Running this town

It’s hard to believe with all the races we’ve completed, Carly and I have ran only two of them together. And we’ve never ran together purely for fun or during training season.

Until this morning.

4am came early, but we sucked it up and were on our way downtown by 5. On the schedule was 7 miles and we were determined to make it happen.

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Runtex has a couple water stops set up on the Town Lake Trail, and we were more than appreciative.

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Those dark circles are mucho attractive. So are my geriatric shoes.

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7 miles = done! I’m not even going to tell you how long it took us, but I will say we took walk breaks often. No need to go hardcore on our first “longer” run. (Paula, I know your “short” run was twice the distance of our “long” run haha) We pushed it pretty hard while we ran, and recovered with short spurts of walking.

Of course afterwards, we were dying to have caffeine pump through our veins. The plan was to hit up Whole Foods, but they weren’t open yet when we got there. We headed across the street to Starbucks.

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And then back across the street to Whole Foods.

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We were all set on coffee; now it was time for FOOD!

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Eggs benedict, four cheese quiche, and hash browns.

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The heat wasn’t too unbearable yet so we snagged a table in the shade outside on the patio.

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Heavenly!

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We were on a mission: purchase two bottles of Argentinian wine, two delicious cheeses to enjoy later this afternoon, and boniato for our international cuisine night tomorrow.

Cheetahs rejoiced and danced through the aisles of the wine section.

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Can we move in here?

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We quickly decided on two bottles of wine … and then grabbed an extra for tonight, of course.

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For cheese, we went with a Cranberry Chipotle Cheddar, and Capricho de Cabra with Fine Herbs.

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Unfortunately, Whole Foods didn’t carry boniato so we had to venture to somewhere less exciting: Fiesta.

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An employee found it pretty amusing that we were snapping photos in the parking lot.

Guy: Are you taking pictures of Fiesta?

Me: Um, yes, it’s our first time here!

Guy: Oh, well it’s not that exciting…

Once inside we made a beeline to the produce, and look what Mr. Produce man was restocking: boniato! They must have known we were coming…

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Carly’s getting ready to jump in there

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And I present to you, boniato!

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After all of this, we were home by 9:30. Talk about a productive morning! Now we’re foam rolling, icing, hydrating, and lounging comfortably on the couch. Well deserved relaxation after killing our 7 mile goal this morning!

Did you run/race today? How did it go?

Can you hear me now?

I mentioned a few weeks ago how my headphones crapped out on me. At the starting line of a race – the timing was impeccable. I’ve been eyeing up Yurbuds since then, but decided I would hold out until the Austin Expo since they will be there as a vendor. I purchased this pair to hold me over:

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Philips In-Ear Headphones Music Colors. They came with three different sizes of earpieces, so it would be near impossible for them to not fit your ear. I say near impossible because there was someone who NONE of the earpieces worked for – me. Even the smallest ones were still too big.

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Don’t get me wrong, they stayed in place pretty well while at my desk at work. And while I had to gently press them back into my ears a couple times, they faired pretty well on the elliptical. But running? The main area of usage for these lil guys? No dice. My 4-miler on Sunday was the true test. I spent more time fidgeting with the headphones than I did my Garmin – and that’s saying something!

I will say (for the benefit of those who have normal ears) the sound quality was pretty decent for a $15 pair of earbuds. I would definitely recommend them! They just weren’t for me.

I don’t feel like it’s too much to ask to have a pair of headphones that fit. Yes, I could use the over-the-ear variety, but they don’t work so well while also rockin’ a pair of shades. Been there, done that. There just isn’t enough top-of-the-ear real estate for both. So it’s settled: I’ll invest in a pair of Yurbuds at the Expo on Friday.

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What headphones do you use? Have you ever tried Yurbuds? Do you think there is something better out there than Yurbuds for people with retarded ears like me?

A little positivity can go a long way

The plan yesterday to tackle Monday and come out on the other side unscathed was a success! Yes, I had been up since 4 and I was tired. Yes, I had a mountain of work to do, stayed late at work, and certain things didn’t go my way. Yes, I spent over two hours yesterday commuting and it was horrendous. But you know what? I didn’t bitch, whine or complain about it. I didn’t mention how much I despise Monday. I stayed in a great mood all day.

Here’s a brief recap of the day’s events: I hit my calorie goal for the day, which hasn’t happened in a while. I think I can attribute it to my lack of stress-eating, which stemmed from my low-stress day.  At lunch, I returned my sneakers – no questions asked, no hassles. When the cashier asked why I was returning them, I informed her I had found them somewhere else for $50 cheaper. She insisted I couldn’t have been buying the same shoe – surely I must be mistaken. I received an email from the event organizer for the Cupid’s Chase 5k that was cancelled; they are refunding all of the participants registration fees. Amazing, I’m really impressed. I sent a referral code to my sister since she is signing up for Dish Network, and was rewarded $5 off a month (every little bit helps!) for 10 months, plus 5 free pay-per-view credits. Score!

Also, I noticed in my email that I made a couple purchases Sunday evening. The bottle of wine I consumed temporary fogged my memory. I finally invested in a RoadID:

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I’ve been meaning to do this for awhile, especially since I’m alone on 90% of my runs. I also purchased a new gym bag:

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I haven’t exactly figured out why I bought it, considering I don’t carry a bag to the gym. Ever. It has tons of compartments though – it could likely turn into a great travel bag. We’ll see after it arrives and I give it a onceover. Annnnd… my new shoes arrive tomorrow! I can’t wait to break ’em in on a run.

T-minus 12 days til (sold out!) Austin!

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Do you believe in the power of positive thinking? Any particular reason or possibly a story you would like to share?

Planned vs. Actual

What I planned on doing today:

    sleep in until at least 9
    organize the bedroom / hang up clothes / do laundry
    12-miler at Town Lake with a fellow blogger from Reese’s
    break in my new sneakers

What I actually ended up doing today:

    woke up before 7 bc of the pooch we are dog-sittng
    host a Super Bowl Sunday party
    make spinach dip & cook a huge vat of chili
    no running, resulting in a goose egg for weekly mileage
    bought another pair of sneakers

I’m most bummed about missing the Town Lake run, I really was looking forward to meeting her! Hopefully we’ll be able to get together prior to the Austin 1/2 before we take on the hills of that atrocious course.

Okay, so I didn’t technically buy an additional pair of sneakers; I’m returning the ones I bought yesterday. I went to RunTex with the intention of purchasing the Asics Landreth. The salesman strongly suggested I steer clear of them since my overpronation (even with the orthotics) was terrible. I clearly needed a bit more support than those would provide me. I convinced him I surely wasn’t interested in the Kayano either, since spending $140 on a pair of running sneakers makes me want to throw up a little bit. So Saucony it was.

While online today reading reviews on the new kicks, I came across a website advertising them for $50 cheaper than what I paid. And in a better sexier color. With free shipping. And after some research, I discovered a 15% off discount code. Out came the credit card, and those babies were mine. I’ll be returning the other ones this week.

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I also purchased a pair of black laces for them – hotness. AND with the money I saved, I have my eye on a new gym bag 😉

Currently I’m halfway through a bottle of Francis Coppola Claret and watching the Super Bowl halfheartedly. Not gonna lie, still bitter the Patriots couldn’t get it together against the Jets. Ugh. Anyway, Go Green Bay!!

How was your weekend? Any fabulous runs or PRs at races?

Well Read

I love Saturdays.

We knocked out next week’s grocery shopping this morning, grabbed a quick lunch, and I spent a bit of time at Barnes & Noble. Thanks to Groupon I was in possession of a $20 gift certificate, which I purchased yesterday for only $10. I could spend forever in that store. In fact, I did just that today – I perused the aisles of books for just over an hour.

I also may or may not have bought another pair of running shoes today. Hi, my name is Melissa and I am addicted to running shoes. I’ll talk about that tomorrow.

Tonight’s dinner was a one-pot wonder: Jenna’s Creamy White Chicken Chili. I substituted ground turkey & omitted the beans (since I had neither chicken nor cannellini on hand), doubled the cayenne, and tripled the garlic. Ah. Maz. Ing. Seriously if you have not made this EatLiveRun recipe, it’s a must.

I’m about to crawl into bed with a book, but I have to make a decision:

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No, I didn’t buy all of these today! I love to read, and adding books to my shelf really makes me happy. These are just the ones I’ve bought since the beginning of the year. I also have “The Help” by Kathyrn Stockett (borrowed from a colleague) and “Be Your Own Best Publicist” by Jessica Kleiman (today’s purchase). Oh, and the new issues of both Runner’s World and Women’s Health. Decisions, decisions.

Goodnight all!

What are you currently reading? Have you read any of the ones I mentioned?

Distractions

Perhaps drinking countless glasses of alcoholic beverages on Friday with a half marathon on Sunday wasn’t such a fabulous idea. Seemed like a good one at the time. I was hating life this morning, and am still desperately trying to rehydrate. Hey, I never said I was a smart girl.

In an attempt to take my mind off the hangover and numb my pre-race nerves, Brad and I headed out for a day of retail therapy.

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We hit the mall first so Brad could get fitted for his tux at Men’s Wearhouse. Seriously, $170 to RENT a tux? It better do a little song and dance for us when we pick it up. I hit Victoria’s Secret to redeem a coupon for free underwear. Free is my favorite.

For my birthday, my parents sent me a gift card to Sur La Table. That place is dangerous, no exaggeration. I could have been in there for hours but since Brad was with me I tried to make it quick.

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I bought a 5 piece set of OXO Pop storage containers, a pastry brush, a microplane, and a lemon juicer. I also conveniently planned tonight’s dinner around these items so I can use three of them immediately.

I bribed Brad with lunch in exchange for a quick trip to the Coach Outlet. We hit Pei Wei, and then the Round Rock Outlets.

So much for a quick trip. The Coach store was an absolute mob scene – it was like Christmastime. Upon walking through the door, I was promptly handed a coupon for an additional 30% off anything in the store. My heart skipped a beat.

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Full Retail: $428 Outlet Price: $199 Final Price w/tax: $151

Happy Birthday to me! An absolute steal. I usually treat myself to one designer bag per year, but only from Marshalls/TJ Maxx/Outlet Store. This will be 2011’s.

After 30 minutes of waiting in line at the register, that baby was mine. Next we headed to Academy so I could grab a long sleeved dri-fit shirt for the race tomorrow and some Gu. And then our FINAL STOP, Target. We did a quick 20 minute grocery trip, and then went home.

It was a long day of shopping, but it really kept my mind off of things for a few hours. Now I’m sitting on the couch with butterflies, freaking out about the forecast for tomorrow:

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Not a fan.

Time to distract myself again – with cooking! On tonight’s menu is Shrimp sautéed in garlic & olive oil with wheat pasta, tomato, basil, and pesto. Simple, yet satisfying.

How do you deal with pre-race jitters?

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 🙂

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 😉

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!