Two Weeks of a Lovely Life, in Pictures

Hiya, friends. It’s been a busy couple of weeks!

C2 Graphics web training course

C2 Graphics web training course

I finished my web design training up in Milwaukee at C2 Graphics. Love that place, their instructors, and the learnings I walked away with.

Followed up training one night by meeting my good friend (and bridesmaid!) in the Third Ward for dinner and drinks at the Milwaukee Ale House. I drank the Sheepshead Stout beer, “a robust Irish style oatmeal stout with distinct roast chocolate notes and a creamy smooth finish.”

Milwaukee Ale House | Sheepshead Stout

Milwaukee Ale House | Sheepshead Stout

It was oh-so-good!

I also got to see the new Anchorman 2 movie a day early, thanks to the lovely Jockey undies that were featured in the film.

Anchorman Briefs from Jockey

Anchorman Briefs from Jockey

You can buy these online, and I think it would make a great gag gift for the fun dudes on your list. I bought this pair for our one buddy who loves Anchorman. He might also like to remove his pants and play guitar when he’s had one too many drinks. Don’t act like you’re not impressed.

Was Anchorman 2 as good as the first? You’re probably wondering. I have to say, for being a sequel, it was pretty swell. It had as much randomness and funny one-liners as the first movie. (“It’s chicken of the cave!” And let’s not forget, Doby.) I think the first movie is so funny because all those quotable one-liners that we all picked up afterwards. This has that same potential. But, in the beginning of the movie, I did feel like it was trying too hard, but maybe I was scrutinizing it too much.

Moving along…

I’ve been chowing down on [too many] Christmas cookies.

Snickerdoodles Christmas cookies

Snickerdoodles

Like these snickerdoodles I made for work. I got lots of compliments on how delicious they were. Matt stole and ate a bunch before I even got them to work. Psst…They’re made out of the bag from Betty Crocker. 😉

Peanut Butter Blossoms with mini hershey kisses

Peanut Butter Blossoms

And finally, these peanut butter blossoms that I made last night. Matt had made dinner…

Matt's Homemade Lasagna

Matt’s Homemade Lasagna

(My FAVE!)

So I had to make dessert (his fave).

I’ve been very healthy lately, you can see.

Here’s more proof:

Cosmopolitan, please.

Cosmopolitan, please.

Kicking off a 9-day vaca (!!!) Friday night with a Cosmo martini at our nearby martini + tapas bar.

People must know we like wine and booze, because we were showered with these housewarming gifts at our Housewarming Holiday Party last weekend:

Housewarming Booze

Housewarming Booze

YUM, Rumchata. Thanks, everyone!

We were so glad to have many friends over for our party, to celebrate our new home with us and get in the Christmas spirit. We had tons of yummy food; there were two tables filled with it, and I can’t believe I didn’t take a picture—but then, I didn’t really have time to even think of that for the first few hours! We also had the drinks flowin’, the Christmas music playing and the lights shining…

Heart our Christmas tree

Heart our Christmas tree 🙂

And I think everyone had a blast. We sure did. Thanks for celebrating with us!

With all that in mind, I haven’t been working out much, but I did bite the bullet and hit a treadmill yesterday, since we got hit with freezing rain & ice Friday night.

Running on the dreadmill, I mean, treadmill...

Running on the dreadmill, I mean, treadmill…

It’s kinda blurry, but I was trying not to look like a huge tool at my new gym for taking a pic of my machine.

I always run way harder on the treadmill, so I can get done faster, so I’m sore today…but it feels good. Glad to be back at it. More posts on the running & workout stuff to come soon!

– – –

Happy holidays everyone! What are you doing to celebrate?

How are you fitting in your workouts over this hectic holiday season—or are you not, and just eating cookies like me? 

2014 Sister Run-Cation

For the last couple of years, my two sisters and I have foregone buying Christmas presents for each other, and instead book a running vacation together. We call it our “Sister Run-Cation”!

Rather than spend money on clothes, jewelry, or other material things, we spend it on what’s more important to us: Time together, traveling, new experiences, and of course, running!

We choose a destination half-marathon to travel to, usually somewhere warmer during the February-March time frame. It’s a nice reprieve from the snowy, cold tundra that we all live in. Plus, we all live far enough apart that we don’t get to see each other often, so it’s a good excuse to get some quality sister time.

Two years ago, we flew to Austin, Texas to run the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon.

Three sisters take on the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon!

Three sisters take on the Livestrong Austin Half Marathon!

That was probably my favorite half marathon I’ve ever run. I liked the course and loved that there were tons of cheering people. Plus, the city was amazing to spend a few days exploring! I definitely recommend it.

Austin City View

Austin City View

Last year, we chose an even warmer destination: Naples, Florida.

Beach time in Naples, Florida.

Beach time in Naples, Florida.

The Naples Daily News Half Marathon was well organized, and the city was cute and relaxing to vaca in. I’d love to go back for a mini getaway weekend.

Post-race poolside in Naples, Florida.

Post-race poolside in Naples, Florida.

But, the race itself turned out to be my least favorite half marathon ever.

Despite how happy I look, the mild heat was killin' this Wisconsinite!

Despite how happy I look, the mild heat was killin’ this Wisconsinite!

Having trained through the cold Wisconsin winter for months leading up to this, the heat & humidity killed me! If you’re good at adapting to temperatures, or live in a warmer climate, then I would definitely suggest Naples to you…otherwise, it might be a bit brutal.

This brings us to Sister Run-Cation 2014.

And so far, we’re stumped on where to go. We have a few contenders:

• New Orleans Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon – Sunday, February 2nd
I’ve always wanted to do a Rock’n’Roll series race, they seem like fun with all the live music. Plus, I know New Orleans would be an awesome place to stay and have fun at for a couple days once the race is over.

• San Francisco Half Marathon – Sunday, February 2nd
I’ve never been to San Fran, but would love to see it! Plus, it’s close to wine country, and us sisters would love to celebrate with some winery tours […once the race is over]. Only downside is, we hear San Fran can be pricey. However, this is the least expensive race fee at just $55.

• Myrtle Beach Half Marathon – Saturday, February 15th
I’m guessing this would be a low-key place to stay—it looks like it’d be too cold to be hanging on the beach, and I’m not sure what else there is to do in Myrtle Beach? But, it’d def give us some R&R time!

– – –

Do you know of any good half marathons in February or March?

What is your dream destination race?

Would you ever go on a “Run-Cation”?

I have to say, I love it! It gives you a goal to train for throughout the winter. Then when you go on vaca, you run 13 miles, and celebrate with a few days off, some good eats, and drinks. It definitely makes you feel less guilty about all that vaca splurging! 😉

Running with Marathon Man

One time, I got to run with a superhero.

Have you ever heard of Marathon Man? No, not the movie, but the real man. A guy named Trent Morrow, an energetic Aussie with lots of spirit and an infectious love for running. A man who’s on the quest to break the Guinness World Record for the most marathons run in a calendar year.

Marathon Man with some Frost 5 Challenge runners.

Marathon Man with some Frost 5 Challenge runners.

[source]

How many marathons is that, exactly? Well, last year a claim to the record was made of 157 marathons run in one year. Marathon Man is aiming to run over 160 marathons this year. That means Trent has to run at least three marathons a week. Can you even imagine?!

I can’t. But, I got to be a part of the experience when our running club pulled together a series of races to help Trent make a dent in the number of marathons left for the year. In order to reach his goal by the end of December, he needed to run almost one marathon per day this month. One of our club members, David, stepped in to organize the “Frosty 5 Challenge” series to help make that happen.

For the “Challenge,” Trent got to come stay in our lovely little [frigid] Wisconsin town earlier this month, and while here, ran five marathons in a row. WOW!

David recruited volunteers for the course, as well as runners (at least two marathoners each day) to race with Trent. A lot of people jumped in to run the first 6-13 miles with the [crazy?] marathoners as well.

It was inspiring to see how quickly people stepped up to run the marathon. Some people had, like me, just run their first marathon in Chicago in October. Others made this marathon seem like a walk in the park, no big deal. Another guy found the marathon to be his vindication after he bonked the Chicago Marathon—he had a blast and, better yet, set a PR for his best marathon time yet.

The Frosty 5 Runners, ready to take off!

The Frosty 5 Runners, ready to take off!

I, on the other hand, took the easy [sane?] route and signed up to run simply 6 miles during one of the night marathons.

When I first saw Trent, he bounded into the hotel lobby where all us runners were waiting to start. For someone who had already run two marathons the two days before, I was expecting him to be quiet, maybe moving a little slow and walking gingerly like I had after my marathon. But no! He was lively and seemed excited to go run 26 miles again. No limping, hunching or waddling in sight.

Start & Finish Line for the Frosty 5 Challenge with Marathon Man.

Start & Finish Line for the Frosty 5 Challenge with Marathon Man.

Once we were off, I got to run three miles side-by-side with Marathon Man himself. I was so excited to ask Trent lots of questions about himself, his journey to break the world record, and other running nerd questions in general. But, after my friends informed him that I had just run my first marathon this year, I only got one question in before Trent whipped out his phone and announced I was being filmed on “Marathon Man TV” and started interviewing ME. Ha! I’m waiting for my 15 minutes to fame. 😉

I did find out that the Chicago Marathon is Trent Morrow’s favorite marathon EVER, out of the over 200 marathons that he’s ever run. Can’t beat the crowd support there! He also raved a few times about making a hot cocoa stop at the 13-mile turn-around during his marathons here. Who would have thought, hot cocoa instead of a water stop? Probably because the water here was frozen, it was so cold.

Running in Wisconsin winter = Frozen water!

Running in Wisconsin winter = Frozen water!

[source]

I also wondered how on earth Trent manages to get in enough calories while logging so many miles, and his host for the few days he stayed here said he had been eating pretty much constantly. Now that I think of it, when I first saw him before the run, he was carrying a bag of baked Cheetos with him. Pre-run fuel, I guess.

Another night, I volunteered to hand out water and gels on the course. It was freezing out—literally, 15 degrees—and the wind was growling. I told myself not to whine about standing outside in the cold for 20 minutes when these six runners were tearing up 26 miles. Soon enough, Marathon Man trotted up, smiling and waving. His pace had slowed down, his foot was bothering him, but never once did he sound discouraged, crabby or whiney. He gulped some water and thanked me for coming out—even remembered my name from the night before!— and then he was running again, off to face the dark, cold miles ahead.

Check out that reflective gear. Just before Marathon Man took off along the marathon route.

Check out that reflective gear. Just before Marathon Man took off along the marathon route.

Trent is such a positive, friendly, endearing and inspiring individual. I don’t think anyone could help but want to help him reach his goal. Big kudos to my friend David for organizing the “Frosty 5 Challenge” to help Trent on his mission to beat the World Record. And most of all, thanks for allowing me the chance to meet Marathon Man and absorb some of his passion and enthusiasm for running. In my mind, he’s already a legend, and I’m glad I was able to be a small part of it!

If you would like to help support Trent on his goal to run over 160 marathons this year, you can buy a “Team Marathon Man” t-shirt, or donate here to help him cover lodging, food, marathon entries, and more. Whatever you do, be sure to follow him on Facebook as he sprints down the road to the World Record!

Resting Up + Party Plans

YO, party people!
I am so looking forward to this week being over already. It’s been crazyhecticnutso around here, but in a good way. Plus, I have an exciting weekend coming up!

Last week flew by because work was so crazy. At my day job in web design world, we finished off our Black Friday + Cyber Monday sales, and kicked off our Christmas sales, so we’re in the home stretch for marketing land. It feels good to make it this far without losing my sanity (too much).

chateau st. michelle wine

delicio-so

Thank you, vino.

The week left me exhausted, and I was oh-so-happy when Friday rolled around. I had some web design training during the day (love going to “school”!), then returned home to some happy hour festivities with a buddy that will be leaving the hallowed work halls soon. Wah.

After that, I headed over to my company’s annual holiday party, where I got some yummy dinner and chatted it up with lots of co-workers. I stayed for a couple hours, then called it a night and headed home. I was ready for some sleep!

Saturday morning, I was supposed to run the Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis 5K. I did this run last year. It was well-organized, fun and well worth facing the cold then. But, temps were under 5 degrees, with a wind chill well below zero… Based on how miserably cold my Turkey Trot run felt last month, and with the temps even warmer then, I decided to skip the race.

A lot of my running club still went to the race, and I felt a little guilty for not going myself. What am I, a pansy? How cold is too cold, when it comes to winter running? What do you think?

In the end, I was pretty glad I skipped the race—I was so exhausted from Thanksgiving and the work week, so I really needed some extra zzz’s. I finally felt well-rested and was able to get a head start on all the work I needed to do around the house.

Why so much work to do here? We’re finally having a housewarming party this coming weekend! I LOOOOVE Christmas, so what better excuse to throw a holiday + housewarming party (finally)? We’re trying to put the finishing touches on every room, make our place spic ‘n’ span, get our holiday decorations up, and plan out our yummy food menus for the party before Saturday arrives.

We are having a ton of people over, so we’re doing a heavy spread of appetizers instead of a real “dinner” or anything. So far on the list we have:

  • Cheese, crackers, olives & grapes
  • Veggies, dip, hummus
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Taco dip + chips
  • Guacamole, salsa, chips
  • Salamis, green olives & mozzarella kabobs (festive!)
  • Spinach & artichoke bites (<– Thanks, Pinterest)
  • Brie, cranberry sauce & pistachio bites
  • Smoked salmon & chive cream cheese on cucumbers
  • Pepperoni rolls (<– Mom’s specialty)
  • Oreo truffles
  • Nutella brownies

Ahh, I’m already hungry just thinkin’ about it.

What are your favorite party foods?

Anything we should add to the spread? 

How cold is too cold when it comes to running?

Run Streak Fail

Well hey there. I haven’t written in several days—it’s been busy around here!—but I’m alive.

Matt and I went north for Thanksgiving, allllll the way up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s such a small place up there, I flew into the Houghton County airport and laughed out loud when the plane pulled up outside of the “terminal”…which was a tiiiny building, like a house! Ha! We deplaned onto the snowy ground and waited for our luggage there.

Waiting outside for our luggage. Hey mister. Houghton County Airport.

Waiting outside for our luggage. Hey mister.

Then it was a whirlwind few days of turkey eating, visiting with family, drinking a few beers, taking some real hot saunas, playing endless games of Old Maid in a pillow fort with a 6-year-old, and catching up. It was a great time, but we definitely left exhausted on Sunday, and were happy to sleep in our own bed that night.

Sadly, my run streak totally FAILED while we were up there. I was so motivated and excited to start it on Thanksgiving Day, after my first run. But, where we stayed up north was in the middle of the woods… And it was hunting season there. I was told in no way would I be running around outside! The chance of getting shot at didn’t seem like a smart idea, so my run streak died after just one day. Womp.

I planned to pick it back up once I got home, but work has been SOOO busy with all the holiday marketing we have to do. If you want any sweet holiday deals on underwear, go sign up for Jockey.com emails—stat! At the least, you can buy people some nice socks for Christmas. 😉

Anyway. I’ve been getting up early and working late, it’s a bit exhausting. Doesn’t leave much energy or time to run, so I only got out there tonight—finally. It was a great run, and I got to spend it with a very special person who may or may not be a superhero… For real. I will fill you in on it soon!

Any guesses what superhero I got to run with today?

Have you snagged any good deals during your holiday shopping yet?