Coming to Terms

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who replied to my last post about being injured! You’ve made me feel so much better about everything. I felt like I was giving up/being a wuss/completely disappointed, but you’ve helped to put my injury in perspective: It’s one race, and it’s not worth injuring myself worse over.

So, I’ve decided: I’m just running the half marathon instead of the full Green Bay Marathon.

And I have to say, I feel totally relieved.

Before, I was truly dreading the thought of the marathon. I wasn’t stoked for the race, the thought of 26.2 miles didn’t seem just daunting—it seemed impossible. I knew I would most likely have to drop out at some point, or limp through the last 10 miles at a slow walk. No thanks. I was not excited at all about the race weekend…which is such a bummer, because I am going with a whole bunch of running club members, and it will be a blast!

With just 13.1 miles (just?) on the docket, I’m pretty excited just thinking of the whole experience: Running a half marathon with my training buddy (who is also injured now) and simply soaking up the running love and atmosphere the whole time. My other training buddies, Liz and Lela, dodged injuries and will be completing the full marathon, so we’ll be rootin’ for them at the finish line.

I’m glad I could come to terms with the fact that it’s okay to change a big goal and aim for something new. Life requires recalibration. A half marathon might not be what I was shooting for, but it’s still a damn good goal, so I’ll take it.

On the other hand, I guess that means I have another marathon in my future… Some day. 😉

Crafting & Partying

Howdy all! What a fun, quick weekend.

I had a rousing Friday night of crafting—woohooooo. My running club had its yearly swanky party on Saturday, and I volunteered to make some DIY table settings. I had fun picking out the supplies at Hobby Lobby, and ended up making all 80 place settings for about $15 (could have been cheaper, but I didn’t realize one of my stamps was $7).

DIY place card table settings with mustache and bow stamps

It was super easy! All I did was pick out two stamps (mustache for the men, a bow for the ladies) and got black and pink ink. Then I bought what were technically bookmarks, but they worked perfectly once I folded them in half to stand up.

A little stampin’ on top and then I wrote the names below—they turned out super cute!

DIY place card table settings with black mustache and pink bow stamps 

I’m already excited to make the table cards for our wedding, is that weird?

I woke up early Saturday morning and went on my cuh-ray-zay hard long run. Afterwards, Matt took me to lunch, by which time I was ready to gnaw off my arm or anything that walked by. Literally. Luckily, no appendages were harmed and I scarfed down some buffalo chicken pizza. It was scrumptious, and I inhaled it too quickly to take a photo. Then I laid around almost all afternoon because I was so totally spent.

By 6 o’clock, Matt and I were on our way to the running club party. It was fun to see everyone dressed up and snazzy, rather than sweaty and smelly like we usually are. Ha! There were a TON of people there this year, and it is so cool to see our little running club growing so fast.

We chowed down on some delicious food: Bruschetta and bacon-wrapped dates for appys, filet mignon and boiled potatoes, and homemade desserts. I washed it all down with a couple cocktails and watched people bust their moves on the dance floor (it takes a lot more than two cocktails to get me out there) before we called it a night around 10. We were pooped!

Sunday was spent getting lots of things done around the house, before we went to an impromptu Super Bowl party at a friend’s house for a couple hours. Highlights of the game were the Red Hot Chili Peppers, lots of yummy appetizers, and a glass of wine. Notice no football mentioned there. 😉

– – –

Highlight of your weekend?

What did you do (and eat) for the Super Bowl? 

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!

The Long Haul to Turkey Day

It’s been a busy week so far. Even though it’s a short week at work, I’m counting down the hours ‘til Thanksgiving: Family, food, relaxation & a break! I’m in need of all those things. And maybe a few glasses of wine.

Well, always some wine. 😉

Here’s what my week has looked like so far:

My weekend involved lots of house cleaning, organizing & improvements. I’ll do full reveals of these rooms once they’re completely done, but I’ve pretty much finished making over our main guest bedroom and my office. Yay! Finally.

Sneak peek of our guest room. Neutral and comfortable.

Sneak peek of our guest room, picture unhung.

Tidbit of my office: My favorite part, my "clothesline" for fun stuff!

Tidbit of my office: My favorite part, my miniature “clothesline” for fun stuff!

I took a break Sunday and broke my hermit streak. Seriously, once it gets cold out, I do NOT want to leave the house. But my friend, Liz, invited me to meet her and a friend for a beer at a local craft brewery, Rustic Road. Beer? Sure!

Rustic Road Hazelnut Harvest Beer

Rustic Road Hazelnut Harvest Beer

I drank the Hazelnut Harvest amber ale. It was supposed to have flavors of vanilla and hazelnut, but they were pretty faint. Overall, the beer was okay, but not one I’d buy at a store. Which is sad, because I love me some hazelnuts!

I came home and got into the Christmas spirit a bit… Okay, I admit, I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the past week. But, I’ve been working on Black Friday and other holiday emails every day at work, what do you expect?!

Our first Christmas wreath!

Our first Christmas wreath!

Matt got us this wreath, handmade from some Boy Scouts. Love it! Mmm, fresh pine.

Then I enjoyed an Angry Orchard amidst the romantic glow of candles…

112613_angry

…while I baked some [break ‘n’ bake] cookies to bring to my running club meeting for the next night. I’m a cheater.

Simply Pillsbury break n bake cookies - peanut butter and chocolate chip. Yum!

But I tell ya, these babies are so yummy! Lots of my running club buds were even saying so. Plus they are made “simply” without a bunch of crap like normal pre-made cookies. So, uh, they’re good for you, right?

On Monday, I got into work by 7a.m. and put in a good 11 hours, trying to get everything done for the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend. Had to skip my planned run with friends, but it was worth getting some extra stuff done. Plus, I rocked an afternoon presentation to my boss and some execs. Ohhh yes. Hoping to help make some good changes in the near future!

Left work by 6 to go to the running club meeting and feed people with my delicious homemade cookies. The cookies were gone quickly, and they [plus pizza] fueled us through a couple hours of packet stuffing for our upcoming sponsored race, the Mayor’s Day Turkey Run!

Did you ever realize how much work goes into that packet stuffing?

I hadn’t.

Packet Stuffing for the Mayor's Day Turkey Run

Packet Stuffing for the Mayor’s Day Turkey Run

But it took a while, and a whole bunch of spunky runner folks.

112613_stuffers

And a few paper cuts.

Packets for the Mayor's Day Turkey Run

Look at all those packets! That’s not even all of them…

But we got it done! If you’re looking for a Turkey Trot or a Thanksgiving Day race to help offset all the eating, drinking & being merry on Thursday, sign up for my running club’s race! It’s almost sold out, it’s a popular one. 🙂

Today was another long day at work, but in a good way. Getting lots done and ready to bring on the holiday shoppers! But coding a bazillion emails has made me cross-eyed. Good thing my boss brought in cupcakes to fuel us along.

I give thanks for cupcakes.

I give thanks for cupcakes.

BTW, best way to eat a cupcake: Tear it in half, and flip the top with the frosting over. Eat like a scrumptious cupcake sandwich, with frosting in every bite. You’re welcome.

One more long day of work, LOTS to get done. Then it’s Thanksgiving break time!

And also time to start streaking. A run streak, that is. You in?

Good thing this post looks so healthy, with all its boozy mentions and cookies and cupcakes. Maybe I should start taking pictures of my salads. But you know, those just aren’t as pretty.

What’s getting you through the week?
What are your plans for the holidays?
Will you be run streaking?

Weekend: Run Club, Tornados & Toilet Water

Hi friends! Happy Monday. How was your weekend? If you couldn’t tell by the title of my post, mine was a little eventful come Sunday…

Saturday morning started bright & early at 6:30. (Funny how it’s so much easier to get up at that time on a Saturday, versus every other workday morning.) I had planned to run 4-6 miles with my running club, and even though it was a little dismal out—overcast, chilly and misting—once I got going, I felt pretty good. Two new ladies came to run with the club that morning, so I got to know them while we ran. It’s always fun making new running buds!

At almost 6 miles, my stomach started really grumbling at me, so I called it short and finished up with some walking. No sweat, since I’m not training for anything. It feels good to run without putting the pressure on every time!

Afterwards, I chatted a while with the rest of the club members while I sipped some hot cocoa (yummm). Lots of people came out this week, it was fun! We kinda took over the room. Just look at all that reflective gear.

running club @ post-run coffee

running club @ post-run coffee

[Nope, that is not Voldemort in the lower left-hand corner, whose head is a blur. Just my friend Dave. I doubt Voldy is much of a runner.]

After I got home & took a long hot shower to warm back up, Matt & I flexed our sweet Excel skills and did some finance & wedding budgeting. We made it through without getting frustrated or ripping out any hair, so I call that a win! We must have felt pretty good afterwards, because we ran a bunch of errands and spent a lot of money and got lots of needed house stuff…plus a few little extras. Love this little typographic sign for my office (it’s slowly coming together):

home office typographic sign with motivational quotes

This is my fave quote on there:

home office typographic sign with motivational quotes

We all make mistakes. What matters most is what we learn from them.

As a creative and a web designer, no truer words have been spoken!

Saturday night, we made a nice dinner, then had another low-key night in, which included wine & watching White House Down with Channing Tatum. Oh yes. I guess I enjoyed that part more than Matt.

Sunday unwrapped a series of unfortunate events for us first-time homeowners. A faulty warning buzzer failed to let us know that our holding tank was full. (Since we don’t have city water or sewage, this tank holds all of our “grey water,” a.k.a. anything that goes down a drain.) After I tried to flush a tissue down one of our toilets literally five times, trying to figure out why the water wouldn’t go down the whole way…we soon found a few inches of water on the ground in our laundry room, next to the bathroom. Thus we came to realize that the holding tank was full, there was nowhere for the water to go, and it had backed up out of the drain and into the laundry room. WOMP. At least it wasn’t, er, dirty water…

While cleaning up the waterworks, the wind howled and screeched outside. Soon the lights were flickering and tornado sirens started blaring! Crikey, I thought it couldn’t get much worse than backed up toilet water, but there you go. We were lucky nothing too bad ended up hitting us during the crazy storms all day, but my thoughts definitely go out to those in Illinois who were hit by the tornados yesterday. So scary. 😦

Needless to say, things were kind of put into perspective. Matt and I finished cleaning up, paid almost $200 to have our tank emergency-pumped on a Sunday (ouch), and all was okay again.

After cleaning up the basement floors, then ourselves, we headed to our friends’ house to watch the Lions-Steelers game. No stinky water or severe weather can keep us from duking it out over our football rivalry!

Steelers vs Lions

Steelers vs Lions

P.S. The Steelers won. But I won’t rub it in. 😉

We chowed down on some snacks, and Matt’s homemade chili.

homemade chili, football Sunday

and some candy for dessert.

111813_candy

Plus I tried a new beer: Shock Top Raspberry Wheat.

Shock Top Raspberry Wheat

I normally love Shock Top, but the raspberry flavor was a little too fake…almost reminded me of cough syrup at first. After a few drinks, I guess I got used to it, because I liked it enough to finish it. Ha.

After the game, we came home, ordered in a pizza for a late dinner, and caught up on our show, Once Upon a Time, for the night.

What did you do this weekend? What do you do when home disaster strikes?

We tend to freak out for approximately one minute, then I usually call my mom (who will later make fun of me), then get down to work and take care of business. Yesterday we stayed pretty calm and even laughed while cleaning up, because of the ridiculousness of it all, so I guess we’re getting better at dealing with these unexpected things that come along with owning a house!

Return to the Land of the Living

I spoke too soon earlier this week when I thought I was finally beating my cold.

After leaving work early on Monday (I was exhausted by lunchtime), I started coughing, coughing, coughing. I woke up Tuesday with a brick on my chest. Luckily, my doctor squeezed me in last-minute that morning and, guess what…. I have bronchitis. Joy!

Thankfully, my doc said it was literally just starting, so with the antibiotics she prescribed + the all-powerful Mucinex, I should be feeling relatively back to normal in just a few days. Phew! I actually felt a bit better last night already (maybe it was all in my head)—but I was so glad to feel like I was back in the Land of the Living. I actually had an appetite and was super excited for some pancakes as a late lunch…

banana pancakes

banana pancakes

I was even excited that I had the energy to do the dishes and some laundry. Sad, I know. Ha!

I’m feeling better just in time to welcome my fiance’s brother, coming from the UP of Michigan, to our house for the next several days. He’s in need of a little vaca because he’s been working a TON lately, so we’re excited he’s coming to spend some time with us! We have lots of plans in mind. He just started running, so I’m hoping I feel well enough to take him to my running club Saturday morning. I think we’re also going to Milwaukee for a day; doing some shopping; possibly taking the train to downtown Chicago (I don’t think he’s ever been there); and just spending some much-needed time relaxing and catching up. It will be fun!

Any recommendations on things to do in Milwaukee or Chicago this time of year? I usually only visit during the summer months or right around Christmastime, so I have no clue what to do in the fall when it’s a bit chillier.

Speaking of chilly, to warm myself up today, I got my first spiced apple cider of the season. Mmmm. Delicious. I’m usually a hot cocoa girl, but I’m supposed to be drinking “lots of clear liquids” while I battle this cold stuff, so apple cider sounded divine. Uhh, hopefully that counts.

mmm...spiced apple cider! first of the fall

mmm…spiced apple cider!

Good thing that Kleenex in the background of the pic is censoring my notebook cover. Twice. 😉

Stay warm & healthy, friends!

Hot cocoa or apple cider? Things to do in Chicago & Milwaukee?? Go! 

Pig Wings & Comedy Clubs

This weekend was a whirlwind!

I kicked it off with my usual exciting Friday night routine.

Saturday, I woke up at 5:25am to go run my 17-miler. It was an okay run, besides my knee hurting me for the last ten miles, and I’m proud I finished it.

After my run, an ice bath, scarfing down some eggs, and a 45-minute nap, Matt and I headed out for the farmer’s market. My weekend is incomplete without stopping by there! This week’s haul was light because I have a lot of veggies left from last week (I’ve been lazy on the cooking front), but we got: sweet corn on the cob, heirloom onions, peaches, apples and…a coconut turtle cookie bar. I thought 17 miles deserved a sweet treat, no?

After that, we met some friends at a local BBQ cook-off. I love me some BBQ but I was hot and tired, so I didn’t feel like chowing down too much. However, I did enjoy a “pig wing.” What is a pig wing, you ask? I asked too: It’s made from the shank of the pig, so it’s just one bone with a big hunk of tender, tasty meat on the end—thus looking like a chicken wing, but tasting like a BBQ pork rib.

Matt was eager once again to take a flattering picture of me eating a pig wing:

eating pig wings

Verdict—DEEEElicious!

I tried a few bites of pork from several competitors, and left feeling pretty full and sleepy.

When we got home, the food coma took over and I took another nap for 30 minutes. I was trying to bank some rest, because we had plans for the night, and I did NOT want to conk out before 10pm like I have the last two weekends.

We went to a good friend’s house in Milwaukee for some grilling out & drinks around dinnertime, and then hit up Comedy Sportz Club in downtown Milwaukee at 10pm. We had a BLAST! It was a lot of fun and we were constantly laughing. It was only $10 for the show, and the drinks there were relatively inexpensive too. I definitely recommend it for a fun night out, any local people out there. 🙂

We had such a good time at the 10 o’clock show that we stayed for the midnight “adult” show, but it was kind of a letdown compared to the first show. I think they relied too much on crude humor, so it wasn’t actually that funny (to me), but still, we had fun.

We didn’t get to bed until almost 3am—YAWN—so Sunday was a sleepy day. I went to my running club’s summer family picnic, where I ate some yummy food, had a beer & just chatted with everyone about running, life & fun stuff for a couple hours. When I got home, I must have been tired, because I conked out on the couch for 45 minutes. Ha! I never nap, but this weekend was full of them.

We topped off the weekend with a cheese plate to much on in the early afternoon:

cheese plate

Dill Havarti, Sweet Smoked Swiss, Aged Vermont Cheddar (I forget the fourth kind, but it was tasty!). We paired the cheese with some whole grain crackers, honey (so good with the cheddar), and apple slices. Our eyes were bigger than our stomachs!

We followed that up with Matt’s special lasagna a few hours later—complete with homemade family recipe sauce. Mmm. It is my favorite meal in the world. We finished out the night with two of our favorite TV shows right now: Breaking Bad and The Newsroom.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Did you do anything fun? What’s your favorite way to end the weekend? Any favorite TV shows?