Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Half Marathon Training: Weeks Eight and Nine

I can't lie - these weeks are combined because Week 7 was pretty much non-existent and too sad to post on its own!  After Week 8 though I'm feeling much better and much more confident.

Week Eight

Monday: Bikram Yoga
Tuesday: Approximately 2.5 km in 20 minutes? I don't remember exactly.  I was working on my form in my new shoes and got really tired and frustrated pretty quickly.
Wednesday: Rest - chiropractor day!
Thursday: Rest - late at work
Friday: Rest - didn't write down why
Saturday: Rest - didn't write down why!
Sunday: Running form training clinic instead of planned 16km LSD - bumped to next week

Total mileage: Practically nothing

After this week, I tweeted "Looking back on the week, I ran only once plus the training clinic. WTF, Past Jenn? You'll never finish the half like this! #princesshalf"  I was really tired and frustrated with myself.  I knew I could pick it up again and at the end of the day things will be okay as long as I don't let one bad week affect the rest of my training, but even looking back on the week I feel bad.

Week Nine

Monday: Bikram Yoga - went for a half hour and gave up.  It was going really poorly because I was PMS'ing and ate curry for dinner shortly before (bad call).
Tuesday: Rest - sick
Wednesday: Rest - I was sick and even stayed home from work 
Thursday: 4.4 km in about 40 minutes - felt great to get back on the treadmill after being sick
Friday: 5.7 km in about 44 minutes - awesome run while watching What Not to Wear.  I ran a pretty steady pace and went faster on all the commercials.  I'll be repeating this workout.
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 16km LSD in approximately two hours!  Awesome run.

Total mileage: 26.1

Even with my Tuesday rest day, I was only about 3 km shy of my planned mileage for the week. It helped that I did a 16 km LSD when my schedule called for only 10 km.  

Monday, January 30, 2012

Giveaway Winner: Run Pretty Far Calendar

The winner of the Run Pretty Far calendar giveaway is Elle from Eat Run Sail!

Elle's goal this year is to run her first half marathon in May.  Go check out her blog to read all about her training and other adventures, and to cheer her on!

Thanks to everyone for reading and entering!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Long Run Recovery

Psst - have you entered the Run Pretty Far calendar giveaway yet?  You have a few hours left if you're reading this moments after I post it.  :-)

Today I went for my longest run yet - approximately 16 kilometres (10 miles, give or take) in approximately two hours.  It felt amazing.  The weather was perfect and despite a few hiccups with my route (so many icy cold puddles that were deeper than I thought they looked!), I enjoyed almost every minute of it and could have kept going.

My route took me through Quebec, over the Ottawa River twice, up to Rideau Hall (the official residence of the Governor General), through the beautiful surrounding neighbourhoods and past many embassies, and up and down the canal.  Every time I run in this city I feel so very lucky to live here.  I took a bunch of pictures along the way but haven't had a chance to upload them yet.

When I got home, I was feeling a lot of things.  Relief and pride were definitely key feelings!  Beyond that I was thirsty, hungry, cold and sore.  I needed to do a bit of a "cool down", hydrate, ice, refuel, stretch, get out of my sweaty clothes, have a shower, and foam roll/stick roll.  That is a lot of things to all do at once and I couldn't really multi-task them all at once.

Not knowing what order is really best to do those things in, I ended up...

  • pulling off my wet shoes and socks and my top layers
  • chugging a chocolate milk/banana "smoothie" while walking around my apartment to "cool down"
  • resting a bit on the couch while icing my ankle
  • showering and stretching a bit in the shower
  • stretching while drinking water
  • foam rolling and stick rolling while drinking more water 
  • drinking more water
This ended up working for me, more or less, but I'm really not sure if I went about it the best possible way.  So that's where you all come in!  When you get home from a long run, what do you do first?  Any tips, tricks or horror stories?  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Giveaway: Run Pretty Far Calendar (closed)

Nothing brightens a rainy, cold Monday like the chance to win something lovely!

I found Run Pretty Far when I was hunting for arm warmers to wear for the Princess Half Marathon.  I wanted something shiny and something not too pricey, since I wasn't sure I would ever wear them again.  I looked everywhere and could only find plain (read: not shiny or sparkly!) and very expensive arm warmers.  No good!

Finally I got lucky when someone mentioned Run Pretty Far arm warmers on Facebook.  They had exactly what I wanted!  I ordered three pairs of arm warmers (one for my sister and two for me since I couldn't decide on a colour).  I also ordered a beautiful calendar for myself, and a calendar for you for this giveaway.

When Jenn from Run Pretty Far found out about the giveaway, she generously offered to sponsor the giveaway.  A great big thank you goes to Jenn for that!

It is a beautiful calendar.  I have hung it next to my desk at work and I am writing my training schedule on it for easy reference.  I've already received compliments on it!

Run Pretty Far offers all sorts of running apparel - their tag line is "apparel and accessories designed to optimize the joy in your run".  I like that the name could be read as "run very far" or "run far while looking pretty".  Their prices for their products and shipping are very reasonable and my products arrived safely and quickly.  I was concerned about whether I would receive them on time and also about the colours, and Jenn was very quick to respond to e-mails and address my concerns.  I look forward to ordering from this company again!

Something with this logo is definitely on my wish list:

 And I think this t-shirt is adorable:

But enough with the talking, let's get on with the giveaway!  There are lots of different ways to enter and none of them are mandatory.  For the blog comments that involve commenting on this post, if you want to leave one comment with both entries in it (your goal(s) and what you would wish for from the Run Pretty Far shop) that is fine.

How to enter:

1. Since this is a calendar giveaway, comment on this post with your answer to this question - What's one of your goals for 2012?  (1 entry)

2. Like Run Pretty Far on Facebook. (1 entry)

3. Tweet about this giveaway (Please use the "Tweet" link in the Rafflecopter and it will automatically include a link to this post.) (1 entry - may be done once per day)

4. Visit Run Pretty Far and leave a comment on this post about what item from their shop you simply must have! (2 entries)

5. Comment on my post New Form, New Shoes, Oh My! with your advice/tips/suggestions about the questions in that post.  (2 entries)

I am using Rafflecopter to run the giveaway.  The only comment you need to leave below is for the entries - you then fill out the Rafflecopter form to let me know how many entries you get.  Only entries submitted through the Rafflecopter will count.  Please note that entries will be randomly verified before selecting a winner.

The giveaway will be open for entries until 12:01 a.m. on Monday, January 30, 2012.  I will announce the winner here that day (time permitting) and contact him/her by e-mail if one is provided.  The winner will have one (1) week to claim their prize, at which time if I haven't heard from him/her I will pick another winner.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New Shoes, New Form, Oh My!

Let me introduce you to my new friends - Thelma and Louise

My new shoes :-)
Thelma and Louise are a pair of Mizuno Wave Musha 2 shoes, which I bought on sale last week after a somewhat spontaneous stop in our local running/sporting goods store.  I knew my Nikes were getting tired and I would need a new pair before the half marathon, and I wanted time to break them in.  I also knew this store did not carry Nikes, and that they had a reputation for being very attentive and knowledgeable when it comes to putting people in the right shoes.  I wanted to see what kind of shoe they would suggest.

I got very very lucky and ended up with the who I believe is the owner/manager of the store looking after me.  He also teaches a monthly running clinic that focuses on proper running form - in his opinion, that means basically mid foot striking.

He watched me run and walk, then gave me tips on my form and technique right there in the store.  I ran and walked back and forth in the store, frontwards and backwards, on my heels and on my toes and on my mid foot as much as I could.  He learned a lot about my running in our short time together - when I started, what my goals are, what races I've done, where I feel pain - and said that these were the shoes for me.  Full stop.

He did not offer any other shoe because he had no other models in stock in my size that offered the same heel/toe drop.  He stressed that what I really needed was to move to a smaller heel/toe drop to support my move towards mid-foot striking.  The shoe felt good so I went ahead and bought it.  When the register rang up at only $80 before tax, I couldn't help but be more convinced.  He could have sold me any shoe at any price - I was paying attention to what I needed more than what it cost - and he went with what is my opinion a very cheap option.

Since I bought them last week, I had only been out in them once before today.  I ran on the treadmill for about 20 minutes, focusing on my form and trying to feel how my feet were hitting and focus on my toes instead of my heels.  After 20 minutes I was sore, exhausted and frustrated.  I felt like a terrible runner.  I didn't want these new shoes and I didn't want to change my form.  What I'm doing is working getting me where I need to go and I'm not injured or at least not seriously injured (yet).  I was feeling frustrated and defeated.

Then today I attended the running clinic at the store, aptly called Re-Learn to Run.  I wore my old shoes over there - comfy, supportive, giant, heavy, familiar shoes.  I brought my new shoes in a bag.  After about an hour of discussion and instruction in the store, I knew I had to be brave about the new shoes and try them out for the practical component.  I put them on and hoped for the best.

We went for a short jog to an open paved area so the instructor could watch our initial form and then we could do drills.  For about an hour we worked on our form, progressing from balancing on our toes to high knees to running.  It was a really informative session and by the end I felt pretty good.  Most importantly, I felt much less defeated and much less afraid of my new shoes.

But now I have a few issues, mainly to do with the transition from my old shoes and form to my new shoes and form, given the fact that I have my first half marathon in just over a month.  I know changing my form is going to come with growing pains, but I also know that my current form hurts me too.  I know that my new shoes are going to take some getting used to, but I also know that my old shoes probably won't carry me through to the end of the half marathon.

So I come to all of you with these questions....

Do I start working on changing my form from heel striking to mid-foot striking now?  If so, how fast do I change?  If I end up running the half marathon in my current running form, would that be okay?

I know I need to ease into my new shoes and worry about running a half marathon in them.  Do I buy yet another new pair of shoes - a new version of my current Nike model that I know works - to have for training and the half, or do I risk wearing either my worn shoes or my new ones to the half?

Is it reasonable to expect to be running in a different shoe within the next four weeks or so?  The heel/toe drop is 9mm on these shoes and I am used to a 12mm or whatever the standard is.

Have you transitioned from heel striking to mid-foot striking?  Any tips?  What would you do in my situation?  And maybe just as important, not do?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Half Marathon Training: Week Seven

I only finished two runs last week.  Not good.

But one of them was a new distance goal completed on one of the coldest days yet.  Very good.

Monday: Rest
Tuesday: Yoga and stretching in lieu of my planned run - right hip was sore
Wednesday: Weekly chiropractic treatment - beat up that right hip!
Thursday: 5.1km in about 41 minutes - treadmill
Friday: Rest - felt like I was getting sick
Saturday: Rest - too damn cold!
Sunday: 14km LSD in just under 2 hours.  Very very cold - pictures from this run to come!

Total distance: 19.1km

I've started to write everything on my training plan on the fridge - if I run, I put the distance and time.  If I do cross training, I write that down.  If I didn't run, I write down why.  It's been a great tracking tool.  Instead of blank spaces where I didn't run, I have to be accountable as to what I did instead or why I sat on my butt.  I think I'll keep it for the scrapbook!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Three Things Thursday

1. Our costumes for the Princess Half Marathon are coming together!  My sister is going to be Ariel and I am going to be Rapunzel.  We have sparkly skirts from Team Sparkle and sparkly arm warmers from Run Pretty Far.  I'm thinking of our costumes more as "running interpretations" of the characters because we're not going all out with tutus and tiaras - just mimicking colour schemes really.  We both need tank tops - mine doesn't fit as well as I'd like - so I'm going on a mission next weekend at the Lululemon Warehouse Sale.
Source: Team Sparkle
I'm also not doing the giant wig and flowers thing for Rapunzel.  I was so relieved when I watched the movie and she has short brown hair at the end.  I can do that!

2. Speaking of the Princess Half Marathon, we finally booked our flights last night.  We are heading in to Orlando the Wednesday before the race and leaving the following Saturday.  Plenty of time to relax, visit with family, and check out Disney World.  I also want to go back to Universal Studios again so we can see the Harry Potter section, which was being built last time we were there.  I hear its fantastic.

3. I didn't get my run in on Tuesday because my hip was feeling... off.  When I stepped or leaned on my right side it hurt.  I did some yoga and some foam rolling, knowing I would see my chiropractor on Wednesday.  She made me cry worked her magic and although there was some lingering soreness today, but the end of the day the pain was almost gone.  I got 5.1 km in on the treadmill in about 41 minutes.  I went with the treadmill because it is snowing like crazy out right now.  The time might be a little off because I hit the stop button around minute 26.  I was bored out of my mind so I increased the speed on each song for three songs, then went down three, then up again.  Then I foam rolled and stretched like crazy before trudging home in the aforementioned snow.

If you haven't yet, please check out my post on Sherry Arnold, a missing runner in Sidney, Montana and take a moment to think about your own safety, to say a prayer/wish for Sherry and her family, and to make a call if you have any information.  You can also read Beth's latest post here.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

2012 Racing Dreams

I wanted to do a post with all the races I planned to do this year, but I'm having trouble deciding on races and thus haven't signed up for any beyond my half marathon in February.  I thought I would share with you instead all the races I am thinking about doing, and see if anyone has thoughts on them.  If you are in the area of any of these races and want to push for a certain race so we can meet up, please do!  I love meeting new strangers from the internet friends!

One issue that is stopping me from making decisions right now is not knowing how my half marathon is going to go.  If it's awesome I want to do more this year.  If it sucks, I will probably feel the opposite (though there's something to be said for "try, try again").  And not knowing how it will go, I am also not sure how many I could handle in a year.

With all that chatting out of the way, here are my racing dreams for 2012:

February - The Disney Princess Half Marathon!

March - A St. Patrick's Day run, either in Toronto with friends or in Ottawa.

April - There is the Yonge Street 10k in Toronto as well as a half-marathon in Montreal.

May - I'm 99% sure I'm traveling to Halifax to do the 10k with a friend.  I can't wait to be back in Halifax!  I'm hoping the hills don't kill me.  I'll also be doing a race at Ottawa Race Weekend, which is where I ran my first ever 5k race last year.  I can't decide on a distance though - it will likely be either the 10k or the half marathon.  There's also a semi-local run that goes partially through the Diefenbunker (oh no, my Garmin won't work down there!)

June - I can't find anything for this month.  Suggestions?

July - I'm considering going to Toronto for the Beaches Jazz Tune Up Run - either the 5k or the 10k.

August - More travel to Toronto for this month!  I'm looking at the Toronto Womens' Run (5k or 10k) and maybe even the Midsummer Nights Run.

September - There are so many races I want to do in September.  I guess everyone schedules for September because it's finally cool enough to be racing again.  I'm considering the Army Run (last year's race report here), the Zoo Run (last year's race report here), or maybe even the Montreal Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon!

October - There is another Toronto Womens' Run in October, and I think I will do the 8k if we can travel to Toronto again.  There's also a local race called Fall Colours, which offers varying distances.  Lastly, there's the Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon.  Decisions!

November - If I've caught the half marathon bug, I'll consider another half marathon this month - the Mission Possible Half in Ottawa.

December - Nothing for this month yet!

Any suggestions for other races or comments on the above?  What are your 2012 racing plans?

If you haven't yet, please check out my post on Sherry Arnold, a missing runner in Sidney, Montana and take a moment to think about your own safety, to say a prayer/wish for Sherry and her family, and to make a call if you have any information.

Missing Runner in Sidney, Montana

If you follow me on Twitter or we're friends on Facebook, you have probably seen me posting and re-posting links to stories about Sherry Arnold, a runner who went missing early Saturday morning in the small town of Sidney, Montana.

I know I am in Ontario, which is pretty far from Montana, but I also know that my readers come from many different places and those readers probably have friends and family all over the world - maybe even including Montana. 

So I wanted to share this information again here, in hopes that somehow this information will reach someone who knows something and Sherry Arnold will be found safe.  If it can't do that, I hope it is at the very least a reminder to all of us to be careful when we're out running, biking, or whatever.

Information on CNN iReport

Heart wrenching posts from Beth, Sherry's cousin who writes at Shut Up and Run:

Facebook group

Adults who want to volunteer can call the Law and Justice Center at 406-433-2919.

If you have any information about the whereabouts of Sherry Arnold, you are asked to call the Sidney Police Department at 406-433-2210.

My next run will certainly be a prayer for Sherry, as well as for Beth and everyone else affected by Sherry's disappearance.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Half Marathon Training: Week Six

After editing my training schedule somewhat last week, things this week were finally back on track!

Tuesday: 5.3 km (treadmill)
Thursday: 4 km (treadmill)
Friday: 4.3 km
Sunday: 13 km in approximately 1:46 (details here)

Total mileage: 26.6 kilometres

This was my longest total mileage in one week since the week of Sept 5/11, which included what I think was my last long run before my first 10km race.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Today's LSD: The new longest run!

Today my training schedule called for a 12km LSD run.

The weather, however, was calling for this:

Before you think I'm crazy, that's in celsius.
That's about 16oF, feels like 3oF. BRR.
I procrastinated plenty before I finally headed out the door.  I vacuumed, I steam cleaned the spare bathroom floor, I tidied, I drank coffee, I had some scrambled eggs and a scone... I got dressed, I charged my iPod again, I got dressed again in warmer clothes, I went to the bathroom a half dozen times... But in the end, the battle wasn't between doing it or not - it was between doing it outside or on the treadmill.  And when I thought about the 10km LSD run I did on the treadmill the answer was obvious.  I bundled up and headed out.

My last run I looked like this at the end:

That's my desperate and cold face.
So I put my balaclava on too for good measure.  I ended up putting it up and down throughout the run and being bothered occasionally by my exposed forehead, but it was the right choice.

My run took me over the bridge (much less cold than I thought it would be and the sidewalk was much clearer too) and into Quebec.  I looped around and over the next bridge back into Ontario.  The view is always worth it.

Parliament buildings from the bridge.
I thought briefly about stopping in the mall for a bathroom break but decided to keep going.  By this point I had about 4km out of the way already and was going to start fuelling.  I brought Clif Shot Bloks with me and some Nuun.  I was running 1km and walking 100m, and started alternating Shot Bloks with Nuun and Nuun only on my walking breaks at this point.

You might remember that I received some Shot Bloks for free a while back to review.  This was actually the first time I ate them while running.  I'm happy to say they were easy to deal with - I ripped open the package (my teeth were involved but it wasn't so bad) then squeezed one block out of the top each time.  No sticky fingers, no packaging to throw away, and easy to stick back in my pocket in between.  Also easy to consume while moving.  I will definitely be using these in the future!

One downer about the Shot Bloks is that it was so cold out they started to freeze somewhat.  I don't know if they would ever freeze all the way through, but they were definitely extra chewy.  I tried to deal with it by sucking on the block for a while before chewing and this seemed to help.  Does anyone have any suggestions?  I thought of storing them closer to my body (I kept them in my jacket pocket) but that might be awkward when I wanted to access them.

After the bridges, my route took me up the Rideau Canal, which is currently being prepped to be the world's largest skating rink:

Flooding the canal.
(It used to be the world's longest skating rink but that title was apparently stolen by a city in Winnipeg.  Apparently the Rideau Canal still has the largest square footage though because it is much wider.  So take that, Winnipeg.  Though apparently we're both going to have some competition this year from Invermere, British Columbia.)

Since there wasn't a bridge I could access easily at the point I wanted to turn around, I decided to just do an out and back up one side once I knew I had run far enough that it my "back" route would put me at about 12km.

There are convenient distance markers on the canal when it's prepped for skating in case you don't want to look at your Garmin:

These markers are also convenient when you forget to turn your Garmin back on after taking a picture.  After taking this picture, I ran 0.4 km according to the canal signs without my Garmin clocking any distance or time.  Oops.  I turned the Garmin back on and kept running until my next walk break, so ended up running and extra 400 metres.  Nothing wrong with that!

Thanks to that mess up and the fact that I refused to stand still long enough for the satellites to click in at first (it was cold!), my Garmin was a bit off.  I added to my run by running around an extra block because I was determined to have a picture of my Garmin with at least 12 km on it:

Did it!
I double checked my route later on Gmap-pedometer.com and discovered that I actually ran just over 13 km today!  Not bad!  With my timing mess up on the canal I would estimate I finished the distance in about 1:46.  I'm pretty stoked after my 10km treadmill LSD took 90 minutes.

I didn't stretch very well when I got home because I was freezing!  I warmed up and hopped in the shower right away.  I think I should probably try and get some stretching in now before bed or I will pay for it dearly tomorrow.

Stay tuned for a summary of the whole week of training!

Any suggestions for sub-zero winter fuelling?

How was your long run (or other run or race) this weekend?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New York City - Part Two

I promised to recap the rest of our NYC vacation, so here goes!

Day two involved fewer pictures - or at least fewer that I'll post here, as well as the fact that some of them actually ended up in the first post.

We slept in again on the second day, which was awesome.  We're not really the "we're in an exciting city and we have to set an alarm and get up early!" types.  We're more the "let's sleep in and laze around our hotel room because we're on vacation" types.  No exclamation mark because we're sleeping and lazing.  I find this formula works just fine.  We've travelled with people from the first group before and enjoyed it, but I would be exhausted at the end of the day and need a vacation from my vacation.

Once we realized that breakfast was long gone and brunch was headed that way as well, we tried to find a BBQ yesterday for The American.  He loves pulled pork and laments often that Canadians do it wrong somehow.  We found a massive restaurant off Times Square that promised amazing BBQ.  It was perfect, but it was still pretty good.  (Side note - the American trend or requirement of putting calorie counts on menus is downright disturbing at a place like this one.)

During this meal is when The American convinced me that we had to go back to Macy's and see Santa.  I had dismissed it the day before, not wanting to stand in line or listen to The American whine about standing in said line.  But he pointed out that we could do all the regular NYC stuff when we came back (you can bet we will be going back) but Macy's Santa wouldn't be there except at Christmas.  So we trudged our way from Times Square to Macy's, where it was very very crowded but the line was mercifully short to see Santa.  And see Santa we did!

The entrance to Santaland. The line before this
point was pretty short - I hear it can be hours. 
We're in Santaland! 
The tree sang. We had something like this
in the mall growing up but it was a moose
and WAY more ghetto.
Amazing displays inside Santaland to distract you from the lines.
Outside Santaland - the Miracle on 34th Street puppet windows.
Macy's was crazy busy - it made shopping at home
on December 23rd seem like a ghost town.
Our next stop was the Guggenheim - which is at 89th street and we were on 34th.  Sure, taking a cab would have been an option.  But it was a beautiful lovely rainy day and we weren't I wasn't going to miss the chance to walk through Central Park again.  Our walk went something like this:

We saw more of the west side of Central Park, having cut through the east side on our first day.

I loved the look of the tall buildings through the green space. 
John Lennon's apartment building (I think?)

There were a lot of runners out, and I was a little bit jealous that I wasn't one of them.  But I was getting more than enough exercise and I was wearing my running shoes, so I guess it was alright.  I kept looking for Ali from Ali on the Run like the stalker fan that I am, but no dice.

We finally made it to the Guggenheim, which was even more impressive in real life than I had imagined it.

It cost $18 to get in, which is pretty steep for a museum in my opinion, and it was actually smaller inside than I would have thought for the price and the hype.  But it was really quite incredible.  I loved that it was small.  The art was all killer, no filler.  It wasn't hundreds of paintings and sculptures and historical pieces.  It was just the best of the best and just enough for you to say "wow" and enjoy it instead of feeling overwhelmed.  

The main piece was an exhibition was called "Maurizio Cattelan: All".  From the website:
The exhibition brings together virtually everything the artist has produced since 1989 and presents the works en masse, strung seemingly haphazardly from the oculus of the Guggenheim’s rotunda. 
We went straight to the top floor and worked our way down, on the recommendation of a friend.  This worked well for the other exhibitions in the side rooms and especially for the Cattelan exhibition because we had a really good vantage point to view all the pieces.  It was quite incredible.  If you live in NYC or go there before the exhibition closes (January 22nd), I definitely recommend going.

One of many pictures I took of the exhibition.
On the way back to the hotel, I found my future house:

I'm totally positive I can afford it. Sure.
And we went to FAO Schwarz to see the toys.  They had a candy store too full of candy bigger than my head:

We then found a wine store (harder than you think in midtown NYC) and some snacks (including Luna Bars in flavours not available in Canada - delicious) and headed back to the hotel.  We headed out for dinner at a great sushi place almost next door to our hotel - they had a prix fixe menu that was inexpensive and delicious (also hard to find in midtown - the inexpensive part).  To celebrate our last night in NYC, we sat around in hotel robes, drank our bottle of wine, ate our snacks, did the NY Times crossword and generally lazed about.  A perfect end to a perfect holiday!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Three Things Thursday

I see a lot of bloggers doing "three things Thursday" posts or other similar posts with random info.  I love reading these posts because they're a little window into our own weird and wonderful worlds outside of running.  I was planning a post about one random thing today and realized it was Thursday - so you get three instead.

1. Do you know the rule "don't keep more personal items at work than you can fit in a single box"?  In case you get fired suddenly or quit?  (What a depressing rule, but I guess it's kind of like having life insurance - no one wants it, but just in case...)  I break this rule in a huge way.  A sampling of what is on my monitor stand alone:

That's Post-its, a Starbucks card, my nameplate from an old job, a paperweight, a stop sign, and a mini "wisdom" Buddha.  That is too much crap.

Then my drawers have hand cream, an emery board, glasses cleaner and a mini screw driver, Nuun, snacks, Tassimo discs (plus I have food in the kitchen!), blank cards and stationary.. Then my shelves have pictures, cards, art... My cupboard probably has a half dozen pairs of shoes at any given time, a shawl for when it's cold and a spare "nice" bag... The closet at the front has more shoes and spare clothes in case I'm casual and a client shows up... And my walls have my "wall of shame" - four different framed degrees/certificates.  It would take me much more than a box to clean out of here.

2.  I think I will join the "New to You" Cross Training Challenge at (Just) Trying is for Little Girls

From Indexed.com via (Just) Trying is for Little Girls
I am the worst at cross-training.  I just don't do it.  I have it in my training schedule for once a week but then I just don't do anything that day.  I want to get back into yoga and there is a Groupon for Bikram yoga which would "technically" be new to me because I haven't done THAT kind of yoga before - right?  Right.  I will let you know!

3. Over the Christmas holidays, I finally got the chance to sabre open a bottle of champagne.  There's a video on how to do it here.  I wanted to try it after I read about it on Mighty Girl (you don't read Mighty Girl?  You should.  Go now, I'll wait.)  It was a "Christmas gift" from The American to make it happen because it's on my "30 before 30" list.  It was AWESOME.  It was also pretty terrifying - I wasn't sure if it would work, or if I might break a window (we did it outside aimed away from the house but you never know), or if the whole bottle would just explode.  It all worked out though and no one ended up in the ER from either a busted bottle or drinking a glass shard.  Win. 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New York City - Part One

I hope you're ready for a picture heavy post!  My apologies in advance.

The week before Christmas, The American and I went to New York City so I could check "go back to New York City" off my "30 before 30" list.  I also desperately needed a shot of super-duper-intense Christmas action to make up for all the craziness at work that prevented me from celebrating Christmas properly in the prior weeks.

On Monday, we arrived and checked into our super swank hotel room at The New York Palace, which we got for a steal thanks to Hotwire.  Check it out:

A king size bed and room to spare!  And two windows!
The hotel was all decked out for Christmas,
including the courtyard
We got in in the mid-afternoon so we had some time that evening.  We immediately walked to Rockefeller Centre to see the Christmas tree.  Our hotel was only a few blocks away from here:

Rocking the Lulu pants after our flight.

We went by Rockefeller Centre quite often.  I took a lot of pictures of it.  I won't bore you with them, but will show you a lovely shot of it at night:

And a neat panoramic shot:

We then went for a very long walk, through the east side of Central Park and up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (but it was closed).  We then found the best burgers ever at The Prime Burger.  It could have been that I was ravenous, but it was the best burger I have ever had.  We were "home" by 6:00 p.m. I think, and watched hours of Top Gear while lazing in our very comfy bed.

On day two, we checked out Macy's (we went back there on day three to see Santa), Times Square, and the Empire State Building.  Here comes a whole mess of pictures with no more words:

Times Square!
Look at me in Times Square!
View from the Empire State Building. 
Another view from the Empire State Building.
The escalators at Macy's were wooden! Terrifying.
(Hey, look, it's The American's foot!)

We saw a lot of really beautiful Christmas windows, but only took a few pictures of them.  They were generally crowded with people.  I was also too busy just taking it all in!  

A window display at Macy's.
On day two we also went to the New York Public Library which ended up being a highlight of the trip.  I dragged The American there because I am obsessed with Sex and the City (let's just pretend the second movie didn't happen).  When we got there we discovered a fantastic free exhibition which included some amazing pieces from their collection - including a Gutenberg Bible (The American's favourite) and the original stuffed animals given to Christopher Robin (my favourite).  Too bad we weren't allowed to take pictures in there.

The outside of the building (obviously). 
So beautiful inside!
Oh, Big, why did you do it?!
We ended our big day with the Radio City Christmas Spectacular!  How could we not?  Honestly.  It was 90 minutes of  pure cheese, including 8 kick lines.  But after that we were definitely in the Christmas spirit.  We followed it with drinks and an appetizer at a bar across from Rockefeller Centre then a lovely dinner at a small Italian restaurant near Radio City Music Hall that the concierge had recommended.

Unfortunately it also started to rain that night :-(
You'll have to stay tuned for Day Three because I'm exhausted and I'd feel bad including any more pictures in this post.  I also need the material for my "more posts in 2012" goal.  More to come!

Larabar Giveaway Winner!

The winner of the Larabar giveaway is Jen (one of three of you!)  If you're wondering if you're the Jen that won, check your e-mail!  If I do not hear from this Jen by Jan 10th, I will pick a new winner.  Thank you to everyone for reading and entering the giveaway, and thanks to Larabar for providing such a great prize!

UPDATE: Jen has now claimed her prize.