Thursday, July 15, 2010


Long time no blog!?

So, I am back, again.  I don't think I've posted since April (right after my birthday in fact).  No, don't worry... I haven't fallen off of the wagon o' health or anything like that.  As I've explained to my friends and family, blogging became overwhelming for me so to speak.  I did it to myself.  When I start something new, I tend to go at it full force instead of taking my time and easing into things.  But, after having some time from blogging (okay 2 months too long), I think that I can figure out some kind of manageable blog schedule for myself.  A big thanks to Libby for helping me see the light on this.  So, I may blog daily, or just a couple times a week.  But, I'm not going to be blogging 3-4 times a day anymore.  It's great to be back blogging!  I've missed it so!

While I've been "gone," I've run in two races here in Eau Claire:  the Eau Claire Half Marathon in May, and the RCU Charity Classic in June.  Check out my Run/Races page to find out how I did on those runs.  I have another run coming up in September:  The Buck Shot Run, a 5 mile run that benefits Special Olympics!  Fun and Rewarding!

Sadly, another thing that has gone by the wayside along with blogging is picture taking!!!  I swiped a photo that my friend Suzie posted the other day to jazz up this post.  We had prepared a divine picnic (including chilled wine) to have at Phoenix Park.  Here I am with our bountiful spread:  moroccan, couscous with grilled chicken; brie and crackers; fruit; chocolate chip cookies from Harmony Corner Cafe (to die for); chilled chardonnay.  Great times!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Good Morning Bloggies!

I'm back!  Sorry for the delay in blogging, but life has officially taken over for me lately.  The next week or so is going to be pretty busy.  In fact, I'm trying really hard not to add anything more to my calendar in fear that I will go crazy. 

Admidst all of this "life" I am still on track with my half-marathon training.  Here is a quick recap of where I am right now:

Week 2 = 29 miles total running miles

Week 3 goal (this week) = 29 miles, so far I've run 14.50 miles.

I'm still going strong, and my knee is miraculously holding out during all of this.  I'm pretty pumped about it all.  I will say that I am more tired than I have been in a long time though.  All of these extra miles is burning mondo energy.  I'll be glad to get on my regular workout schedule again after the race.  Whew!  I still have 2.5 weeks to go.  And, this Saturday I have to run 11 miles!!!!  I know I will need a walk break at some point in that 11 miles. 

Back to yummy food now...

Last night's dinner was delicious.  I whipped up baked chicken breasts, roasted brussel sprouts (this has surprisingly become my most fav veggie now), brown rice, and sauteed mushrooms (sauteed in a tablespoon of Smart Balance butter, no seasonings).

You know, these simple dinners are so wonderful - not a lot of sodium, lots of protein and whole grains... really great.  :)  I've learned over the year to appreciate a simple "home" meal (as opposed to a restuarant dish).

Breakfast this morning was my usual - yes, I'm sorry but I LOVE eggs and English muffins.  They just "do it" for me what can I say.  :)

Today at Starbucks you can get FREE COFFEE!  Just bring any reusable travel mug, and they will fill you up for free!  I meant to stop by this morning on my way to work, but completely forgot.  It's okay, I brewed Starbucks at home this morning anyway.  I may stop by later today though after my lunch meeting and get a fill up!

My morning snack this morning is a Yoplus light yogurt - vanilla flavored.  I think this is supposed to be similar to my Fiber One yogurts.  It's okay - not quite as tasty as the Fiber One vanilla.  The Yoplait has 90 calories, and the Fiber One has 50 cals... I'm dipping strawberries in my yogurt today.  Mmmmm...

Not sure what lunch will be today.  I have a Chippewa Valley Society for Human Resource Management (CVSRM) meeting today.  I hope you all are having a great day!!!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls!

Another wonderful birthday present from Carl was taking me on Thursday to see the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit at the Minnesota Science Museum in St. Paul, MN.  This exhibit has been at the Science Museum since mid-March, and runs through October.  Click here to find out more about the Minnesota Science Museum and here to find out more about the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit.  I was so excited that he took me to see the Dead Sea Scrolls!  I really wanted to see this exhibit.  I mean, come on!  I'm sure there are only a couple (maybe just one!) chances in your life to see ACTUAL Dead Sea Scrolls in person!  What a huge historical opportunity!

It was too bad that I was not allowed to take any photos of the exhibit.  Photography (and cell phones for that matter) were not allowed due to the sensitivity of the scrolls.  I did get some shots of us walking into the museum and to the exhibit though.

Where we parked "bear level"- heading in to the museum.

Cool tile wall.

Carl forgot his cell phone in the car, had to go back to get it.

Earth floor.

Entrance to exhibit.

No food, cameras or phones allowed.  How will we survive?

The exhibit was awesome, and awe-inspiring as well.  I really liked how they took you back to Qumran, where most of the scrolls were found, and explained what life was like 2,000 years ago when the scrolls were probably written, who was involved in finding, selling, and studying the scrolls over time, what the theories are on on the scrolls, how they got there, and why they were written, etc.  It's truly fascinating.  The exhibit is really a lot of information to digest.  We went in around 10:45AM, and left the museum at noon.  So if you go, plan for at least an hour just for the Dead Sea Scroll exhibit.  Wonderful!

Birthday Vacation

Ahhhhh.  It's my birthday.  I'm sitting outside on the deck soaking up a MOST beautiful day without a care in the world.  Now this is the way it's supposed to be.  I need days like this, and I'm so lucky to have them every now and then.  :)  Later, Carl is taking me to dinner for my birthday.  We're going to an oldie, but goodie - Texas Road House - oh yeah.  And maybe, just maybe, if I can fit anymore food in my tummy, we will hit up Cold Stone Creamery for some cake batter ice cream afterward.  Mmmmm.  No, no, I promise to be reasonably "good" while eating out.  I will probably get a sirloin steak, a baked potato with just a tad bit of butter, and a side of broccoli.  We'll skip the appetizer, and I'll order a salad with the dressing on the side instead.  And, I will only have one piece of bread...okay MAYBE two but that's it.

Right now though, I'm chill-axin, and bloggin in the sun.

Vlad is heading down to the yard to do some sniffin and explorin.  It's hard for him to relax, because he is constantly on the look out for bugs to eat.

Rewind to earlier in the day...


Though I am on vacation for my birthday today, I did have to do some "things."  I went to the chiropractor for an adjustment around lunchtime.  My lower left back is still bothering me a bit.  It must be getting better though because it doesn't ache and hurt all the time like it used to.  It only hurts when I sit for long periods of time, or when I cross my legs, which I do quite a bit because I wear skirts for work a lot.  Dr. Angela said that this is normal, and that the ligaments are weakly trying to hold my sacrum in place.  When I sit, it puts a lot of stress and strain on the ligaments.  Crap.  I go back in a month for her to check things out again.  One good thing that came out of the visit was that she totally released the stress in my shoulders and upper back.  Ahhhh.


After the Chiropractor, I hit up Super Target for some food.  I got lots of fruits and veggies - practically the whole cart was full of them!  I didn't get anything new or special this go round except for some Zyrtec for my seasonal allergies.  I came home and filled my fridge with goodness.  MMMMM.  I love a full fridge.

I had a pretty simple but yummy lunch - grapes (not all of these grapes, hehe), carrots, and an Arnold Wheat Thin with peanutbutter and banana.  mmmm.  I also had a glass of almond milk.


Yesterday (Thursday) was a REST DAY, and boy did I need it.  The combined 11 miles I ran on Tue and Wed really kicked my butt.  My body was really tired, and my hamstrings were aching.  Today I only had 4 miles to do, which is easy now that I've been running 5, 6 and 7 miles!  Tomorrow I have a 9 mile run scheduled.  YIKES!  Overall, I feel like I'm doing a decent job.  I think that with the 3 weeks I have left to train, I can manage to groom my body to do the 13.1 miles within a reasonable amount of time, and running it all the way.  I'm going to have faith in myself.

While I ran today, I chewed on this gum that I bought when I went grocery shopping.  Brittany has me hooked on it.  It helped to keep me focused a bit.


Thanks to my family and friends who have sent me (and sang me over voicemail and on the phone) birthday wishes.  You have truly made my day special!  :) 

Here are a couple of cool gifts I received...

Carl got me some awesome New Balance water pro shoes!  I've been wanting a pair for a couple of years now.  He also got a pair so we can run in the lake and river with Vlad!  Pretty awesome huh!?

They're my favorite colors too!  I love gray and light blue together in a shoe...

These are the holes where the water drains out of the shoe.  NEAT!!!

Elaine gave me a VLAD BAG!  Look at this bag!  It has a picture of Vlad on it!!!  NEAT!

Uhhh, awesome SPA gift certificate!  I'm going to need this after my Half Marathon.

I got these for myself... stainless steel drinking straws.  Pretty cool, huh?  Trying to be green even when I drink smoothies!

Now I'm going to continue to relax and read a book.  Hope you all are having a great day, and have a wonderful weekend planned!  Thanks again for a great birthday!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Vanilla Sparkle Heaven!

YAY!  Brittany surprised me with an early birthday gift - a Vanilla Sparkle cupcake from the best cupcake bakery in the whole world... Dessert First!  She remembered that my favorite cupcake from Dessert First is Vanilla Sparkle.  YUMMY!!!

Can you see the sugar sparkles on top of the delicious icing???!!!

At lunch, after I did a 30 minute walk, I stopped and got a Hazelnut Creme flavored coffee (no cream, no sugar, just black) to go with my Vanilla Sparkle cupcake.

Vanilla Sparkle cupcake + Hazelnut Creme coffee = Heaven  :)

So naughty, but it IS for my birthday.  Thank you Brittany!!!

Half Marathon Update & Kashi

I'm still counting down to my birthday, which is this coming Friday!!!  YAY for birthdays!  My "birthday week" is turning out to be decent I guess.  Though, I was sick on Monday with those horrible stomach cramps, and things at work have been pretty busy... still, I'm going to take the "glass is half full" mentality and believe that things can only get better.

Who watches The Biggest Loser tv show?  I used to watch this off and on quite a bit, many years ago when it first started.  I haven't watched in a while, but I did catch a new episode last night.  I love seeing how far the contestants have come in their weightloss.  Sometimes their stories, how they got to where they are currently, how they really have a better sense of value in their lives, are so inspirational.  I especially love the gym scenes with Jillian and Bob yelling at them to "push harder," and "move, move, move!!"  Ha! Ha!  I wish I had them as my personal trainers.  :)  I would totally kick some butt in the gym with them.  Great show!  I need to watch more episodes.


Okie dokie!  One week of training down and 5 weeks to go!  Let's see how I measured up the first week of training:

Monday, March 29
~ 4 miles, 38:00min

Tuesday, March 30
~ 4 miles, 37:15min

Wednesday, March 31
~ 5.15miles, 50:00min

Thursday, April 1

Friday, April 2
~ 4.15miles, 40:00min

Saturday, April 3
~ 7miles, 1 hour, 5 min

Sunday, April 4

GOAL MILES FOR WEEK 1:  24 miles


And, here is how this week is going.... 

Monday, April 5
~ 4.15miles, 40min

Tuesday, April 6
~ 6.15miles, 60min

You can see I have fairly close to a 9 or 10 minute mile.  I need to improve on that if I can.  I can definitely feel a difference in my running physically.  The longer mileage is getting easier for my body.  What I need to work on is how I manage the longer mileage mentally.  I get unfocused when running for long periods of time, and I start to run sloppily which is not good for my body or reaching faster running times.  Somehow I need to figure out how to retrain my mind.  Hmmmmm.

This Saturday I have a 9 mile run scheduled.  Eeek!  I think that on April 24th for my 13 mile trial run I'm going to actually attempt to run the half marathon course.  I'll have to bring my cell phone with me though in case I don't make it!!!


On the foodie front, I tried out a new Kashi Bar for my afternoon snack yesterday - Honey Almond Flax.

This was a CHEWY granola bar - I prefer chewy granola - and it had:
~ 300mg of omega-3s
~ 4g of fiber
~ 7g of protein

Plus it tasted great!  There were actually whole almonds you could crunch on within the bar.  The honey gave it a great, mildly sweet taste too.  I like this flavor a lot!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Carl’s Secret Project Revealed!

Carl and I finished building his project over the weekend. I’ve had a lot of guesses on this that we were building a swing or an exercise apparatus. Here is my initial post on the secret project, when we purchased the materials.
So, what was this project you ask???  It was…………………………………………………..

A Makiwara Board

What is a Makiwara Board???  Here’s what Wikipedia says:

The makiwara is a padded striking post used as a training tool in various styles of traditional karate. It is thought to be uniquely Okinawan in origin. The makiwara is one form of hojo undō, a method of supplementary conditioning used by Okinawan martial artists.

The makiwara is used by karate practitioners to practice strikes in much the same way as a boxer uses a heavy bag. The makiwara develops ones' striking ability by letting them experience resistance to punches, kicks and other strikes. A poor punch will bounce off the makiwara if the body is not in a position to support the energy generated by the strike. It also develops targeting, and focus, which is the ability to penetrate the target (i.e., opponent) to varying degrees of force.

Carl researched how to build the Makiwara Board, and designed his own, using the materials I listed in my previous post. We built it together! YAY!

Here is the progression of the Makiwara board coming to life…

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