Monthly Archives: February 2012

Funk

Getting home from Colorado turned into quite the ordeal when our flight from Aspen to Denver on Saturday was cancelled due to high winds. Long story short, all of the flights back to Milwaukee the next day were overbooked, so we ended up driving a rental car all the way home on Sunday. This was the view for many many hours:

Oh, beautiful Nebraska.

We arrived home around 1am on Sunday night after returning the rental car. Not quite the relaxing Sunday full of running, laundry, and organizing I was looking forward to before returning to work on Monday. Ugh, Monday. Copious amounts of coffee were consumed to make it through the day. I am just now feeling like I am caught up on sleep.

Speaking of running (weren’t we?) I am officially in a funk. I thought after a full week of not running a single step, I would be anxious to hit the pavement. I made myself run on Monday morning on 3 hours of sleep and felt horrible. Tuesday I was all packed and ready to go to my group run after work, and I just couldn’t. It didn’t help that it was cold and drizzly, but normally I would suck it up, go run, and feel better for it. I told myself I would go home and ride the bike trainer instead while watching Desperate Housewives (don’t judge). Then I got home and everything was a mess, I hadn’t even unpacked yet, and I was tired. Excuses, excuses. I ended up not working out at all, and of course I felt really guilty about it. I will be attending my group trail run tonight. It is raining today, and I am hoping the messy, muddy trails will be enough of a fun time to pull me out of my exercise funk.

I think as runners we have a hard time admitting when we are in a funk, or just not feeling it. We are expected to want to run all the time, even if those expectations are self-imposed. I know I feel guilty for not wanting to run right now, and I shouldn’t. I know I will get my running mojo back, and hopefully soon since I have a little 50 mile trail race coming up in a few months. I have to remember that it is ok to not feel like running. Now would probably be a great time to try something new, and enjoy some cross training too. Like how that rhymes? Steve and I bought a Groupon to a local rock climbing gym, so I am excited to try that out soon.

In more important news, Tuesday was national pancake day. I celebrated by making blueberry pancakes for dinner. And then again for breakfast today. Really, I don’t need an excuse to celebrate with pancakes.

What do you do when you are in an exercise funk?

Do you feel guilty when you don’t work out?

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Filed under Food, The run, Travel

Last day on the mountain

It’s hard to believe the week is over and we are returning to Wisconsin today. Of our four days out on the mountain, the last one (Friday) was the best. It was beautifully sunny and not terribly cold. We started bright and early and hopped on the gondola.

One of my favorite things to do is go out to breakfast on top of the mountain, and we usually do it once a year.

After taking one more lift chair up, we were at the top and ready to eat. The special of the day was banana pancakes, which made ordering for me a no brainer.

Let’s take a closer look.

They were thick, fluffy, and packed with bananas. You better believe there was not a bite left on that plate. Gotta carb up for a full day of snowboarding, right?

After breakfast, we did a few groomed runs before deciding to hike up to a run called Long Shot one last time. As the name implies, the run is about 5 miles long and un-groomed. When there’s powder, it is my favorite run. The view from the top is amazing.

We stayed out riding until the lifts were ready to close, taking full advantage of our last day.

Picnic table in the middle of the mountain? Don’t mind if I do.

Ah, I can never get over how beautiful it is in the mountains.

Until next year…

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Filed under Food, Fun, Nature, Travel

Snowmass

Greetings from Snowmass, Colorado!

I realize I have been MIA for the past week, but things were a little hectic with trying to fit in running, preparing for my weeklong absence at work, and getting ready for our annual snowboarding trip.

We left Sunday afternoon, after I squeezed in one last trail run on a beautiful frosty morning.

We flew out of Milwaukee without a problem, and had a two hour layover in Denver before connecting to Aspen. My ice cream radar directed us straight to Ben & Jerry’s at the airport, where I enjoyed a waffle cone with a scoop of Coconut Seven Layer Bar ice cream. It’s a good thing I’ve never seen this flavor at the store, or it would be all over.

We landed in Aspen just a little while before it started snowing, and heard they were closing down the airport shortly after. Thank goodness for not getting stranded in Denver overnight.

Monday morning we headed out to the mountain. Our day of snowboarding started out very unfortunately when Steve’s mom fell on the way down to the gondola while trying to avoid a kid on a snowboard. I saw her tumble forward, her skis flew off, and she was holding her knee. Uh oh. Ski patrol was called and she was taken to the clinic, where Steve’s sister Jamie met us.

Steve and I headed out snowboarding as there was nothing we could do at the clinic, and we waited for an update. Eventually we got the bad news that his mom had a plateau fracture in her tibia and would require immediate surgery. She was taken to Aspen hospital and the surgeon was able to repair the fracture. Luckily she will be able to ski again next year, because at first the doctor was not sure. The whole thing is such a huge bummer.

Steve and I were still able to enjoy what turned into a beautiful sunny day on the mountain. It had snowed on Sunday night, so there was a mix of powder and groomed runs.

We ended the day with the most incredible chocolate chip cookie known to man.

The cookie was so fresh that I had to wait for it to come out of the oven. It was hot, gooey, crispy on the outside, melty on the inside, and 100% delicious.

You can almost smell it, can’t you?

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Filed under Dessert, Food, Fun, Travel

Sunday in the woods

Since I raced yesterday instead of doing my long run, I decided to hit the trails this morning with hopes of getting in around 16 miles. I met up with some of the guys from my Wednesday night trail running group to run a new-to-me segment of the Ice Age Trail.

It was around 10 degrees when we started, but at least it was nice and sunny. The trail was beautifully snow-covered, so much better than the icy conditions we have had lately. I ran about six miles with the guys before they headed back, and I kept on going for a couple more miles before turning around. I was grateful to run with them since I hadn’t run this area before, and they pointed me in the right direction to continue on. It was such a beautiful day out there I just had to snap some photos.

About 6.5 miles in, I stopped to eat a new flavor of gel, Chocolate Cherry Clif Shot. The “turbo” means twice the caffeine, and yes, it was good.

It almost gives my beloved pb Gu a run for its money. Almost.

The only bummer this whole run was my drinking tube freezing solid within the first mile. I was trying out my new hydration pack, which I loved, but I need to find a way to insulate the tube. I didn’t get too thirsty on this run, but I did stop twice to open the pack and drink directly out of the bladder.

I continued on at an easy pace, just completely enjoying myself.

At my turnaround point, the was a gorgeous view of Holy Hill in the distance.

As the sun warmed things up, the snow started to get a little mushy.

My favorite pic of the day:

This is how happy running made me today. Alone in the woods, surrounded by such beauty, it is hard not to be in great spirits. I finished just a hair under sixteen miles in around 2:47. Upon returning to my car, I immediately refueled with this:

Zico Chocolate Coconut Water and a Chocolate Raspberry Luna Bar, two more new-to-me items. Oh my gosh. Let me preface this by saying that despite my love for anything involving coconuts, I actually hate coconut water. I think it tastes like feet. Yes, I have tasted feet and they taste like coconut water. However, I read that the chocolate version has added coconut cream and sugar, making it similar to chocolate milk. It is hands down my new favorite recovery drink. It tastes great and contains tons of electrolytes to boot. Too bad that bottle was $2.50. I am thinking of ordering a case from Amazon (cheaper) to have on hand for my post-long-run treat. That Luna Bar was delicious as well, I guess I was feeling the chocolate raspberry combo today.

Ah, what a great morning. I think I am going to lounge on the couch for a bit before tackling some cleaning/organizing. Happy Sunday!

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Filed under Food, The run

Cullen Run 8k (for Sherry)

This morning I ran the Cullen Run 8k, and I dedicated my race to Sherry Arnold as part of The Virtual Run for Sherry. To be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the race, namely because of this:

We have been spoiled with such a mild winter that I have seriously become a pansy with the cold. Oh wait, I was always a pansy with the cold. On top of the frigid temps, it also decided to snow all day yesterday and I was afraid the roads would still be really slushy and icy.

I put on my virtual run bib before we headed out the door.

The race itself was nothing spectacular. The roads weren’t too bad, but the course was difficult, made more so by the biting wind. My 8k time of 34:14 was actually a slower pace than I ran a 10k on New Year’s Eve. In the end though, it doesn’t really matter.

What made the race worthwhile was knowing that all across the nation and the world, so many people were running for a singular cause. As I struggled up a hill with the wind numbing my face, I thought of Sherry and her family. What happened to Sherry is beyond horrible, unfathomable. I am glad I got to take some small part in honoring her by doing something that she loved. The momentum this virtual run has gained over the past weeks just proves what an awesome community we belong to as runners. At the race today, I saw several other people wearing Sherry’s bib on their back, and it hit me how powerful  a force we can be. I feel lucky to be a part of such an amazing group of people.

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Filed under Races, The run

Five things Friday

Since I missed Three Things Thursday this week out of sheer laziness, I preset you with Five Things Friday. I hope the two things bonus will make up for my motivational failure. Without further ado:

1. I am racing an 8k tomorrow, and not looking forward to it for several reasons. I feel like I have completely lost all sense of speed in my legs over the past few weeks. Also, it is going to be cold, like really cold. And windy. Wind chills approaching -20. And it’s been snowing all day. Crap.

However, I am going to suck it up and not think about any of that, because tomorrow’s race will be about something much more important than myself and my incessant complaining about the weather. I will be dedicating the race to Sherry Arnold, a 43 year old wife, mother, and teacher from Montana who went out for a run on January 7th and never returned. There is a virtual run planned in her honor, and more information can be found here. Consider printing out your own bib and dedicating your workout tomorrow to Sherry. It doesn’t have to be running, it can be anything. Just move your body and think of Sherry. Simple.

2. I managed to try several new recipes this week worth mentioning:

Easy Nutella Brownie Cups – I brought these to my running group’s “holiday party” and they were devoured. Only three ingredients. Make them.

Quinoa Burgers – One of the best “burgers” I have made at home!

Curried Greek Yogurt Egg Salad – I have been craving hard-boiled eggs. Craving = satisfied.

Reese’s Peanut Butter Banana Bread – Yes, just yes. I found a wonderful use for my pb cups. Check out this pb to chocolate ratio:

I don’t know if I can ever buy Reese’s again.

The last one is not so much a recipe as an amazing snack combo that I have enjoyed every day this week:

3. As I mentioned, my Tuesday night running group had a “holiday” party this week. There was so much delicious food it was ridiculous. Pretty sure I ate at least eight homemade cookies, along with chips, guacamole, salad, bread and beer. Wednesday night I ran with the local trail running group. I brought the aforementioned Peanut Butter Banana bread to share after the run. This was the treat table:

You may notice my bread at the bottom right. The huge container in the back contains an entire tier of red velvet wedding cake. There were also about seven different varieties of cookies, macaroons, and baked goods. But don’t worry, there were some grapes to balance everything out. I don’t understand why I never lose any weight from running so much. Weird.

 4. I think I am going to stop at Target today for a couple of items. Necessities like paper towels, Chobani, shampoo, and perhaps a little Kleenex or TP. Does this happen to anyone else at Target?

How do they do that??

5. To the person that found my blog by Googling “ate too many pretzel m and m’s,” welcome. I feel your pain.

Tell me something totally random. And…go.

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Filed under Baking, Cooking, Dessert, Food, Miscellany, The run, weather

How did those get in my cart?

I had plenty of energy after fueling up on French Toast Sunday morning to tackle a huge shopping trip to Costco. I got all of my staples, including massive amounts of produce, salsa, eggs, cheese, etc. When I went to check out, imagine my surprise to find that a 3.75 lb bag of peanut butter cups had somehow accidentally fallen into my cart.

Not sure how that happened. So weird.

Oh well. Guess I will have to find a use for 150 nuggets of deliciousness now.

I used them as a comfy pillow last night, don’t judge.

Since I did my Saturday long run on the roads, I knew I needed to hit up the trails on Sunday. I waited until the afternoon when it was 40 and sunny, and headed out to the Ice Age Trail, the same trail that Steve and I ran on a few weeks ago. I made some sweet custom shoes to deal with the ice that I knew would be covering much of the trail.

Old trail shoes + sheet metal screws = cheap ice shoes!

I was so glad I did this, I don’t think I would have made it on the trail today without them. It was a mix of snow, mud, mud soup, and sheer ice. I took it slow and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine. Afterwards I was caked in mud.

Pretty sure I still have some stuck underneath my toenails. That rounded out a great week of running: 52 miles total, with 14 on the trails.

The remainder of my Sunday was spent in serious food prep mode. I made a huge batch of granola, roasted 3 full trays of veggies, cooked a big pot of quinoa, and baked up some brownie bites for a little treat. I love having all of this stuff on hand during the week, it makes throwing together dinner so much easier.

Around 6pm I realized I was missing the Super Bowl commercials. When I asked Steve to turn it on, he informed me that we do not even get regular TV because we are not hooked up to an antenna. Oh. Bummer. So we spent the night watching Parks and Recreation on Netflix. Have you seen that show? We discovered it just recently and I am in love. It is very similar to The Office, and Amy Poehler just cracks me up.

Do you usually prep food on the weekends?

Important – tell me how to use up my peanut butter cups. (Besides the obvious straight-to-belly method) Thanks!

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Filed under Cooking, Dessert, Food, The run