a repeat.  I did go back for seconds on a couple things, but I never got a food coma.  Then the pecan tassies for dessert, and those were popular.  Every time I've made them, they've been delicious and in demand.

Friday was a low-key day, with a Pure Barre ab workout.  I'm still not doing cardio yet, but some easy, short workouts are a way for me to stay active, but still taking it easy.  Friday I also, finally! saw the resident fox in my parents' neighborhood.  She's been in their neighborhood since September.  My parents want her to stay because there are enough rodents in the valley to keep a family of foxes happy, and she is a beauty!  It's always exciting to see the wildlife up where my parents are.  I get prairie dogs where I live, and coyotes, because of the prairie dogs.

We went into Grand Lake for the tree lighting ceremony.  The town isn't big, and has one Main Street, and the tree is in the middle.  It's easy enough to drive around the tree.

Saturday my parents got out their Christmas tree and decorations, and we decorated their tree.  We listened to Christmas music driving back from after Thanksgiving, and of course we had Christmas music going while decorating the house.  We also found the Rudolph Monopoly game, and we'll do that Christmas Eve instead of attempting the 1,000-piece puzzle again.  I think we've given up on that one.

Allie loved it all, and when we got to our home on Sunday, I put up the tree for us.  I haven't put the ornaments on yet because she can climb this one.  If any readers remember last year, they'll remember she did climb my tree multiple times.  I have no idea if she'll outgrow that, but it is cute.

Linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for Weekend Wrap-up.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Looking For a Spring Race

At the moment, I'm in recovery mode, but I'm already getting the itch to start running again.  It doesn't normally happen this fast after a big race, but I think part of it has to do with my new treadmill.  It is so easy to throw on workout clothes and walk downstairs.

While in recovery mode, I've been looking at the Colorado race calendar to see what's available in the spring.  I have no idea what I want to do, and it's weird not having anything on my calendar.  Even though I didn't race last fall, I had the Bolder Boulder on my calendar, and I knew I wanted to do the RnR Las Vegas race even before I did the Bolder Boulder.  So now what?

I've never repeated a race, but doing the Bolder Boulder again has crossed my mind.  I'm not quite sure though.  I found out this year spring weather can be tricky up here in Colorado.  With April and May being the snowiest months, I could be facing snowstorms when my long runs come up on the schedule.  So do I push the race to June?  There are lots of questions.

I also have to make sure it works with my work schedule.  April is a big quarterly reporting month, and my cousin is getting married in Houston mid-April.  I did look at the Houston race calendar, but I didn't see anything in her area :-p

Tuesdays on the Run with PattyErika, and Marcia.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ethel M Chocolates

Even though this was last Saturday, I'm posting it here for the weekly wrap.  I missed out while I was traveling home last Monday, and what better way to celebrate a two-day work week than posting about chocolate?   I didn't do much at all this week since I was in recovery mode.  I did a little bit of Pure Barre yesterday and today, with a focus on my abs.

One of the places I went while in Las Vegas was the factory for Ethel M Chocolates.  They're about 15 minutes off the strip, and pretty easy to get to.  If you're traveling to Vegas and don't have time to go to the factory, there are shops in the airport.

A little backstory: Ethel M Chocolates is a specialty gourmet branch within the Mars company, named after Forrest Mars Sr's mother.  Apparently he started the project to fight off boredom after retirement.  It was established in Nevada, since Nevada allowed the sale of liquor-filled chocolates... which by the way, those liquor filled chocolates are SO good!

My family discovered Ethel M's when we lived in Tucson, with a store at the mall.  Even though we moved away from Tucson in 1994, we keep going back to the chocolates for special occasions.

I knew after I signed up for the race, I needed to get to the factory.  I had a list of chocolates to get for the family, and after scouting out the store in the airport terminal I flew into, I knew what I needed to get at the factory.  The airport store didn't have everything, and my family loves the almond butter krisp the company makes.

If you're at the factory on a busy day, you'll hopefully see the kitchen staff working and making chocolate.  I knew since I was going on a Saturday, it would most likely be quiet, but there is a self guided tour with tidbits on the glass as you watch the chocolate process.  Then it ends in the store, where you can buy pre-made boxes, or make your own.  There are two selection counters where you can get whatever you want for your box.

This isn't even all the chocolate!
And don't forget about their cactus garden.  I walked through a little bit after shopping at the store.  There are a number of varieties, and it was strung with lights for the holidays.  Since it was before noon, the lights weren't on, but you can see pictures of the garden lit up on their social media

I'd say I have a chocolate problem, but more than half of what I bought was either for my parents, my grandfather, or chiropractor.  I wanted to get my chiropractor a box even before the race since she's kept my body together.  I tell you, with my history of injuries, it's not easy.

I'll happily admit I'm done with one of the boxes, but most of the boxes have 16 pieces.  2 pieces a day means it doesn't take me long to get through a box.

So what did I buy?  Various boxes of:

Almond Butter Krisp
Creme Liquors
Dark Chocolate collection
Taste of Las Vegas
Satin Cremes

Linking up with Hoho Runs and MissSippiPiddlin for Weekend Wrap-up.

Friday, November 17, 2017

A Review of the Race

Since today is Friday Five, I'll post my thoughts about the race.  There's one more post to go from Las Vegas, and I'll post it Monday.

Every race has pros and cons, and after posting my recap, this will be reflecting on the race.

1) Pro: Afternoon race so I could sleep in.  I did a lot of vegging in my hotel room Sunday morning.

2) Con: The 10k course didn't get much of the #stripatnight.  Starting at the very northern point of the strip and heading into downtown LV meant maybe 2 miles of the strip coming back down Las Vegas Boulevard.

3) Pro: The medal, of course!  I was told RnR does the medals well, and it did not disappoint.

4) Con: smelling sewer treatment or pot along the course was new for me.  It was more prevalent in downtown than on the strip.

5) Pro: Flat course.  I really appreciated the flat course.  My neighborhood has hills and flat stretches, and training on both prepared me for anything.

6) Con: Gear pickup.  I mentioned this in my recap, but gear pickup needed to be more efficient.  If RnR has staff apologizing to people waiting, it's bad.

Even though I felt super strong in this race, I don't think I'd do it again, as it stands now.  The whole point of the weekend is #stripatnight, and the 10k course didn't get to the heart of the strip until past the finish line, in the runners village.  That's not to knock the course entirely.  I enjoyed it, but I've never repeated a race since I'm always looking for something new.

In general, it was a good weekend.  I never once felt unsafe, even when I walked to the expo on Friday.  The police presence on the course was very much appreciated, and I thanked those when I could.  We even had a police helicopter fly overhead when we were in the corrals.  It was a little strange when I was driving up the strip from the airport on Friday.  Mandalay Bay is right there, but I wasn't going to let that dampen my weekend.

Friday Five 2.0 with Fairytales and Fitness and Running on Happy.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

RnR Las Vegas 10k

I'm back!  I'll have more write-ups but since it's Tuesdays on the Run, I have this ready.  I wanted to get it all down while it was still fresh, and the cat wanted snuggles.  My dad took care of Allie, but he said she was looking for me, and missed me.  Being on the computer let her snuggle with me.

Short story is I PR'd, and felt strong throughout the whole race.  I'll admit, I got emotional near the end because everything came together, and my knee behaved the whole time.

When I booked my hotel room, I chose the SLS Las Vegas since the 10k start line was right out front.  This make it super convenient since I was able to stay in my room longer, with a real bathroom.  There were signs through the lobby and casino that pointed the way to the start line, and I found the gear check very quickly.  I checked a long-sleeve shirt to have after the race since I figured I'd be chilly once I stopped running.  I hopped in line for one more bathroom stop, then headed to my corral.

There were 11 corrals total, and the first 5 went first, with a 30 second wait for the rest.  I do think they should've been more spaced out since the crowd didn't spread out until after the first mile.  We headed north into downtown Las Vegas before heading south again towards the strip.  It wasn't the most scenic, past motels, wedding chapels, and I did see signs for strip clubs.  I think we passed the chapel featured in the Hangover, but I'll have to watch the movie to be certain.

Once the crowd spread out, I was able to find my speed and rhythm, and I ended up playing tag with a lot of the same people.

The turnaround point was after the second mile, with a run around a block, and then headed south.  By that time the sun had set enough that the neon lights were starting to turn on.  It felt good to turn south, and I was hoping to see more lights as we got closer to the strip.  I was feeling good, and felt like I could speed up, but then we reached the part where the half marathon would be running on the left, and the 10k runners were funneled into a thin lane.  This really slowed me down since there was a back up as runners were moving into the lane, and there wasn't much room to maneuver around people.

I did take the opportunity to take a couple pictures during this point.  Since we were moving slower, it gave me a chance to soak up some more sites.  The first big sign we saw was for Circus Circus, then the Encore, and slowly down to the Mirage.  I didn't take too many pictures since I needed watch out for the crowd, and the road, and it was getting dark.  The running lane finally widened to give me room to still move around other runners, and as I got closer to Treasure Island, I started getting a little emotional.  My knee hadn't bothered me one bit during the race, and thinking about everything I've done the past 4.5 years to battle this ITBS made me choke up.  As we got closer to the Mirage, I gave it a burst of speed to cross the finish line with my new PR.

After getting my medal, I picked up a bottle of water, Gatorade, a banana, Pringles, pretzels, and a protein bar.  They really should've had bags to help carry everything.  I had to put stuff on the ground to eat my banana, and I was juggling things while I waited to get my gear bag.

This is where I'll knock RnR, because gear pickup was a cluster.  They had 3 UPS trucks for the 10k gear check, and it was organized by last name, not bib number.  I don't know if the 10k population skewed to O-Z last names, but the line was the longest, and super slow.  RnR was not handing out heat sheets, and as I was wading through the pick up line, I started getting cold.  I knew once the sun was down, and my sweat dried, I'd be cold.  That's why I checked a long sleeve shirt, but it took way too long to get my bag.  They either needed a 4th truck, or change up how they organize the bags.

After I made way through the maze of pedestrian bridges, I ended up outside Margaritaville since we popped out by the Flamingo.  I hadn't really thought about dinner, but I had my credit card with me because I was planning on catching the monorail back to the SLS (the monorail was SUPER convenient the whole trip).  I had a way to pay for dinner, and the restaurant wasn't crowded at all.  I got a frozen margarita, and had the Cheeseburger in Paradise.  Pretty good way to celebrate that PR!

Tuesdays on the Run with PattyErika, and Marcia.