The Countdown Is ON

In t-minus three days, I will be having a sleepover with my older sister and her new dog (!!), then waking up ridiculously early to head to the airport. After a few short hours up in the air, we’ll be reunited with our long-lost little sister in Phoenix, Arizona…in the SUN and WARM air and happiness!

Can you tell I’m excited?

My blog posts have been lacking {or just, MIA} lately, mostly due to a crazier-than-usual work schedule and actually staying on top of my workouts despite that. Which leaves no real extra time for this little hobby o’ mine. At least the craziness of the last few weeks will make this little run-cation all the more sweeter! I can’t wait to let you all know how the Phoenix Half Marathon goes (first race of the year for me), and fill you in on the other fun parts of the trip: Sweet hotel, pool time, drinkies, lots of good eats, baseball? and who knows what else.

last year's runcation, celebratory drinks

last year’s runcation, celebratory drinks

Actually, who knows what else? Really? We have all been so busy we haven’t planned…ANYTHING…beyond our race. I guess we’ll play it by ear once we get there.

In the meantime, while I daydream and drool over the thought of running in a t-shirt and not freezing my arse off, I am passing the time in the following ways:

• Obsessively googling bridesmaids dress options. I think I have it figured out…
• Equally obsessively tracking my bridal shoes’ arrival date (helloooo, beautifuls)
Badgley Mischka Randall wedding shoes in mint blue
• Agonizing over our ‘final’ wedding guest list. Seriously, this is the toughest part! We want everyone to be there…
• Watching DVDs of the West Wing to distract me from above wedding things.
• Tromping along on my new (to me) treadmill at home!
• Chugging down protein shakes, eating tuna sandwiches, and sleeping.

My legs and body have been getting sore more than usual in the last few weeks, and I’m not sure why. The fact I’m on a diet—maybe I’m not getting enough protein? Not enough sleep? Pushing myself too hard? I’m betting on the protein/sleep combo. For now.

P.S. Is it pathetic that my right arm and left buttocks are super sore from bowling on Saturday? ‘Cause I kinda think it is. But I ran a marathon last year, so it’s cool. Right?

– – –

What should we do in Phoenix, Arizona? Where should we eat & drink?
What’s making me so sore lately—need more cowbell protein?

And the Sister Runcation 2014 Is…

It’s been settled: Sister Runcation 2014, here we come.

011014-skyline2

It will be in a city slightly warmer than Wisconsin…

011014-cactus-phoenix-arizona

A little sandier. And maybe…a tad prickly.

011014-skyline-mountains

But, so beautiful.

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I can’t wait to cross that finish line!

That’s right: My sisters and I are going to Phoenix, Arizona, to run the BMO Harris Bank Phoenix Half Marathon on Saturday, March 1st. Woohoo!

Why Arizona? My friend, Kelly, told me that Arizona is great in February-March, because it’s warmer, but not humid. Last year, we ran a race in Florida and it was unbelievably humid (= torture), so we didn’t want to make that mistake again this year.

We thought it’d be a fun change of pace to escape our frigid homes for some warm & sunny desert scenery.

We’re all signed up, our flights are booked, and we’re on the hunt for a hotel. We’re stumped so far on where to stay and what to do while we’re there. Any suggestions?

– – –

Have you ever been to Arizona? What do you think we should do there?

Where would you love to escape to and run a race?

I wouldn’t mind escaping to Hawaii or some other tropical island to run right about now!

P.S. If you want to sign up, it’s $80 until the 15th, then the price goes up again. You can save $10 off the Phoenix Marathon (or half marathon) by using discount code FRIENDS10.

2014 Goals & Running Plans

I’m not normally a New Year’s resolutions type of gal. If you decide you want to do something, you should do it any week of the year, any day of the week, any time of day. But last night, our house was finally quiet and I had time to reflect on what I’m looking forward to this year. With that in mind, I have a few things I want to work on in the near-future…I refuse to call them “resolutions,” but I am excited to have these goals to work towards!

• Train for the Sister Run-cation Half Marathon in March
My sisters and I finally picked our run-cation half marathon, but I’ll wait to reveal that in another post. You’ll have to wait! Think warm & sunny. Here’s a hint from the event’s Facebook page…

2014 Sister Run-Cation preview

I am stoked to have a 13.1 miler to train for—I already feel motivated and amped to start my workouts and get back to more consistent running. I don’t know if I’m in any shape to PR for the half, but I’ll evaluate a time goal after I get a few longer runs under my belt.

• Cook More + Share Recipes

Southwest Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

With a busy workweek, plus getting home after 6pm post-workout, I tend to fall back on cooking the same meals. I want to spice up my cooking life and try some new recipes, including a lot of lightened-up meals to help me shed a few pounds! And lucky you, lovely blog readers, you get to be the guinea pigs.

• Lose 20 pounds
Alright, I gotta pull the cliché bride-to-be “I want to lose weight” card.

I'm on a diet until the wedding's over.

I’ve wanted to do so for the last two years, so this will be good motivation, right? Losing 20 pounds should be easy to do before August.

• Blog more often
I love writing and it makes me happy, so I want to set more time aside every day to do what I love!

And last but not least…

• Run the Green Bay Marathon
Cellcom Green Bay Marathon
The granddaddy of them all: I signed up for my second marathon! After I ran the Chicago Marathon this past October, I knew I wanted to run another marathon. I felt like I could have trained better and run faster, so here’s to an injury-free year of running and a marathon PR at the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon in May.

– – –

Do you make New Year’s Resolutions? 

What are your goals for 2014? 

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! 😉