3 more days…

…until Carly graces Austin with her presence! I’m so excited. We have a jam-packed weekend planned. Here’s a photo tour of our shenanigans from her last visit:

$3 Long Islands at the Library

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Hanging out on the rooftop at Maggie Mays

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Back at the Library for more long islands

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Riding the Jackalope. We had to.

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Attacking carafes of mimosas and a ridiculous brunch at Moonshine

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Exploring downtown

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Lots of wine & lots of laughs. Seriously love this girl to death.

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3 days, only 3 more days 🙂

Sunday is Bittersweet

Man, I am SO glad it’s Sunday. Yesterday was go-go-go, and I am absolutely beat. I’m also sad it’s Sunday. Since yesterday was so busy, it flew by and now the weekend is almost over 🙁

Yesterday I got the day started at Gold’s. I don’t know how I used to run 4-5 days a week on a treadmill. It is SO boring. I had my music blasting, watching One Tree Hill with the closed caption on, and the people on either side of me were both running. It was ideal conditions for a killer run, but at mile 2 I was wishing I could just call it quits. I pushed through and ended up finishing my scheduled 6 miler in 1:18. Slooowwww. I don’t care. It’s done.

After the gym, I dragged my sweaty self to Target to pick up a few ingredients for a pasta salad to bring to the BBQ. I grabbed one cucumber, a pint of cherry tomatoes, one small red onion, whole wheat medium-sized pasta shells, and a container of mozzarella ciliegine. Chop veggies & mozz + boil pasta + toss in vinaigrette + put in the fridge = super easy.

Next stop: Ulta! Honestly, I wish I could remember why I went here. I had a $5 off a $10 purchase coupon, and I know I had an item in mind. I was distracted by this

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I have been looking for this palette for MONTHS. I first spotted it in Ulta back in August. I decided I would purchase it for myself on my next payday, which was just 2 days away. Upon my return I learned they were sold out, and it was going to be awhile before they were restocked. Apparently the item was in incredibly high demand. I checked back a couple times since then, but I couldn’t find it in Ulta, Sephora, or even on Urban Decay’s website. I wrote it off, and accepted the fact I wouldn’t be able to purchase it.

Until yesterday. Just out of curiosity, I swung down the UD aisle at Ulta. And what do you know, there was one palette left! Whatever I had just came to the store for was erased from my mind. I grabbed the palette and made a beeline to the register as fast as I could.

UD is pretty pricey, so 12 shadows (all great, neutral colors), a double-ended eyeliner (brown/black), and a travel sized eyeshadow primer for $44 ($39 with my $5 off coupon) is a steal!

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After Ulta I headed to Nordstrom Rack to use my gift certificate. I had only made my way through half of the store before I noticed the massive line extending all the way to the back wall. I counted 27 people waiting in line for the register. It was 2:15, and my hair appointment was at 3. Absolutely no way to try on the items I had already picked up AND wait in line to pay AND drive 15 minutes to the salon. I sadly left empty handed.

I spent 3 hours at the salon for my cut & partial highlight. Yes, 3 hours. Thankfully they serve wine during your services 🙂 After I was finished there, I raced home to change & head to the BBQ.

Dinner was delicious, and with great company. We played several games of Texas Hold ‘Em. I ended up leaving $20 up, which isn’t much but it’s better than leaving down! There’s no better feeling than taking money from a group of guys in poker 😉

This morning was spent recuperating from alcohol consumption last night. Brad overindulged in Jack Daniels, I in Grey Goose. I think this may contribute to why I am feeling so exhausted today!

Well, it’s football time – hope you’re all having a great weekend 🙂

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

Yesterday after lunch, I found myself with thirty more minutes before I was due back at work. It was beautiful outside, so I decided to take advantage of it by going for a nice stroll down Congress.

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I love working two short blocks from the Capitol Building.

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The Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting is this weekend, so they were getting the tree ready for the event.

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I wasn’t able to attend the lighting last year, and unfortunately won’t be able to this year either. But here’s a photo from 2009 courtesy of the Statesman:

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Personally, I think the tree could be a little bigger 😉

If you are in the Austin area, it definitely seems worth checking out. Here is the schedule for Saturday:

    • 6:00-6:50pm: Holiday Sing-Along
    • 6:50-7:00pm: Tree and Congress Avenue Lighting
    • 7:00-9:00pm: Holiday Stroll & Performances on Congress

The holiday season is upon us, and I LOVE it 🙂

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(source)

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2010 Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot Race Recap

This race was an interesting one.

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1. The temperature at the start was 80 degrees and HUMID. What happened to the cold front & 38 degree morning we were supposed to get?!IMG_0477

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2. I left my water bottle at home, and couldn’t find water to drink before the start. There were cases & cases of it behind the registration table and at a couple stands, but none for the runners/walkers. When I asked a volunteer for one of their bottles I was told “sorry honey, those are for the employees. They have some for the runners somewhere, but I have no idea where.” And with that, she turned her back to me. At this point, I had already done two laps around the place with no luck.

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3. The start line was an absolute disaster. It cost extra to run the timed race, and us timed runners all had blue bibs. When it was time to line up at the start (in the Timed Runners corral), it was basically a free-for-all. We were surrounded on all sides by bibs which were not blue. I understand this is more of a mild race than a half marathon, but how does it make sense that the people who paid more have to bob and weave around the walkers and slower runners? If you want to save a few bucks, please at least line up where you are supposed to. It was pretty frustrating.

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4. Let’s talk about the course, shall we? The map of where we were supposed to run was different than the course we actually ran. Apparently at one intersection, the runners were supposed to go left, but the APD motorcycle brigade brought them right instead. The pacer car had correctly gone left, but at this point the rest of the runners were just following the crowd – in the wrong direction. The result? The total mileage for the race came up at just over 4.5 miles.

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We brought Bo along with us to the race. He a giant ball of energy, and he loves to run when he is surrounded by people. Unfortunately, the heat and humidity really got to him that morning. He (like a runner!) started off way too fast, and dragged us through our first mile in nine & a half minutes. After that though, his pace dropped considerably. Just after we hit the mile 2 marker, we were slowed to a walk. I didn’t mind it though because it was really hot and I couldn’t seem to rehydrate enough (that bottle of water pre-race probably would have helped…) to recover. We took a mini-break at every water stop so Bo could rehydrate also

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Turkey legs!! 🙂

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Our official chip time was 1:18:15. We were walking slowwww haha. Oh well, it’s a Thanksgiving tradition so I’m glad we all finished together 🙂 After we were done, Bo cooled off in the lake

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Overall, we had a great time. I just hope the race next year is more organized!

Deals & Steals … and vodka

As I mentioned this weekend, I am a sucker for free gifts. But just as important, I love scoring a GREAT deal. It doesn’t have to be free, but wow – if it’s heavily discounted I will do a happy dance for days! This week a few deals fell into my lap that I’m pretty excited about.

I’ve subscribed and unsubscribed to Groupon and Living Social several times. It seemed every time I came across a deal I was interested in, the disposable income just wasn’t there. And when I did have a few dollars to spare? They offered me car washes and segway rides. No thanks. I embarked on my Groupon journey again last week, and Monday I was pleasantly surprised by the offer in my inbox: a $50 gift card to Nordstrom Rack for only $25. Further compounding my delight, they were offering me $10 off my first Groupon purchase. $15 for a $50 GC – how could I say no?! Things only continued looking up as I discovered Nordstrom Rack was having an additional 30% off sale on Black Friday. Hell YES!

Next up: running attire. One of the most comfortable items of clothing I run in are Nike Tempo shorts. I love ’em. What I don’t love, however, is their $28 full retail price tag. Sometimes I can score a pair at Academy for $21.99, but even still, it’s a pretty penny for a pair of lightweight shorts. Last night while I was on Twitter, a few people I follow were pretty riled up about a sale on the Tempos. Sale? Where?! I followed the link in the tweet, and was pleasantly surprised to find out the shorts were currently marked down to $15.97. And on top of that, there was 25% off clearance items PLUS free shipping! That brings the total for one pair of shorts just shy of $12. Go get a pair!! GO!!

Also, I have been toying with the idea of Bikram yoga for awhile now. I’ve heard it does wonders for your body (especially combined with running), and I’m intrigued. Caitlin told me a studio would be opening up just around the corner from us, and I knew it was time to take the plunge. They are currently advertising two introductory specials: $20 for 10 days -or- $49 for 30 days unlimited. (To compare, one month of unlimited regularly goes for $150).

Since planning my marathon training schedule has been incredibly challenging for the month of December, I’ve been resisting making the purchase on either of those packages. I simply don’t want to fork over the money if I know I won’t be able to reap the full benefits of the trial run. It will just have to wait until the new year.

That is, until I checked my email this morning. Groupon had done it again! $24 for 30 days unlimited at Pure Bikram Yoga! Even if you purchase it today, it won’t expire until the end of February. I scooped that one up immediately – 51% savings off the “special” they were already having? Yes, yes please. Don’t mind if I do! I’ll be tucking it away until January 🙂 It’s still available for purchase, so if you’re in the Austin area – go take advantage of that great deal!!

I’m hoping the money-saving trend of the week continues on to the liquor store. I need to grab a bottle of vodka to mix up a few drinks with for my Skype date Friday morning with Carly. Vodka isn’t something I’ll skimp on though – if it costs $5 more for a bottle in glass rather than plastic, I will happily pay it. Nothing good comes out of a plastic jug of cheap liquor 😉

2010 Rock n Roll San Antonio 1/2 Marathon Race Recap

Saturday morning I made the drive down to San Antonio to hit the Expo (aka the money sucker). I arrived at the Alamodome just before 11, and the crowds weren’t too bad yet, I will say, however, I was less than thrilled about paying $10 to park. I’m sure if I was more familiar with the area I could have found somewhere cheaper. I mean, we’re paying enough money to participate in the race – I don’t think we should be charged to pick up our race packet!

 

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The Expo was absolutely massive; it totally blew the one at Disney Wine & Dine out of the water. Pretty much anything you could ever want or need before a race was being sold there. And, most importantly, there was plenty of freebies! You best believe I stocked up on the free stuff after I was robbed for parking 🙂

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Of course, I didn’t have the willpower to get out of there without buying something. I invested in these guys:

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I had them in my hand, and then put them back about three times because 1) I didn’t want to spend the money on them and 2) the line was ridiculously long. I was planning on buying these eventually anyway, so I rationalized it like this: they were 20% off at the Expo AND I wouldn’t have to pay shipping. Essentially I would be saving about $20. I’m so glad I did, because they helped immensely on the 90 minute drive home following the race!

After I left the Expo, I met up with my friend who I was staying with for lunch, and then we did a quick Target run so I could grab bread/peanut butter/bananas for my pre-race breakfast. Of course in the rushed morning I managed to leave all my supplies at home.

At 6, I headed to Chris Madrid’s to meet up with a few Operation Jack supporters, as well as founder Sam Felsenfeld. Since I had a chicken sandwich for lunch, I wasn’t in a burger mood which was unfortunate since their burgers are extremely popular. I ordered some nachos, which were just okay, but the company was great 🙂 Back to my friend’s house I went, and I was in bed by 9:30.

The alarm went off at 2:45, and I immediately snoozed it and went back to sleep. Carly texted me just after 3 to make sure I was up, and then I decided it would be best to get out of bed and get moving! I had breakfast and started getting my hydration on with a 33oz bottle of water.  I dressed in a red tech shirt, UA compression capris, and a throwaway fleece.

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I got to the satellite parking lot super early, as you can see above. The shuttles to the start line began at 4, but I wanted to make sure I got there early enough so I wouldn’t have to wait in line. It was 56, which seems fairly bearable but there was a wind whipping around that made it feel much, much chillier.

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The shuttle ride to the start took about 15 minutes, not too bad. I met up with a few gals from Twitter: Marci, Megan, and Cassie. Here’s a photo from Marci’s phone of us livin’ it up in Corral 26 (and actually the only pic I have of me on race day!) Seriously, I am a midget.

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I was initially in Corral 20 but I moved back so we could all hang out pre-race. Smart move, considering the first corral was released at 7:15 and we didn’t even cross the start line until 8:02. We kept each other company!

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We ran past the Alamo! I’m pretty proud of this picture because I didn’t realize it was there until I had passed it so I tossed my camera over my shoulder and snapped a pic. Not bad, right?

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Somewhere after this point, I want to say probably near the end of mile 8, I decided it would be a good idea to stop to hit the port-o-potty. I figured I would have to stop eventually, so might as well get it out of the way now. Big mistake. This added a little over 5 minutes to my time. And THEN when I tried to start running again, my legs just weren’t having it. They were rebelling hardcore, and they felt like lead.

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Heading towards the Alamodome for the second time…

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So just when you are breathing a sigh of relief when you see the mile 13 sign, you see this up ahead of you:

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Yes, that’s an uphill finish. Are. You. Kidding. Me.

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Annnd the finish line!

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And the medal? Oh yes, it’s beautiful. It’s sparkly and glittery and I love it.

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Here are my splits:

Mile 1 11:12

Mile 2 11:36

Mile 3 11:58

Mile 4 11:37

Mile 5 12:23 <—hill!

Mile 6 11:58

Mile 7 12:12

Mile 8 11:12

Mile 9 13:04 <—here’s where the wheels fell off

Mile 10 12:39

Mile 11 13:15

Mile 12 13:23

Mile 13 13:25

Mile .1 1:03

I finished in 2:47, a 25 minute PR – hell yes! Would I have been more pleased with 2:42 (or less) had I not stopped at the restroom? Of course. But there was no avoiding that. A PR is a PR, and I’ll take it! Plus, it makes it easier to PR in my next race 😉

Post-race, in order to get your bag from gear check you had to walk down one large flight of stairs and then up another. Just what we were all in the mood for, stair climbing. I contemplated having my free celebratory beer after the race, but honestly I was ready to get the hell home. I took the shuttle back to my car, slipped on my compression socks, and spent the 90 minute drive home overcome by a little thing called runner’s high. Gotta love it 🙂

Half marathon number two is officially in the books, and it’s time to start training for the third!

Upcoming Races

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about running. My shin splints have been more manageable than usual, and I’m not sure if it’s the different pair of shoes or just the fact I’m not pounding the pavement 4 days a week. I’m nervous once I start training more diligently for the next half that they will make a horrific comeback. And there’s always that one thought in the back of my mind: what if it’s a stress fracture? It pains me to even type those two words. The idea of taking 6-8 weeks off from running makes me sad.

Let’s take a look at what Carly and I have coming up on our race schedule:

Carly Melissa
November 14, 2010 13.1 Ft Lauderdale Rock n Roll San Antonio Half
January 30, 2011 Florida Challenge Half 3m Half Marathon
February 20, 2011 A1A Half Marathon Austin Half Marathon

Since I’ve been nursing this nagging injury, my training has suffered. My training plan is buried in a list of Google Docs and hasn’t been opened in over a month. Honestly, I’m ready to get RNRSA over and done with. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very excited for it and I’m hoping to PR. But I’m more excited to get a training plan drawn up in preparation for the two races at the beginning of 2011!

Depending on how this weekend’s race goes will determine what step I take next. Next? Yes, next. I’m looking forward into the future, a little bit further than February. If all goes well on Sunday, I’ve got my eye on this guy:

This isn’t a huge decision, considering initially I was committed to running the full in San Antonio. A couple weeks ago I had been tossing the idea of a marathon around, and I narrowed my choices down to RnR San Diego and RnR Las Vegas (2011). I think I have pretty much ruled out Vegas because it’s close to Christmas, and I’m sure we would turn that into a mini vacation which screams dollar $ign$. Who knows, at this point anything can happen!

So my questions for you are…

What race did you choose for your first full marathon? If you could do it all over again, would you choose the same race?

Time to plan!

Yesterday I left work for my lunch break on a mission to purchase a new planner. I headed to this wonderful store:

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The Paper Place is extremely dangerous! There were two tables full of planners and journals, walls full of pens and cardstock, and spinning racks of stationery. I had spent 35 minutes in the store and I didn’t even realize it!

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After wandering around for a bit, I realized I should probably start looking for what I actually came for.

Initially, I had my heart set on Exaclair’s Exacompta Space 24 since Sarah from The SHU Box raved about it. I appreciated the limited amount of room for actual appointments (because I’m not really that important) while also having ample room for notes/lists/reminders. I usually find myself doing rough drafts of budgets and sketching grocery lists in my planner, so the more room the better. It was perfect – except when I started thinking about carrying it around. I rotate through my purse inventory fairly often, probably about every 3 weeks. While it would fit in my current bag with ease, my smaller bags just wouldn’t have room. This was a deal breaker.

Just as I was about to admit defeat and head back to work, I noticed a smaller planner on the very bottom row. The Textagenda. I believe it’s marketed towards students since the calendar runs from July to August, but this was fine by me. It meant I was able to start using it right away!

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I’m not too wild about the color, but it was my only option. Sure, I could have waited and ordered it online with a color I liked more but I’m not all about delayed satisfaction. I’m more of a Veruca Salt “I want it NOW” kind of gal. So red it is 🙂

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Even smaller appointment area, more space for notes/lists, and “priority” boxes to fill with the day’s most important items. Even better, it was nearly $10 cheaper than the Space 24! Sold!

I haven’t started writing in it yet, I’m saving it for tomorrow evening when I will start planning out my week. Today is reserved for organization of the bedroom, which is going really well actually. Back to work I go, hope everyone is enjoying their weekend!

Get it together!

Lately, I’m feeling unorganized. In my life, lack of organization equals stress, which ultimately equals crankiness. I am not a fan of being cranky, nor are the people around me. I mentioned last weekend actually two things I needed to work on: sleep quality and organization.

I’ve pretty much nailed down what time I need to be in bed every night in order to have a good nights sleep. Much to my surprise, it wasn’t 9 or 9:30. I need to be in bed no later than 10:30, and the TV off & lights out by 11. Waking up at 5:30 gives me about 6.5 hours of sleep. Weird, right? I’m always reading how it’s recommended you have 8 hours of sleep every night in order to reduce stress and increase productivity. Different strokes for different folks.

This weekend I am planning on tackling my organization approach. I don’t feel organized unless the coffee table/dining room table is clean, the laundry is done, and there aren’t any (dirty) dishes in the sink or (clean)dishwasher. Here is my downfall: when I clean off the dining room & coffee tables, I put everything in the bedroom. Uh, how does that make any sense? I’m just relocating clutter. And to the worst possible place, in a room where I need to relax and sleep!

After work tomorrow night, I’m dragging all of my stacks of papers and the rest of the random items out of the bedroom and into the living room. I will file papers/bills, I will throw away things I don’t need, and everything will be put in its place. I need to stop looking at it and stop thinking about it and just DO it!

Between work (I leave the house at 6:20am and return home at 6:15pm), blogging, NaNoWriMo, training for half marathons, and spending quality time with my boyfriend, I’m noticing some things just don’t get done. The only thing which is consistent is work, and that is because it is something I MUST do. However, everything I listed are things I MUST do.

I am going to start scheduling tasks, and treat them the way I treat work. For example, I will schedule 1-2 hours a day to knock out my 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo. If it’s written down, it must be accomplished.

Tomorrow, I am going on a hunt for a good planner on my lunch break. I got a few good ideas from Sarah, so I know what I am looking for. After watching this video from the Healthy Living Summit, I am incredibly motivated to get the ball rolling!

Editing is for December

Or so they say. National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, kicked off yesterday and many writers already are knee deep in thousands of words. Never heard of it? NaNoWriMo is an extreme approach to writing a novel. Basically, you have until November 30th to crank out a 50,000 word novel (approximately 175 pages). You can read a little bit more about it on their “What is NaNoWriMo?” page.

I came across this annual project last year, right as it was wrapping up. I thought it was an awesome idea, but since I showed up late to the party I’d have to wait until the following year. Enter November 2010. I’m less than two weeks away from running my second half marathon, so that means taper time. After the race, I’ll prob take it easy for a week or two before I embark on training for my third half (who am I?!). I think this would be the perfect time to jump in on NaNoWriMo!

I’m not going to lie, I’m incredibly nervous. This is going to take A LOT of dedication, as well as consume any amount of free time I have until the end of November. However, I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a novel for a couple years now, so why not! I have confidence this is 100% doable. It’s only 30 days, right?

Hey NaNoWriMo, I’m up for the challenge – count me in!

It only started yesterday – it’s not too late for you to sign up too! 🙂