Monthly Archives: May 2011

Le schnozzle

There are many things that suck about having a cold.  Among my chief complaints are the lack of appetite and disinterest in booze, both of which are unfortunate conditions for someone who likes to eat and drink.

Then, of course, you’ve got the constant sniffling, snuffling and dribbling of snot all over everything in your path.  And the related trail of disgusting damp tissues.

But my least favorite part of having a cold what it does to my nose.  (Or, “mah dose,” as it sounds right now.)  It turns bright red and raw from those repeated Kleenex assaults.  Then I put lotion on it to try to soothe it and it gets all shiny.

Normally, I actually rather like my nose.  It’s a Swedish nose.  Rather bulbous and slightly upturned at the tip, it’s often referred to as a ski-jump nose, and most people of Swedish descent have them.   (Seriously, I have run in to people on the street and been like….are we related?  Oh, nope, but your grandparents were Holms or Larssons, too.)

Anyway, it may not be petite, but I like it.

Except when it fills with mucous.

Dear cold, I am done with you.  I have a half-marathon on Saturday and I don’t want to have to carry tissues on the course.

Also, you’re making my nose look like maraschino cherry.

Bye, now.

Love, Me

Today’s EAT: Since I can’t taste much at the moment, the only thing that has sounded good has been salty potato chips.

I had my Wavy Lays with a side of sandwich – turkey, provolone. greens and cranberry chutney.

(The bag of Wavy Lays claims that 11 chips is a serving, which is pretty hilarious.  I’ve crushed nearly the entire bag in two days.)

Today’s DRINK: Quil.  Day and night.  I miss beer…

Today’s RUN: A super mellow four miles.  And I felt a little better after an easy run today.  I’m all for resting up when I’m sick, but I do actually think that getting some fresh air can speed up the get-well process!

Today’s QUESTION: Do you love or hate your nose?

You’ll catch a cold out there

I just got back from a weekend in the Chicago area.

When we landed on Friday morning, it was 78*

By the time I got around to going for a run that afternoon, it was 48*.

WTF, Illinois?

Of course I only packed shorts and t-shirts, and of course that should be fine running gear for temps in the 40s, but it’s funny how it’s all relative.  In the winter that would feel balmy.  But this weekend I was longing for a jacket.

Anyway, I’m sure unrelated to the weather, I managed to pick up the sniffles this weekend.

(I don’t actually have a cough, but I’m confident it will have the same placebo effect as regular Day-Quil.)  I’m aiming for lots of rest this week and hopefully a full recovery before the Brooklyn Half this Saturday!

Thanks for all of your comments on my Dress A/Dress B post!  I really appreciate the feedback.  I’m still a little on the fence (with both dresses!) because they are SO not the style I would normally wear, but I’m thinking I’ll wear the first one to the wedding, on your (and the bride’s!) advice.

That’s all I’ve got to say about this sniffly Monday.

Running stats from last week:

M - 7 easy (1:00:32, 8:39 pace)
Tu - OFF
W - 6.1 easy (52:45, 8:39 pace)
Th - 8.5 easy (1:14:45, 8:47 pace)
F - 5.4 w/light tempo (43:13, 7:59 pace)
Sa - 5.2 easy (44:55, 8:39 pace)
Su - 3.5 easy w/hubs (34:57, 9:59 pace)

Total: 35.7 miles.

Later, y’all!


God, I never thought I would do this on my blog.

But whatever.  I don’t have many lady friends here, so….

Do we like Dress A…

…or Dress B?

B actually has these odd cut out sleeves…I tried to get a picture but the flash attacked me:

(B would also need a different belt.)

Neither of these is actually the dress I had in mind when I stopped by the store today.  That dress (which was a hot one-shoulder number that made my waist look the size of a freaking pixy stick) was apparently sold out.  Bummer, but my fault…I should have bought it when I first saw it.  It’s a small local boutique and it’s not like they can just order more from the Old Banana Gap warehouse.

Anyway, the sales girl talked me in to trying on both of these.  I never, ever would have picked them out on my own, just seeing them on the hanger.  I’ve never done the whole belted-shift-tunic thing.  (Because why buy a freaking pillowcase and put an belt around it when you can just buy a dress that already has a waist?  I like waists.  Waists are flattering.  Pillowcase dresses, or tit curtains as the inimitable Maddox called them, are not.)

But I tried them.  And I kind of liked them.  And I couldn’t even decide which one I liked better and they were fairly inexpensive so I bought both.

So, what say you, readers?  Which dress should curtain my tits at this wedding next month?  A, B, or neither?  You can be honest, I’ve got my big girl panties on and I can take it!

(If it matters, and I’m sure it probably does, it’s a beach wedding.  It’ll be held as an upscale resort but in my mind that still means a little more casual than the average outdoor wedding.  The hubs is an usher and he’s been instructed to wear khaki-colored dress pants and a blazer, but no tie, if that helps.)

And then also: what shoes do I wear with these?  When I was whining about shoes earlier this week many of you suggested wedges, which I think would work here?  Or maybe cute sandal-flats of some sort?  But I’m only 5’3″ and I don’t want to be too stumpy?


Today’s EAT: Continuing my no-cooking streak, I ordered pizza for dinner tonight.

And not even good pizza.  Chain pizza.  From a place that rhymes with Pete’s a Slut.  Because that’s all that delivers here.  I miss NYC.

Today’s DRINK: We have a little beer swap thingy going at work, and one of my co-workers passed this on to me:

I’ve been sipping this Founder’s Centennial IPA for an hour and a half now.  I’m digging it!  The flavor is bold and heavy on the citrus and pine, but totally drinkable if you like IPAs.  Which I definitely do!  7.2% ABV.

Today’s RUN: No speed-work, but I did get some decent mileage in.  I ran a little on my own then headed over to the store to meet some people and logged a few more miles before running back home.  Total: 8.5 miles.



Yesterday, I cleaned out my closet.

I wish I were using that as a euphemism for something more exciting, like weeding my unruly Google Reader or de-friending people on Facebook.  But, no.  On the heels of yesterday’s running shoe purge, I decided to just go ahead and tackle the rest of my crap, too.

And that’s how, today, I ended up here:

The Container Store.  The ultimate one-stop solution for your #firstworldproblems.

Seriously: an entire retail industry built on the premise that people have too much shit.  And will readily spend their hard-earned money on plastic containers to more efficiently organize that shit, thus making room for…more shit.

Ah well.  I’m no better than the rest.

Even after filling two huge garbage bags with stuff to donate, my closet was still packed.  (I am actually not sure how this is possible, given that I am really not much of a shopper these days.  I blame race tees!)  So I filtered out the winter stuff.  Not gonna be needing those sweaters and running tights any time soon!

One pack of vacuum-sealed storage bags later:

Under the bed they go.  Now I have room for that new dress.   Ah, the cycle continues.

And of course, I couldn’t get out of The Container Store without an impulse purchase or two.

I don’t know how I lived without this before.

Today’s EAT: I popped open a can of soup for dinner tonight.  Which is unusual because I don’t really like soup.  Or seafood that comes in a can.

This Bar Harbor Clam Chowder was pretty good though.  I think I got it at Whole Foods.  If you’re an ingredient-reader, the list is pretty simple.  (I’m not generally, but am when it comes to soup.)

I topped it with a little pepper and fresh thyme (from the terra cotta balcony farm empire!) and ate it with a hunk of baguette (not made by me, unfortunately).

Not a bad little dinner, actually!

Today’s DRINK: Since I’m taking it easy on TEH BOOZE this week, let’s catch up on a beer from last weekend.

This Kennebunkport Brewing Company Wheat Beer was on sale at TJ’s so I thought I’d give it a shot.  It was okay.  A little on the watery side.  It was still a cold and refreshing treat, but the flavor was just meh.

Today’s RUN: An easy and pleasant six miles at dusk.   It’s been cool enough to run in the evenings this week and I’m taking full advantage!

Stats from last week (a couple of days late – oops):

Tu - AM 4.1 easy (36:20, 8:51 pace); PM 4 mi w/ 3 X 1 mile repeats @ 10K pace (treadmill, 29:35, 7:23 pace)
W - 8.2 easy (1:13:04, 8:55 pace)
Th - 5.4 easy (45:08, 8:21 pace)
F - 4 easy 34:30, 8:37 pace)
Sa - 10K race (45:34, 7:19 pace) + WU and CD, 12.7 total (1:43:34, 8:08 pace)
Su - 6.1 easy (single track trail, 1:09, 11:18 pace)

Total: 44.5 miles.

This week is going okay so far, but I’m still slacking big-time on the speed work.  I’d hoped to get at least one quality workout in before Brooklyn next weekend.  Maybe tomorrow?

Today’s QUESTION: How often do you clean out your closet and donate old stuff?  I feel like I haven’t done a proper purge in a while.  Even though we’ve moved twice in the last couple of years, I’d been hauling around some crap that I hadn’t worn in forever.  Good riddance!

Those are not wedding appropriate

Staring at my half of our closet today, it occurred to me that I have not purchased any non-athletic footwear since…um, 2009?

I have two weddings to go to this summer and I’m already slightly dreading the attire selection process.  I have one nice dress that I bought about a year and a half ago, but at this point I think I’ve worn it to one too many weddings.  People are starting to recognize it, I’m sure.  It’s the same group of friends in attendance, for the most part.

So I’ve pretty much decided I’m going to get an (inexpensive) new dress for this next one.  I even have my eye on one.

But shoes?  I just have no idea.  What are the kids wearing these days?  Halp.

In the spirit of getting rid of the old to make room for the new, I decided to tackle this disaster tonight:

Oy.  No one needs twenty-plus pairs of running shoes.  Although many are freebies obtained through running-store employment, and from being a wear tester for Brooks, it’s still rather ridiculous.   So I combed through the pile and chucked several old pairs in a bag to take to the recycle bin at work.

And then I thought it would be fun to share a few of the newer additions with you guys!  (Running shoe nerd alert.)

Mizuno Wave Rider 14

(M 10.6 oz, W 8.7 oz, retail $100)

I want to love this shoe so badly.  I love that it’s relatively lightweight.  I love that it’s not squishy.  I love that the ride is a little stiffer, but still flexible enough to feel the ground below.  I love the no-nonsense design.

But…it’s just a little too narrow for my foot.  And the high collar gets all up in my ankle bone’s business.  (I mean, seriously?  Even though we are in the heart of boat-shoe country here, I’m not about to let my husband wear popped collars, and I don’t like my running shoes to sport ’em either.)  I hope they lower the profile of the upper a little next time they update this shoe.  A lot of people have complained about this, so I have to think they will.

Overall, though, I think it’s a great shoe and will continue to use it for shorter distances.  My foot is just a little too fat to put up with the narrower cut over longer stuff, though.

Brooks Launch:

(M 9.3 oz, W 7.5 oz, retail $90)

I actually picked these up at the Chicago Marathon expo last year.

But I haven’t worn them very much.

Because I don’t really care for them.  I’d hoped they’d be a good lightweight trainer for tempo runs and racing shoe for longer races, but they’re just too damn squishy.  I am not a squishy-cushion person and the Launch just feels too much like a pair of bedroom slippers.  I’ve relegated them to a recovery-day shoe and they work fine for that purpose, but…meh.  It’s not like I need an entire shoe dedicated to three-mile shakeout slogs.

Compared to my regular trainers, the Ghosts, the Launch weighs in almost two ounces lighter but they honestly don’t feel like they do.  I want a lightweight trainer to give me a little feeling of the road beneath me and keep me up on my forefoot.  The Launch does the opposite, with its thick cushioning, especially in the heel.

Marshmallows.  Good for S’Mores.  Bad (for me) for running shoes.

Brooks ST5 Racer:

(M 8.6 oz, these are unisex so there’s no standard W weight, but they’re light.  Probably 6.X.  Retail $90.)

Crisco-coated blue shoelaces of death!  Yep, that’s the sucker that came untied – in spite of the fact that it was triple knotted – during my race on Saturday.

That issue aside, I adore this shoe.  I had the ST5’s predecessor, the ST4, and literally wore them until the bottoms were smooth.  It feels like a true racing flat (and it is!) but I don’t grow weary of it as quickly as I would a waffle flat.  I have worn this shoe (the older model) in distances from a 5K up to a half marathon and it’s been great all the way.

I love that the updated model is this sweet orange color, too.  If I’m not going to run fast, as least I can look like I should be running fast.

And if I have to swap out the laces so they’ll stay tied, that’s no biggie.

New Balance 890:

(M 9.7 oz, W 7.6 oz, retail $100)

New Balance has been hyping this brand-new addition to their line for months.  And it looks like the sort of thing that would coast by on its good looks.  I admit, I was skeptical.

And I’ve only run in them a couple of times so far, but…I’m going to tentatively say that I actually really like this shoe.

They’re not as light as I thought they’d be.  I was thinking they’d be Kinvara-like, but they’re more substantial than that.  The collar is nice and low around the ankle, the upper is utilitarian in spite of its stylish look, and they’ve got just enough cushion to give a little bounce, but still allow you to connect with the ground.  I could see making these an everyday-rotation trainer…ooh, Ghost, might be time to get a little scared!

Shoes that are recycle-bin-bound:

  • Two worn-down pairs of Brooks Ghost 3
  • One worn-down pair of prototype Brooks Ghost 4 (cannot wait for this shoe to come out!)
  • Two well-loved pairs of Brooks Adrenaline 11 (even though I don’t really need the stability, I still think this is an awesome shoe and love it almost as much as I love my Ghosts!)
  • My old Brooks ST4 Racers (RIP, you guys did me good)
  • A pair of Adidas Ride Something-or-others that was a freebie that I never really got in to
  • A pair of Nike Span 6 from like three years ago (I don’t know why I still had these)

So that shoe bin is now only slightly overflowing.  I think I’ve done well.

And I totally think I deserve to buy a new pair of fun, non-running shoes for this summer.  Right?

Um, seriously…any suggestions on that?  I feel like I am so out of the loop on this stuff.  Slightly dressy sandals for a pair of outdoor summer weddings?  That don’t have ankle straps or loops, because my legs don’t need any help looking stumpy?

And are we sure that my sweet orange ST5 racers won’t go well with a cocktail dress?  Sigh.  Because they really are awesome.  And they’d make trips to and from the open bar much more efficient.

Race Report: Capital City Classic 10K

So it could have been better, but it could have been a whole lot worse.

Until Saturday, my post-college 10K resume consisted of a few half-assed efforts and a couple of full-blown meltdowns.  In fact, the two 10Ks I ran last year fell squarely in the latter category.  (See race reports for the 2010 NYRR Scotland Run 10K and the 2010 NYRR Mini 10K if you feel like a big glass of whine.)

In fact, oddly, my best 10K in recent years was this random Turkey Trot I did on the heels of the NYC Marathon a couple of years ago,  after three weeks of no training and after staying up drinking until 3 AM the night before.  At 47:55, it was an easy target to smash.

So on one hand, I went in to Saturday’s Capital City Classic with a pretty low bar: all I have to do it not f*ck up, and it’s an improvement.

But on the other hand, I kind of wanted to run what I think I realistically should be able to run for 10K.   Which would be somewhere around 42-43 minutes.

Thus, the range of reasonable and acceptable outcomes for this race was 42:01 to 47:54.  Quite a spread.

I decided to make it simple and just pick a nice, round number to focus on for my pace.  Seven minutes.  That would result in a finish between 43 and 44.

Seven minutes, I told myself as I gathered my unruly hair into a ponytail.

Seven minutes, I told myself as I attempted to make coffee, pouring water into the coffee maker and pressing start.  (And then realizing, staring stupidly as steaming water dripped into the carafe, that I’d forgotten the grounds.  Apparently I need a cup of coffee to be awake enough to operate the coffee maker.  If this isn’t the ultimate chicken-and-egg problem, I don’t know what is!)

Seven minutes, I chanted silently as I walked from my apartment to the start area.  Seven minutes, as I jogged my warm-up in the cool morning fog.   Seven minutes, as I laced up my flats.  Seven minutes, as I bounced nervously in the start corral, trying not to count the number of faster-than-me faces in the crowd.

I knew that seven minutes would be a two-part challenge.  In the first couple of miles, it would be an admonishment to slow down.  But at the end – and particularly during “all climb, all the time!” mile five, it would be a speed-up mantra.

Off we went.  As expected, a blazing-fast lead pack immediately broke off.  (This race serves as the USATF State 10K Championship, so it attracts a faster field than your average local race.)  I tried to relax and let them go and waited until I thought we’d been going at least 4-5 minutes before glancing down at my Garmin.  0.6 miles at 6:35 pace.  Oops.  Seven minutes, seven minutes.  I forced myself to slow down even though that meant being passed by a couple of more people, and letting the pack that was pulling me along slip away for good.  Mile 1: 6:58.  

Shortly after that first mile marker, the course did a lollipop and doubled back on itself for a few blocks before peeling off, which was a nice little distraction.  I got to watch the leaders come back the other way and, after completing the small loop, got to see the rest of the field heading in to it.  That second mile flew by.  I don’t think I even glanced at my Garmin until I saw the second mile marker coming up – and realized I’d having a little too much fun spectating.  Mile 2: 7:12.

Having fallen off my pace a little, I subconsciously picked it up and was soon running in the 6:30s again.  Seven minutes, I told myself.  Seven minutes.  I relaxed a bit, and after a few more minutes of gently rolling but mostly downhill terrain, I hit the next mile marker.  Mile 3: 7:04.

Then things started to get a little bit more difficult.  Up to this point, the course had meandered around the Captial and through lovely shaded residential streets. Now we were heading out on to an exposed highway for about 1200 meters.  The weather wasn’t particularly warm, but compared to the oak canopy I’d come out of, it was Hades out there on that highway.  I gritted my teeth and tried not to think of what was coming next – because right at the fourth mile marker, I knew we would turn off the highway and head up a very long hill.  The good part: somehow, I was still holding close to my goal pace.   The bad part: I was now running all by myself.  The guy who’d been in front of me had pulled away and shrunk to ant status, and I could tell by the nature of the volunteers’ cheers that there wasn’t anyone on my tail, either.  Mile 4: 7:06.

Around a corner and time to climb.  Ugh.  I felt my stride flatten, and before long my seven minute mantra had nearly become an eight minute mantra.  I was holding steady at 7:45 but couldn’t seem to go any faster.

And then, all of a sudden, the wheels started coming off.  Literally.  I heard a weird clicking on the ground and realized that it was coming from my right foot. The ends of my laces were dancing on the concrete.  One of my brand-spankin’-new, first-time-outta-the-box racing flats had come untied. Shit.

I tried to think: had I ever had a shoe come untied during a race before?  I wasn’t sure.  Should I stop and tie it, or keep going?  I had about a mile and a half left at this point.  The shoe didn’t seem to be in danger of coming off, but my heel was definitely slipping a bit and the flying laces were making me nervous.  I was starting to have visions of grinning wildly as I crossed the finish line, adoring fans gasping in astonishment as I broke the tape, sporting a bloody maw and missing front teeth because I had tripped and smashed my face on the concrete.

Ok, yeah, probably not.  But I made a brief stop, just in case.  As brief as I could make it.  I yanked the laces hard and hastily jammed them in to the sides of the shoe.

Unfortunately, it didn’t work.  Within a couple of blocks, the laces had wormed their way back out and were once again dancing madly with each footfall.

Argh.  Eff it.

At least the shoelace drama made me forget that I was running up a hill the whole time.  Before I knew it, the next mile marker was in sight.  And I was way off pace, but oh well.  At least my shoe was still on.  Mile 5: 7:55.

The final mile of the course, I knew, was a third downhill, a third uphill, and a third downhill (with the remainder of the distance to the finish downhill as well).  So, I only had one more hill to get through.  And it was the worst kind of hill: the kind where you come around a corner and see a wall of road and a string of traffic lights ahead of you, each smaller and higher than the last.  Oy.

Four more blocks.  Seven minutes.  Three more.  Two more.  Seven minutes.  One more.  Seven minutes.  I stuck with my mantra, even though I was struggling to keep it under 7:20.  Cresting the that final uphill block, I knew I had less than a half-mile to go and tried to get a quicker turnover going, even though my flat was practically falling off of my foot at this point.  Mile 6: 7:18.

Just effing finish.  Even if you end up half barefoot.  I flew down the Fayetteville Street Mall, and even though there was no one anywhere near me, I gave it a solid kick.  Mile 0.2 + tangent trash, 0.12 = 0.32 in 2:01 for a finish time of 45:34.

Well, at least I didn’t lose a shoe.

And my finish time was within the range of acceptable outcomes.

And actually?  Except for that one crappy uphill mile where my shoe came untied, I thought I ran the thing pretty darn well.  For me, anyway.  I realize I have a long way to go in terms of learning how to pace myself at this distance, but with the exception of the shoe drama mile, my splits were all within 20 seconds of one another.  Not perfect, but a whole lot better than going out at 6-minute pace, then wanting to die, then finishing at a 9-minute jog, per the usual.

I didn’t exactly blow my goal out of the water, but I didn’t blow up either.  And hey – I set a post-college PR!  With a wonky shoe.  So there’s that.

But the best part?  I don’t think I’m afraid of 10Ks any more.

It may not ever be my favorite distance, but now that I know I can race one and not totally implode, I might just look forward to doing another one this fall.

However.  For now?  Seven minutes.  That happens to also be my pace for consuming two post-race mimosas.

Even though I didn’t break the tape or even meet my A-goal, I didn’t f*ck up.  And that, my friends, it always worth celebrating.

Amorous mammals

Recap of this morning’s 10K: forthcoming. I’m a little beat right now. And have been trapped under 35 pounds of clingy cat for the last couple of hours.

Dear felines: I’m flattered that my lap real estate is selling at a premium today. But seriously? You are kitty-kneading on my bladder and I have to pee.

Anyway, instead doing a race post  right now, I’m just going to tell you an embarrassing story from this morning.

Because my store/team sponsored this race, I landed myself a “VIP” entry.  One of the many exciting benefits of this (aside from the free mimosas) was that I got a zebra-striped bib with my name on it.

(Also, did I mention the free mimosas?)

Anyway, after I crossed the finish line, this hot guy came up to me, handed me a chilled towel and a bottle of water (VIP!), and said, “Hey Shelby!  Great race today!”

And me?  I was caked in sweat and salt and, as I later discovered, had a booger stuck to my cheek.

And I couldn’t for me life of me figure out who this guy was.

I stopped and squinted at him.  Was he a customer at the store?  A lesser-known teammate?  Someone’s co-worker’s boyfriend’s roommate who I met at a networking event after three glasses of wine?

“Um…I’m sorry, I’m sure we’ve met before, but I can’t remember your name,” I stammered as I mopped my forehead.

“Oh, I don’t know!  Have we met?”  Hot towel guy laughed.  “I just, you know, your name is on your bib….”



Well, I’ve gotta get back to tonight’s program of choice: an Animal Planet special on Madagascar.  Lemur sex FTW!

Se ya tomorrow with that race recap….

Le Cinq de Mai

It defies logic, but I actually don’t love Mexican food.

It’s got melty cheese (drool), fatty meat (adore), fatty fruits (guaca-lovely), and crunchy salty things (my kryptonite), but for some reason, when put together, Mexican just isn’t something that makes my mouth water.  (Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy it and wouldn’t turn it down!  But it doesn’t top the ethnic-foods hierarchy for me.)

No, the top place in that hierarchy belongs to Vietnamese food.

A couple of summers ago, I spent a few weeks in Vietnam and dammit, if I wouldn’t go right the hell back.

Vietnam is a broke foodie traveler’s paradise.  Gorgeous beaches, cheap beer, awesome French-influenced food.  I’ll endure crappy roads and 20-hour bus rides all the live-long day for that.

(Also, I loved traveling in Vietnam  because everyone there speaks French.  I cannot speak French, but I did study it in high school and have apparently retained just enough vocabulary to believe that I can speak it.  Especially after an afternoon of consuming strong drinks that cost less than a value-menu Chalupa.)

Anyway.  I’ve always loved Vietnamese food, but that trip cemented its place in my heart.

So tonight, I turned down the fried chips and seven-layer-dips and made myself a delicious – and healthy! – Vietnamese dinner.

Recipe: Bun Tom Heo Nuong (Prawn Vermicelli Salad)

Crazy name aside, this dish is actually super simple and – and! – beautifully showcases the flavor of fish sauce. Because this recipe calls for a lot of it. But I promise, it tastes nothing like the weird smelly stuff that comes out of the jar. Fish sauce is magic when mixed with sugar and lime.

While pondering dinner, I decided to give that Triangle Brewing Company Belgian White Ale another shot.

I first tried this beer on Easter Sunday, while in a Champagne-and-maple-syrup-induced coma.  I didn’t care for it then, but vowed to give it fair shot another day.

Today, I approached it with an untainted palate and bolstered it with a fat slice of juicy orange.  And it was much better.  If you like Blue Moon-type beers, you’d love this one.  I don’t know how widely available it is though – I’d never heard of Triangle Brewing until recently!

Today’s run was nothing remarkable, but I popped out for a quick 5+ miles after belatedly wrapping up a project.  At 70* and sunny with low humidity, it was gorgeous running weather!

Happy Cinq de Mai!   Also, pas des phoques sur les bicyclettes!

A street sign in Ho Chi Minh City.  No seals on bicycles…?

Your guess is as good as mine!

Wednesday Breadwinner

Today is the day widely known as Hump Day, but since I’ll be working all weekend, I called it Lay Around Like a Lazy Lump Day.

Aside from a quick meeting this morning, my schedule was totally blank.  I considered doing productive things like laundry and grocery shopping – things one might normally do on a weekend day off – but in the end, a jam-packed afternoon of pointless miscellanea won out.

And it was wonderful.

Today, I:

 Explored the course for Saturday’s 10K during an easy 8-mile run.  It’s actually not quite as bad (hilly) as I’d imagined.  Mile five is pretty much all uphill, but other than that, we’re just dealing with mild rollers.  I’m feeling slightly better about it.

Busted out a brand new pair of shoes!

Oh Ghosts, I’ve missed you.  My last couple of pairs I’ve experimented with a more stability-oriented shoe, to see if it would help alleviate my perpetually tight calves.  It didn’t, so I went back to the shoe I’ve loved for several years now.  Can’t wait to see the Ghost 4 this fall!

Welcomed a zillion new readers, thanks to a shout out from Carrots N Cake!  If you’re one of those new faces, then hello.  There’s beer in the fridge – help yourself!  I hope you like rambling and slightly self-deprecating prose, MSPaint, and tasteful use of profanity with a hint of snark.  If not…well, have another drink.  We’ll get you there.

– Spent several hours heckling AngryRunner and her hilariously staunch stance against smartphones.   It was an effort that spanned several forms of social media and I was pretty pleased with myself.  I think I did everything I could to communicate my pro-smartphone stance, short of wrapping myself up and mailing myself to her doorstep.

I’m not ruling it out, though. <3 <3 <3

(Granted, I’ve never been to her house, but I’m pretty sure my iPhone could figure out how to get there.  iPhone FTW!)

Copied Fatty McPantherson and took a little snooze on the sofa.

It’s a rough life being a cat in this household.

Stared at my empty refrigerator for ten long minutes, contemplating dinner, before deciding to make pancakes.

I used this ridiculously simple recipe from Epicurious and they came out great!

Healthy plus: these were actually full of Chia seeds!  After mixing together all of the other stuff called for in the recipe, I realized I was out of eggs.  So I made a “Chia egg” in the way that I’ve seen bloggers make Flax eggs.  And it actually worked really well!  Who knew.

Healthy minus: I fried up that Chia-packed batter in bacon grease.  Mmmmm.

I guess it’s a draw.

Sipped a glass of wine while whipping up my breakfast-dinner.

I blogged the 2008 version of this 2010 La Ferme Julien Rose a year ago.   With its ubiquitous cartoon goat, this wine is a Trader Joe’s staple, and even though I apparently didn’t like the ’08 version, the ’10 isn’t bad!  I mean…it’s a cheap Rose.  It’s the sort of thing you sip on a warm summer afternoon while grilling hot dogs.  (Or on an unseasonably chilly May evening while making pancakes.)  But it’s perfectly drinkable and I’d buy it again!

Selected a winner in the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day giveaway!

That’s Rebecca!  Email me ( so I can get your book on its way.  I hope you love it as much as I do!

And that last one, my friends, is what I had planned to write about when I came up with that post title.  Never mind all of this other crap.

Happy Hump Day, or Lump Day, or whatever you wanna call it!

Ending the “season” with a bang

And that bang?  That was my confidence being shot.  Point blank.

I realize I’ve been lazy about updating my little Upcoming Races thingy.   Well, it’s updated.  —->

Unfortunately I’ve also been lazy about doing any sort of meaningful speed-work since the Shamrock Half back in March.  Which will make things interesting for the two races I have on tap for this month.

First up?  A hilly 10K this Saturday at the Capital City Classic.

I’ll be honest: I’m pretty terrified.  10K is probably my least favorite distance, and I don’t feel properly trained to take this one on, especially with its challenging course.

On the plus side: my post-college 10K PR is low-hanging fruit at 47:55.  (This is indicative of how much I suck at 10Ks, or how infrequently I attempt them, or both.)  Assuming I don’t totally blow up on Saturday, I should be able to smash that.  (I came through 6.2 at 46-something at my last half.  Sub-45 would be peachy, but I’m not sure it’s realistic on those hills.)

Also on the plus side: free mimosas at the finish, which is only a few blocks from my apartment.  Good for celebrating – or for drowning one’s sorrows.  Either way, it’s a plus.

But it’s still a wretched distance to race and I know it’s going to hurt.  Ugh.

Hopefully I’m not still reeling by the time I hop a plane to NYC a couple of weeks later for the Brooklyn Half Marathon!

I signed up for this race a long time ago and now I’m like…uh, shit.  I hope I don’t totally embarrass myself in front of a bunch of much faster friends.

I can’t believe I haven’t been back to New York since we pulled away in the moving truck last August.  I’ve been trying to make this trip happen for a while, so I’m excited to finally get back!

As for the race…um, I have no idea.  I’d like to think I can at least get under 1:40, which would be non-embarrassing.  It would be awesome to slip under 1:38, which I missed by one second at Shamrock, but seeing as my pace-work has been non-existent since then, I have no idea what that kind of effort will feel like, or whether I’ve truly lost any of that fitness by chugging along at a maintenance effort for the last two months.  We’ll see, I guess.

Regardless, it will be a kick-ass weekend of catching up with old friends and teammates.  13.1 miles of pain can’t rain on that!

So that’s what I’ve been shaking in my sneakers about over the last few weeks.  I had hoped I’d end the spring racing “season” feeling fitter and more confident then I did in January, but I’m not sure that I do.  Meh.

Following these two races, I’m thinking I’ll take a little time off, then spend the summer playing around at these weekly track meets, seeing as longer races are pretty much out of the picture around here until autumn.

1500s and 800s sound pretty appealing right now.  Just gotta get through this last stretch of longer stuff first….

Today’s EAT: Cooking dinner for myself tonight was a big fat hell-to-the-no.  I finished my workout and realized that the few food items loitering in the fridge were past their prime – and that the hubs had taken our shared vehicle for the evening.

I could order pizza, or I could take myself out to dinner.  I opted for the latter.

A salad and a beer, consumed from my semi-regular post at the bar down the block.  I actually intended to get this salad with chicken.  But when I was ordering, I got distracted by my efforts to convey no-blue-cheese-please (seriously, if I wanted mold on my dinner I would have just eaten the shit in my fridge) and forgot to ask for it.  But it was actually just fine without.  The pistachios and shredded cheddar (moldy cheese alternative) provided plenty of substance.

Today’s DRINK: I had a pint of Fullsteam Rocket Science IPA with my salad:

(It’s the tap in the middle.  Wow, that’s a crappy picture.  Sorry.)

Anyway, this IPA was pretty solid.  Very earthy, with a little bit of citrus and a flavor that was almost like fresh-cut grass.  Bitter, but delicious.

Today’s RUN: After taking the day off yesterday on account of my geriatric back pain, I tested the water this morning with an easy 4-miler.

And it felt fine.  Still a little sore, off and on today, but better than yesterday.

So I decided to squeeze in a few more miles in the evening in the form of a semi-speed workout.  You know, to try to get ready for that dratted 10K on Saturday.  Better late than never, right?

It was still in the mid-80s as the sun set, so I hit the treadmill and, after a quick half-mile warm-up, banged out three mile repeats at (wishful thinking) 10K pace: 6:57, 6:56, 6:49.   I guess if I ran a flat 10K in an air-conditioned gym….

On Saturday, I’ll be aiming for a slightly more conservative pace.  More like 7:10-7:15.  But it was a nice little confidence boost to be able to get through those three sub-7 intervals without feeling like I was going to die.

Total for the day: 8.1  Tomorrow: it’s supposed to be 60 and rainy.  Praise the weather gods – I will be splashing joyfully through the puddles in my (brand new, lily white) running shoes!

Today’s QUESTION: What’s on your race calendar?  Is the season gearing up or winding down in your neck of the woods?