Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Mishmash

 
I mentioned that we saw McFarland USA on Saturday.  I forgot to tell you that our ticket price was an odd amount - $4.40.  Over the years, the prices have increased - this theater used to charge $3.50 for tickets, and then $3.75, and I think the last time we went to the movies it was $4.25.  But $4.40?  That was weird.  And then I wondered if they gave us a *gulp* senior discount (let's face it, Jeff is sporting a lot of gray in his hair these days).  As soon as I saw Loretta, I asked her what she paid for their tickets - whew, it was the same as us.  Sorry, but I am NOT ready to be taking that discount, even if I'm married to someone who looks like he qualifies!

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No running tomorrow - instead, we'll be doing packet pick up for the Armadillo Dash on Sunday.  This is my first 5K where I'll be trying to run the entire thing; my secondary goal will be to finish in under 40 minutes.  That may or may not happen - I could have a major attack of race nerves, or I might just not be fast enough.  I am planning on doing a half-mile warm up run beforehand (I'll do the scary statue loop), which is something I don't normally do before a race, but considering how long it takes me to warm up once I start running, I figure giving myself a head start couldn't hurt.  No matter what, I'm hopeful for a good race where I feel happy with my performance at the end.  Recap should be up on Monday.

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I swear, Paco has been giving himself the dog equivalent of hairballs this week.  Every morning while I'm at my computer, I can hear him licking himself - his allergies are much more under control with the medicine we give him, but he still can't lay off the licking entirely.  And then, suddenly I'll realize that the licking sound has changed to a horking sound, and the sprint to the back door begins.  I've been successful at getting him outside 3 out of 4 days this week.  Dogs.  Why do I have one??  Oh yeah.  He's pretty cute when he's not being gross:
I have to lay a throw pillow barrier on my lap when I knit, otherwise Paco will crawl all the way onto my chest, which leaves me no room to knit.  Silly dog!

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 This is the yarn I'm using - Manos del Uruguay, in MERMAID colorway.  I love mermaids, but didn't know that's what this one was called...turns out it was a happy accident I chose this skein!

Speaking of knitting, I've been working on a cowl (big surprise, right??) - I finished it yesterday, but it is a lace pattern and needs blocking to show off the design properly, so I don't have a picture for you just yet.  Because my thumb joint is still tender, I'm not knitting as much as I'd like.  Not sure what my next project will be - maybe today I'll spend some time looking at my library of saved patterns on Ravelry and match something up with the yarn in my stash.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

WWU - Movie Date With Runners!

Loretta, CC, me, Cary...and Jeff's shadow.  Squinting into the bright sunlight because I forgot to take my sunglasses into the theater with me.  

First things first:  I cannot recommend the movie McFarland USA enough.  Go see it!!  It's not just about running - it's a true story and it's really sweet and motivating.  I loved it from start to finish, and I have to say, I got a little emotional at the very end of the movie when they showed updates on the character's lives.  Jeff and I met up with Loretta and CC at the theater and we all got a laugh when we saw that each of us was wearing a running shirt - not planned, but hey - we WERE going to a running movie after all.  Then Cary came in, wearing a running shirt, and we laughed all over again!

We had a great time - it's funny, I never would have met these people had it not been for running, but we've become good friends and it's just another reason why I'm grateful my life moved into doing something that I never thought I'd do.  Running has become so much more than simply running.  It's hard to put into words how much my life has changed for the better, but it's due to running and the really good people I've met as a result.

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My four week running experiment ended on Saturday.  I was a little slower, but I suspect that was mostly due to the weather - it was 66 degrees, muggy (it was lightly raining just before we started running), and we had 18 MPH winds.  Quite a change from the wonderful mid-40 degree temps of the previous three weeks, and obviously, I run better when I'm not so challenged by the weather...but that's probably true for everyone.  Here's my updated chart:
I walked for one minute after miles 1 and 2, and again for about 30 seconds around mile 2.5 - plus the last half mile was going into the wind.  Right afterward, I was a little disappointed in my performance, because I wanted to see steady improvement.  But then I remembered I'm not a robot and things aren't always linear.  Plus, THE WEATHER!  It's all good.  It's only been a month since I changed up my running.  And I appreciate that Julia willingly went along for the ride with this change - she likes to run intervals, but since week two, not only has she run with me on Saturdays, but she's had to accept my gasping grunts instead of our usual conversation, especially during mile 3 (note to self:  cardio needs improvement). 

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Speaking of cardio, Julia and I have been doing our version of speedwork on Thursdays.  We run 2:1 intervals, fast, for 2 miles.  And our speed gets even faster when we get spooked, which has been happening a lot lately.  I saw this on Pinterest - it's a pretty apt description of what our runs turn into:
So true...

Whatever gets the job done, right? 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oh, Texas...

 
I've lived in Texas for over 22 years now, and I'm still learning new things.  Which was to be expected in the beginning - after all, they say Texas is "like a whole other country" - and they're right about that.  I had to get used to the idea that when a Texan talked about their "tank" they were referring to what the rest of us call a pond, and that a "bar ditch" wasn't necessarily outside of a bar, but in fact is a grassy dip on the side of the road built for drainage.  They are not made for parking, but at times you will see a random vehicle parked at an odd angle in a bar ditch - although I've never done it, people seem to run off the road and into the bar ditch fairly often around here.  And don't get me started about the time someone gave us directions and told us to take the access road...you do not want to know how long it took us to figure out that it was the road that runs parallel to the highway and not, in fact, a road named Access.

I said all that to say (which is a phrase I first heard in Texas) that I heard a new one this week.  We have new next-door neighbors, and in chatting with them, they told me about their (grown) children, saying their son went to school for (whatever, I can't remember) but is a "landman" and that their daughter went to school for (whatever, I can't remember) but she's a "landman" as well.  No idea what that meant.  I asked them if they were retired or still working, and they said they both were "landmen" - and I couldn't hold in my ignorance any longer and had to ask.  Apparently a landman is someone who works for the oil/gas industry and helps to get the mineral/oil rights on land before drilling can happen.  All these years living in oilfield-dense Texas, and I'd never heard of that term.

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Another Texas phenomenon is how rapidly our temperatures can change.  I'd never heard of the term "blue norther" until I moved to Texas, but the first time I experienced one turned me into someone who checks the hourly weather forecast every morning.  A blue norther is when the weather turns cold in a very short amount of time.  It's also something that can make you feel like a bad mother when you send your little kindergartener off to school wearing a weather-appropriate outfit of shorts and a t-shirt, and then the blue norther happens and that child is shivering and covered in goosebumps when you pick him up in the afternoon.

Gullywasher in progress...

Last week, Jeff and I wanted to get a run in before the (predicted) rain began.  At 5:15 am, it was a balmy 65 degrees, and we were running in short-sleeved tops.  We were nearing the one mile mark when the rain started (which was sooner than what the hourly forecast said, darn it); I didn't want to get caught in a gully washer (another Texas weather experience - an intense period of rain that can flood not only gullies, but bar ditches as well) so we headed home.  We finished the run at 1.5 miles, and were lightly soaked from the rain.  I jumped in the shower to warm up, and could hear the rain pouring down outside - it did, indeed, turn into a real gully washer.  And about 30 minutes later, the rain eased up but it got cold - I checked the temperature, and it had dropped to 38 degrees!  I think I got Texas bingo with that gully washer/blue norther combination.

One thing is for sure - even after all this time, Texas sure keeps me guessing.  And I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Mishmash

Ever have one of those days, where things just startle and scare you?  It began during our early morning run - Julia and I both jumped when we heard something rustle behind us.  Turns out it was a heavy piece of plastic that was put out for the trash.  Then, a few minutes later,  the street light cast our shadows in front of us and I saw something move right next to me and I jumped (but didn't scream, which is unusual for me, lol).  I quickly realized it was my running skirt making that movement.  Then Julia started questioning if the streets were darker than usual, and suffice it to say that our run, which was speedwork anyway, became particularly fast.  So yeah, you could say we were on edge.

Later on, I had a meeting to go to at night.  Now, when I know I'm coming home to an empty house, I leave the lights ablazin' both inside and out.  And I make sure to tell Paco to guard the house (instead of going to hide in my closet, which he is known to do when I leave).  But when I came home, I was still feeling a little jumpy, so instead of putting Paco in his crate for the night, I had him sleep on the bed with me.  You'd think that having nearly 30 pounds of dog laying on my legs (his preferred spot) would have meant a night of bad sleep, but nope.  I slept like a rock.  Best sleep I've had in a long time, in fact.

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I knitted another cowl - what can I say, this winter is the season of cowls for me, apparently.  Not only are they great for keeping me warm (but not too warm since the heat is concentrated on my neck and chest area), but I love all the different colors and styles of my cowls...I feel slightly fashionable when I wear one.

This one was a new design by Liz Abinate, who also designed the Saroyan shawlette that I knitted last fall.  Her patterns are very clear and well-written, and I really enjoy knitting them - I can safely say I've had no frustrating, want to throw the piece across the room moments while knitting her designs.  The pattern called for a little more than one skein of yarn, but I decided to go for broke and make it with one skein...which is mostly because I only HAD one skein of the yarn I wanted to use, but also, I figured I'd get pretty close.  Turns out, I managed to do 16 out of the 17 pattern repeats, so I was right, woohoo!
Pattern is Forest Park Cowl, yarn is Madelinetosh Vintage, colorway is Fragrant.  I went with the pink tones because of the heart-looking design in the cables, and because I started knitting this just before Valentine's Day.

I like how the pattern flares out - this makes it drape nicely, without having to fuss too much with arranging it.  Hopefully I'll get a picture of me wearing it soon so you can see what I mean.

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We have running plans tomorrow - first, of course, will be running.  I'll be doing my last week of my 3 mile experiment.  And later, several of our JFR Crew have plans to watch a movie about running - McFarland USA.  Should be fun!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

WWU - Challenging Run

 
Picture taken about 45 minutes after I'd finished my run on Saturday...my face had stopped matching the color of my shirt by that point.  And of course, I'm heading into Blue Baker - would you expect anything else?

Holy moly, my run on Saturday was a challenge.  I'm doing the same route and distance every Saturday for four weeks (this was week 3 of 4) so I can compare apples to apples and hopefully see some improvement.  My goal is to run the three miles with minimal walk breaks; for the previous two weeks, I managed to only take one after mile 1, and another after mile 2 - both for one minute in duration.  But on Saturday, I pushed it on the pace and ended up taking walk breaks at mile 1 and mile 2, and then another one at mile 2.5 - not ideal, but I was struggling out there!  Here's my handy-dandy chart, updated:
Look at mile 1 and mile 2...no wonder I was having a hard time!  Plus, if you factor in two minutes of walking in mile 3, and I still had a 12:42 pace?  Yep.  I was definitely pushing it a little too much at this point.  I mean, I survived, but it wasn't pretty.

I'm not sure what I expected out of this experimental month of running.  I'm more than halfway through it, and it's been harder than I anticipated in some ways, but not as hard in others.  The hard part has been pushing my pace, hands down.  I can handle it for a couple of miles, but tack on that third mile and boy howdy, is it ever a struggle!  But I've been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I was able to ramp up to running a mile without stopping, so there's that.

Something has taken me by surprise in bothering me a bit, and that has been seeing how few miles I'm running each week.  In case you're wondering, it's seven.  Total.  And while I was looking forward to not doing long runs, it feels really weird so see such low mileage.  I think I might either add in another day of running, or bump up my weekday runs an additional mile.  Or both, who knows?

Monday, February 16, 2015

It's (Still) Not Easy

You'd think it would be easy for me by now.  You'd think that after so many years of exercising on a regular basis, I'd have no trouble getting back into a routine of going to the gym.  I mean, why not?  I like doing the 30-minute circuit, and I really like the results I see in the way of a more toned body, and feel in the form of being strong.  And yet, I've only been to Planet Fitness once in the last three weeks.  I do well when I'm on autopilot, but that switch has been turned off and I can't seem to get it flipped back on.  Yes, I'm still running (and enjoying it), but to get the look I want, I need to be doing more - hence the gym.

The same goes for my eating.  I've been doing this for coming up on seven years now, but I find myself taking a lackadaisical approach to meals (except for breakfast - I have that covered).  But if I don't eat a decent lunch, I start scavenging for food a couple of hours later, and the same goes for dinner.  I think the combination of my inherent laziness plus the fact that I just don't like to cook, is working against me.  The end result is that I feel more blobby than usual...which is not exactly the look I'm going for.

I'm not perfect in my weight management/maintenance, nor in my exercise.  I could be doing better, and I know it. Lately it feels like there have been too many days when I just can't seem to get it together, and I've been pretty frustrated with that.  While I'm fairly sure this is just a phase and I'll probably snap out of it soon, it's not a particularly fun place to be.

Am I doing anything about this?  Well, sort of.  Instead of doing the typical self-flagellation, I'm asking myself what can I do to make today better?  I know it sounds kind of hokey, but I would do this for a friend who is struggling, so why not for me?  I'm trying some baby step-type things, like carrying around a water bottle again and making sure I drink enough to have to refill it 3 or 4 times a day.  And I've been grocery shopping and purchased some easy/quick/healthy-ish food, so I'm eating a bit more well-rounded meals.  Still haven't made it back to PF, but hey - tomorrow's a new day, right?

Friday, February 13, 2015

Friday Mishmash

Paco was sent a gift last week and immediately went into full Zoolander mode:
 Strike a pose...
 I iz dragon.
 Wate...dis dragon iz eating my hed.
As always, a model likes to eat after his session is finished - cookie reward for the win!

I guess I've made Paco pose so often while modeling my finished knitted creations that he didn't even protest when I put the costume on him.  My dog, he makes me laugh!

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So while being made to wear a costume doesn't irritate Paco, this bugs him to no end:
 
He was all comfy, laying on my lap, when Kip decided he had to join in...much growling ensued, but Kippers held his ground.
Portrait of a beleaguered dog.  And a cat who is inwardly gloating.

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Last Saturday our oldest turned 28.  I'm not even going to get into how that can be possible, because I don't feel old enough to have a 28-year-old!  Jeff and I took ourselves out to dinner to celebrate being parents - hey, just because the kid lives on the other side of the country doesn't mean we can't celebrate, right?  We splurged and each got dessert, and upon hearing about the occasion, our waitress suggested taking a picture and sending it to our son:
Cannoli for Jeff and a three-layer chocolate dessert for me.  So good!  I ended up taking home about half of my dinner and half of my dessert - loved not feeling like I was going to explode after dinner, and I also really enjoyed having that dessert a second time!

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Speaking of birthdays, tomorrow is my Dad's birthday - so HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Dad!

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Lori's 5th Annual Healthy Heart Weekend begins today - it's not too late to sign up and do an activity (I, of course, will be running), and you could win a prize!  She's giving away some pretty cool stuff, including a hat that she commissioned from me:
Pink and gray stripes - I am loving stripes lately!

Have a great weekend!