Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Mishmash

Y'all, maybe it's the heat, maybe it's my allergies, maybe it's waking up so early to run (and where's that nap I keep promising myself?!), but I'm tired.  Apologies in advance if this post is more discombobulated than usual.

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Jeff and Max returned from their canoe trip last Saturday - they had a great time, although Jeff came home with a wrenched back (they were messing around and capsized the canoe in rapids - BOYS!) and spent several mores days at home bugging me on muscle relaxers and pain meds.  He's finally gone into work today - hopefully the worst is over now.

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Like most of the country, it's been HOT here.  I was out of watermelon (the horror)(or, as Max used to pronounce it as a small child, the whore)(I still laugh...) but too lazy to get out in the heat, so I convinced Max and his friend Kevin to run over to Sam's Club and buy one.  They came home with the mother of all seedless watermelons - it was so heavy that I got out the scale to weigh it:
Kevin with the 28 lb. watermelon.  It was mine, all mine!!  No, I shared.  Just not with Kevin, because he's the weirdo who doesn't like watermelon...I KNOW!  Does. not. compute.

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Max mowed the front yard since Jeff was out of commission - two weeks with no mowing and a lot of rain made it quite lush, green, and a challenge to cut through...you can see by the swath he's made in this picture how high the grass was.  Unfortunately he didn't have time to do the back yard before he had to return to Denton, so that's even worse.  I fear we may lose a cat in it soon! ;)
Thanks, Max!

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My friend Cindy came out for a quick visit on Wednesday/Thursday - she lives in San Antonio, and we met 15 years ago when our sons, Max and Austin, were in the same 2nd grade class.  We had fun catching up in person (instead of over the phone), and did a little shopping, where we found this adorable dachshund puppy roaming one store (Debby, can you STAND it??):
This little guy was out with his owner.  We were all over that puppy!  Luckily, his owner didn't mind.  Actually, he was outnumbered and didn't really have a choice against two puppy-crazed women.

Later on, Cindy and I took some pictures together, and of course Paco had to get in the shot.  He was still smelling my arm, where I'd held the puppy earlier.  Yes Paco, I cheated on you...and I'd do it again in a heartbeat!
 I too busy smelling interloper to look at camera.

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Baby squirrel came out to play - this little guy is almost as cute as that dachshund puppy!  Since he won't let me get close enough to pet him, I have to stalk him with my zoom lens:
Hanging out on a tree...
Having a snack...
Trying to roll a ball...

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Tomorrow I'll be getting up well before the crack of dawn again to go run 4 or 5 miles with my early morning crazies, and then we'll meet up with the running club.  I may not run the extra 2 miles - we'll see...maybe I'll stay behind and cheer everyone in.  I will be glad when the running club's long run mileage catches up to where I'm at so I won't have to get up quite so early.  Only about 7 weeks to go, ugh.  On Sunday, I'll be flying to California to visit my best friend Barbara for a couple of weeks.  Not only do we have our usual amount of fun on tap, but since she's going to have to work a few of the days I'll be there, I've made plans with some other friends as well, which should be great fun and filled with adventures!  I'm not going to stress over keeping to my regular blogging schedule, so if I have time, you might see a post, and I have a couple of reviews pre-scheduled, but otherwise, things should be back to normal on July 16th. 

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

Last week I ran a half marathon.  Not all at once, mind you, but seeing that my weekly miles added up to 13.1 made me smile.  And then cringe - yikes, am I really going to do that all at once in December?  I think I'm going to employ the "run the mile you're in" way of thinking for this training season, because it's way too early for me to get the heebie-jeebies about my second half marathon!

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Monday, Julia and I met up for an early morning run, but we had an interloper - my son Max!  He decided that he's going to run the BCS half marathon with us in December, so he got fitted for a new pair of running shoes on Sunday at our favorite running store, and started his training on Monday.  Now, he may be young, he may have long legs, but Julia and I outlasted him - score one for the old broads fit women!  Hey, we have to take our victories when we can, because I know that it'll only take Max a couple of weeks to build up to nearly where I am now - and I've been working at this for six months!
 
 Max and the fit women!

I took Tuesday off from running - my left leg has been bugging me, and I figured, why press it?  I'm trying to train smart this time, and if I miss a run once in a while, it's not the end of the world.  Plus, I had plans for the evening - the running store had a yoga class!  The last time I did yoga was in September - after my ankle surgery it was too dark and cold for outdoor yoga, and they never started back up in the spring, which is too bad, as I really liked the instructor.  This new class was fun - they had no idea if anyone was going to show up, but we packed the store!  Most of the poses came back to me pretty quickly, and it felt great to stretch...I'm hoping that this will help my aching leg (which I think is just sore from running too much on the slanted side of the road).
Downward dog!  

Yoga is supposed to be calm, meditative and relaxing, unless you're me...we were doing a side plank, and my arm was shaking so much that I started laughing and couldn't stop.  Oh well - I guess every class has a clown?

Tomorrow I should be running with Erica, and Saturday, the early morning crazies are going to meet before the running club and get our long run in before the sun rises.  Considering it was 106 degrees yesterday, I think that's a good plan.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Ridiculously Long Running Club Recap

Holy cow, Saturday morning was a whirlwind!  Starting when my alarm when off at 4:30 am (with just a brief moment of "what the heck was I thinking, running BEFORE running club started?!), to driving into a dark parking lot an hour later, meeting up with five equally crazy ladies, and setting off into the unknown...well, for me, anyway.  It's strange to run a different route, especially when it's still dark.  Julia ran this route on Wednesday, which was good for me because at one point I was pretty turned around as to which direction we should go.  No worries, though - we made it through our planned 4 mile run just fine.  Oh, we had one funny blip:  we crossed a major street, in the crosswalk and with the light, and because there was so little traffic, almost jaywalked the adjoining street, but when we glanced to our right, we could see a police car sitting at the signal, so we stopped and pressed the "walk" button for the crosswalk.  A couple seconds later, the police officer got on her loudspeaker and we heard "RUNNERS, YOU MAY CROSS THE STREET" - so we did, indeed, jaywalk...hey, it was police-sanctioned.  Just another mini adventure in running!

All that craziness, and it wasn't even 6:30 am yet!  We arrived back at the new official running club meeting spot, which happens to be in front of the BRAND! NEW! RUNNING! STORE!  So exciting!  The store, Brazos Running Company, is the new sponsor of our USAFit BCS running club, and most of our runs will begin from the storefront.  We were all milling around, with new and old members of the running club arriving to sign up, when one of the store owners, Mike, saw me and took me inside to see the store before they opened (and yes, I did feel special!).  Y'all, it was total eye candy.  They had so much stuff, and it was all displayed so nicely!  I took a quick look and almost instantly spotted a Brooks "Run Happy" shirt hanging up - wheee!  I've been wanting a Run Happy shirt for a long time and this was the perfect opportunity to get it - first day of half marathon training, back to being with my running club peeps, AND the new store?  It must be mine.  This is a little out of order, but here's a shot of me in my new shirt, after I'd gotten cleaned up.  The rest of the pictures will be my traditional "look like hell" running pictures - but hey, if I looked like this, I wouldn't have gotten a good workout in!
 Love this mantra, and paired with a cupcake?  Yes, please!

OK, back to the beginning.  So the runners arrived and it was great - not only were people returning who'd been there the last go-round, but several from my first time with the running club, back in 2010, came back!   Darrell was there, who I trailed on that infamous 12-mile death march, and Tiffani was there, who I ran with on the very first day of running club, and Stina, who was also there the first day - she won a fuel belt in the raffle and gave it to me!  Ah memories...it was great to see them and know that we'd all be suffering running together again!
Everyone milling around, waiting to start our 2 mile run.

After some announcements and coach intros (did I mention Julia is the assistant coach for the marathon group?), we set off on our run, where my legs immediately protested.  They were all "wait, WHAT IS THIS???  we were DONE, lady!" - so yeah, that second run wasn't great, but I did it with Kim, who had also been one of the early morning crazies, and she was just as tired.  We ran, we walked a bit, we got it done.  Six miles total, and honestly, I think it would have been easier to do it all at once rather than split it up with an hour-plus break in between.

Then the real excitement began - the store owners - Mike, Dara, Dan and Janine - came out and said a few words, and then?  The running store was officially open!
Here we are, ready to go in...can you find me in this picture?  Coach Dale took this one.

Coach Dale also busted me at the check out - he called my name, I turned, and bam.  Picture snapped, and he emailed it to Jeff!  Nah, it's all good.  We've waited a long time for a running store in our community, and supporting it will hopefully ensure that it will STAY in our community!
Tiffani, Julia and I, all lined up to buy our stuff!

So what did I get?  Well, considering that I really didn't NEED anything, a lot...which should come as no surprise to anyone.  I planned ahead and packed a complete change of clothes so I could shed my gross sweaty running outfit and be able to try on new clothes.  I had the Run Happy shirt in my hand and also another BRC technical shirt in pink and turquoise (I KNOW!!!) but it was a slim fit and the biggest size, a large, felt just too clingy for my liking.  Too bad, as it was cute.  They had some Moving Comfort shorts that appealed to me - I haven't bought any running shorts since early 2010.  I do like the running skirts, but lately I've been wearing my old shorts to run in, so I bought a new pair to try.  They are a longer length than a lot of running shorts, which I liked as I am not ever thrilled with my thighs.  I'll let you know how they work out.

I also bought some new colors of the Thorlo Experia running socks - these are my go-to socks and I just love them.  I still have my very first pair that I bought in February 2010 - they are doing great, and while expensive to begin with, obviously are well-made and last and last.  Plus, the colors!  I can't resist.

I was happy to see that they had Sweaty Bands at the store, and indulged in a couple more of them.  Again - I absolutely did not need these, but to see them in person before buying was great fun.  Oh, did I mention that we had a one-time 20% discount as members of the running club?  That certainly helped my shopping spree.  And we still have Jeff's coupon for another one, when we'll need to buy new running shoes. 

Here's the loot:
It's like Christmas in June!!!

And after all the excitement of the morning?  You can bet I took a nice nap, along with several Motrin chasers throughout the day, followed by a trip out for frozen yogurt in the evening.  All in all, a great day! 

Friday, June 22, 2012

Friday Mishmash

Here in Texas, we don't get rain, we get RAIN.  I've never seen it come down so intensely like it does here.  They call storms like these "gully washers" and are usually brief, but with really heavy bouts of rain.  A couple days ago we had one - it was pouring so hard I opened the front door to take a good look.  Immediately, Paco and Kip ran out and stopped dead, which made me laugh and grab my camera:
They stood there, frozen, for a few minutes, just disgusted at the rain, before turning back inside.
 One minute you could see across the street...
 ...and then?  You couldn't.  This was a short storm - just enough to keep everything green and cool us down for the rest of the day.  It dried up pretty quick, and Paco and Kip got to run around the front yard like nothing had happened just a few hours later.

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I've been rather attached to this cheese lately - Sam's Club sells it in a big bag, and I make half a sandwich with two slices, a piece of multi-grain bread, and mustard.  That and a bunch of watermelon, and I'm good for lunch!
Each slab has 90 calories...I like the instant portion control.  Pictured next to my cell phone so you can get a true idea of how much you get - decent bang for the calorie buck!

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The other morning I noticed a man riding a Segway zipping around our street.  That's pretty unusual here and I wondered which neighbor this was, until he came on my driveway and I realized that he was the meter reader.  Riding a Segway while doing your job?  Now that's what I call fun!

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No mas dolor es muy bueno in my book!

In Sit and Knit news, I've been knitting much more happily lately, ever since I started using a product called Thimble-It.  It's a self-adhesive little oval that keeps the dang knitting needles from puncturing my poor index fingers...no joke, I drew blood about four times last week.  And while my needles aren't even that sharp (they make some stiletto needles, which are gorgeous but I don't DARE try), I'm a "tight" knitter, and pay the price with very sore fingertips.  Debby told me about these (I was using bandages, but still managing to poke through the pads - hey, at least I didn't have to worry about getting blood on my piece since I already had the bandage on, lol) and they do the trick.  Plus, they're super-sticky and I've been able to reuse the same two for going on six days now, which makes them cost practically nothing.

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Last Saturday was our 28th wedding anniversary - I woke up to find these pretty pink baby roses on my desk!  Then I left to go run 5 miles, while Jeff and Max left for Missouri, where they were going on a canoe trip.  Pretty normal for us, actually.  We'll go out to dinner to celebrate next week, in Austin...before I leave for California for two weeks.

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Tomorrow is a big day, with the start of running club AND the opening of our town's first running store!  I'm not sure which one I'm more excited about, to be honest!  The really cool thing?  Running club will be meeting at (and starting our runs from) the new store!   As a shopper and a runner, my worlds are colliding in the best possible way!  A group of us are meeting early in the morning, before running club starts, to get our long run in - it's not that we are that fanatical about running, but tomorrow the official run is only 2 miles, and we all want to get in our longer distance since we've worked hard to get up to it, plus with the sign ups, announcements, etc, the official run probably won't even start until closer to 8:00 am, and it will be pretty hot by then.  I figure I'll go ahead and run the 2 miles as well - hopefully I'll have recovered enough to make it through that run.  And then?  Shopping.  Breakfast.  Nap.  Sounds pretty good to me!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Mishmash Edition


Really, I could end this post with that picture...pretty much says it all, right?

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Exercise means I start my day off with bribery - as soon as my alarm goes off at 5:00 am, I immediately promise myself that I can take a nap later on as reward for getting up so stinking early to run.  I don't always take the nap, but it's nice to think I could.

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Running has been extra crunchy lately, thanks to the massive cricket invasion here.  Not sure what is worse, though - stepping on the crickets, or having one race me.  And I feel ashamed when the cricket actually wins, but then I just step on one of his cousins and it all evens out.

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I went back to my orthopedist last week for a check on my ankle - after six months of running on it, I figured I should be sure that the pains I sometimes feel aren't doing it any harm.  He gave me the all clear to keep running, and was so funny - asked me how far I was running, and I said I was up to 5 miles and he said, surprised, "all at once??"  LOL - love it when I can impress my doctor!  The only thing he wants me to start doing on a regular basis is ice it after I run, and he said that taking ibuprofen before my long runs would help with getting the pain management started.  I feel much more confident about going into the half marathon training now that I know I'm not doing anything do damage it.

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I am loving my 2-ish mile runs during the week - the company is always good (Monday with Julia, yesterday with Jenny and tomorrow with Erica), and the distance is short enough that not only do I feel great after I'm done, I also am left wanting more, which is nice, since I'm not dreading any of my weekly runs.  Eventually, I'm sure there will be a morning when I will not want to run, but it hasn't happened yet, and I credit these short distances.

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Saturday's 5 mile run was harder than last week, even though it was the same route and ended up taking the same amount of time.  Go figure.  It was hotter, which never helps, but really, I should be used to running in heat by now.  And during the last mile, I could feel my face get burning hot - we took a group picture about 10 minutes after Julia and I finished and it was still very red in the shot.  I told Julia that running reminds me of labor and delivery - it can be so awful when you're going through it, and you wonder why in the world you would choose to do something like this, and then all of a sudden you're done and you have a cute baby in your arms can say you just ran XX miles - and all the awfulness just fades away.  That's why women have more than one child, and we running fools go back out there, week after week!
We are STRONG women - 5 miles?  No problem!!!

I used the "gritty" filter on that picture to tone down the awful redness in my face (yes I am vain).  Here's another shot, showing what I really looked like after that run:
Who knew that when I chose my shirt color, I'd be matching my face color?!?  All in the name of exercise...but it sure makes the cartoon at the beginning of this post seem accurate!

Monday, June 18, 2012

I'm Cranky and I Know It...

Sorry for the earworm...and by the way?  That term grosses me out.  Yet I still used it.  Bah!

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Am I missing something?  When did it become standard for restaurant servers to not give you the coin change when you pay your bill with cash?  This has happened several times lately, and honestly, I've wondered if it's normal and I am not hip enough to realize it?  Last week we had dinner at Cheddar's - our bill was $15.12 and we paid with a twenty dollar bill.  The server brought back four one dollar bills - effectively pocketing .88 in change.  Now, I've not said anything when it was a few cents, but this was almost a buck...and it just struck both Jeff and I the wrong way.  Honestly, 88 cents is not going to break us (and if it was, we wouldn't be eating out), but it's the principle.  Jeff took the check and our change to the manager and showed it to him, who said "I tell the servers to give exact change!"  Jeff asked the manager what he would do in this case, and he said "I wouldn't tip her - they aren't supposed to do this" - so we didn't...but this whole thing just left a bad taste in our mouths (sad considering the meal was good), and we left the restaurant not feeling great about the way it ended. 

Anybody else have this experience?  ARE we missing the new way of paying for a meal?  You know, it's not like this would happen if we used a credit card...so that makes me think that this really isn't acceptable.  Unless restaurants have become cash-haters - but after Jeff's credit card number was lifted somewhere a few months ago, we've become really careful about not letting it out of our hands - hence, the cash payment.

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Social media.  I don't get tumblr.  Or Reddit.  I'm not on Twitter, and I only have a Facebook page for myself, not for my blog.  And speaking of having a Facebook page for your blog, what is the point?  Mostly it seems that it's just links to your blog posts, so why bother?  Also, who can keep up with all of this stuff?!?  Maybe once I enter the 21st century and get a smart phone (mine is barely mediocre), I might be more active with social media, but I doubt it.  I suspect I've reached the point where I'm young enough to have heard about these things, but too old to care.  ::shakes cane::

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Also, eyelashes.  You can't believe any picture these days - it seems like everyone is either wearing false eyelashes or using Latisse - and while I agree that these enhancers make your eyes look amazing, those of us who just go with the old standby of mascara look blah now.  Back in the day, blah was reserved for the days when I didn't bother with mascara. Now I put it on in order to achieve blah!

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The overuse of the words "brilliant" and "genius" on Pinterest make me stabby.  Not everything is THAT awesome, people.

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Blogger.  Apparently most people DID NOT GET THE MEMO when I complained about word verification.  I can't believe my standing in the blog community didn't get everyone to immediately turn it off.  And yes, I feel the need to point out that the last sentence was written with self-deprecating sarcasm...but geez, enough with it, already!

In case I haven't offended most of my readers, I'll just finish off with asking questions at the end of every post.  REALLY?  I come here to read, not answer a quiz!  I know, I know - you're just trying to interact and get a discussion going in the comments.  I TOLD YOU I WAS CRANKY!

 Anybody have anything else they're cranky about?  (you want to slap me now for asking a question, right?  I do, too.)

Friday, June 15, 2012

Friday Mishmash

The winner of the Sweaty Band is:

Debsdailylife!!!

Congratulations!!  Email me (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) your full name and mailing address, and I'll get that super-cute headband in the mail to you!

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Dear kale in my refrigerator,
Please bake yourself into chips.
Thanks,
Lazy Shelley

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I try not to overshare here on my blog, but this is too weird...my lips turn orange after I eat watermelon.  How strange, right?!?  It happens every single time...and considering my addiction to watermelon, I go around with orange lips quite often.  I accidentally got pictures when I was taking shots of my Sweaty Band - the one I chose for that post has me turned so the odd lip color (hopefully) wasn't very noticeable, but here's a more full on shot:
Yeah, no make up and orange lips...lovely.  Typical look (well, not the lip color) when I'm not going anywhere.

Seriously, how weird is this?  Anybody else get this reaction to watermelon?  Bizarre, right?

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This is my normal view outside of my office window:
 
And this is my view on squirrel:
Baby squirrel, that is!  This little guy was so cute...he stayed in the V of the big tree all afternoon - I watched him play, nap and even eat some ants.  
 The next day baby squirrel got adventurous and was wandering around on the ground.  Sweet!

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My neighbors across the street recently added some plants to their front yard, and every morning I've looked out my front window to see enormous blooms on their hibiscus plant - the first day, in fact, they were so big that I wondered if they'd stuck in some fake flowers (don't laugh, I've seen people do this around here!).  I walked over to investigate - nope, they were real, and the size of dinner plates!  The only bummer is that as spectacular as they are, they don't even last a full day - by late afternoon, the blooms are wilted and done-for.
 Left: today's bloom; right: yesterday's bloom...all gone!
This plant is great fun to look at every morning and see the new blooms!

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This is what I found when I opened up a new box of Larabar minis last Saturday... 

I emailed Larabar to let them know about the puffy state of the cashew cookie bars, and a couple of days later they responded that yeast had inadvertently gotten in the product - interesting!  While they said it wasn't harmful, the flavor of the bar would be off and they don't recommend eating the bar for quality reasons.  Not a problem there.  They are sending me some coupons to replace the bad bars (bad bars! go to your room!), and I appreciate them making good on this.

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Another 5 mile run is on tap tomorrow - Jeff and our younger son Max are leaving on a week-long canoe trip that morning, so Julia is going to run with me.  Last one before running club starts back up - yay!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update - Goal!

What's that you say?  Goal?  What goal??  Well, my goal (and how many times can I keep saying that word?) when I finished our 10 week/10K training program was to work my way up to being able to run 5 miles before our next training program started.  I know, you'd think that since I completed the 10K program, I would be running 5 miles - and I did - but that was with walking intervals.  I needed to slowly work my way up to actually RUNNING the entire distance on our long run Saturdays...and I have, officially, as of this last Saturday.  I think it helped me to do each "new" distance twice before moving on to the next new long distance, and by bumping it up in half-mile increments also helped to make it feel not overwhelming.  Plus, the combination of my "forward momentum" attitude along with remembering to "run the mile you're in" has made a big difference in how I approach these longer distances...I'm just concentrating on covering a mile.  And then another mile.  And another, until I'm done.  No worries about how fast I should be running, no comparisons to Runner Shelley Version 1.0; I just run the best that I can right now.

Saturday's 5 mile run began at 6:30 am, with running club peeps Will and Deshonda along for the fun.  We set out together, and although we eventually separated a bit, we almost always could see each other and that made me feel like we were the three four musketeers out there.  I made Jeff start out even slower than we normally do, because after running with Erica twice last week, and feeling so good during those runs, I knew that slower was really working for me, and with 5 miles on tap, I definitely wanted this to work!  We took a different route, which worked out great as we were in the shade quite a bit, plus there was always a slight breeze.  We ran each mile and then took a few seconds to walk and drink some water, plus at mile 3 we each had a GU.  I was getting a little fatigued toward the end, but that's to be expected - after all, we RAN FIVE MILES!  Go us!!!

Here's a screenshot of our route - I've been using Garmin Connect lately, and it shows your run on the map, which I think is pretty cool.  Also?  Running 5 miles didn't seem so bad, but looking at this on the map?  Dang.  That's a looonnnggg way!
Five mile loop

I can tell that I'm getting into some higher mileage calorie burning lately with these long runs, because even though we eat a decent breakfast afterward, I am stomach-growling starving for lunch!  Normally, I'll have lunch, but the last two Saturdays, I've wanted LUNCH.  After that, I seem to get back to my usual food needs, which is a relief.  I'd like to think that eventually, all this running may pay off with a more compact body, but that won't be easy if I eat like a linebacker!

P.S.  In case you missed it, I'm hosting a Sweaty Bands giveaway, open to everyone!  Click here to enter; winner will be announced on Friday.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Sweaty Bands Review and Giveaway!

 
I blame...er, credit Katie J for my latest obsession.  It all started a couple of months ago, when she so generously sent me a care package that included a pink Sweaty Band...little did I know upon trying it on how much I'd love it.  I have been a hat and visor wearer almost from day one when I run, and never thought that a headband would do the trick for me.  Well, as you can see from the photo collage, I'm hooked!  In fact, so much so that when I went to their website to order more, I got nervy and ended up contacting them to see about doing a giveaway, and they very nicely sent me one to keep and one to give away!  Thank you, Sweaty Bands!

A Sweaty Band is more than a headband - it has a velvet backing that absorbs sweat, and best of all, it doesn't slip off your head!  I've tried a couple of other brands, and they all just rolled off the back of my head...I figured I just had a weird head shape and would never get to wear those cute headbands while exercising, but the Sweaty Band stays on!  I've worn mine on runs from 2 to 5 miles, and came home with the band still on my head every time, which was a first for me and headbands.  It does a pretty good job of absorbing sweat, but of course, with running in hot and humid conditions like I do, eventually I have some breakthrough sweat running into my eyes...just a fact of life when it comes to living here.  Still, I've really liked the freedom of running without a hat or visor - it feels nice to not always have another layer on my head - and since I run so early in the morning most of the time, I haven't had any issues with missing a brim over my eyes.

Also?  These things are cute.  They come in a ton of colors and patterns, and you know I am all about having fun with my outfits when I run, so they fit right in with that!  Seriously, the first time I started choosing some to order, I ended up with about 8 in my shopping cart - of course, I had to rein myself in, but that's how appealing their designs are!

The kind folks at Sweaty Bands sent me a thin band and a thick band - I chose to keep the thick band for myself since it was one I was considering buying - with all of the colors in the design, I knew it would go great with a lot of my running outfits.  It's the one in black with the rainbow weave, in the pictures above - Thriller Thick is the pattern.  I have both a thin band (the pink Queen of Hearts that Katie J gave me) and a thick band, and I like them equally.  Up for the giveaway is this cute brown and tan Racing Stripes Zebra thin band - it's 1-inch wide and adorable.  Since I'm the one who will be mailing out the prize, ANYONE IN THE WORLD can enter!  Woohoo!!!  Leave me a comment if you want in - I'll let random.org pick a winner and announce it in the Friday Mishmash.  Good luck!
Zebra stripes for the winner!

FTC:  Sweaty Bands gave me two headbands - one to keep and one to give away.  Review and opinions are all my own, naturally.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Mishmash

The winner of the CalNaturale Svelte protein drink sample pack is:


Congratulations!  Send me an email (40somethingsjourney@gmail.com) with your name and mailing address, and I'll pass the info along to my contact.

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I forgot to show you my big birthday gift:
 
A new Camaro!!!  Haha, NOT.  Jeff usually has to rent a car when he travels, and gets whatever "mid-size" is available...this was what he came home with last week.  While it's not quite my style (I'm still longing for a Mini Cooper), I'd certainly take the Camaro if it was free.

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Some people play Angry Birds on their phones or tablets, but I get to see the real-life version on a daily basis!  The mockingbirds are nesting and protecting their nests, which seem to be in every tree in the front yard.  They constantly swoop and dive at Kip, but it's funny - he hardly acts like it bothers him.  Of course, Jeff says that's because Kip is probably thinking "I'm just going to eat your babies anyway" but I can't believe my docile, sweet kitty would do that...no, actually, I can.  Dumb cats.
Angry bird...
Paco gets worked up over this, at least...
Kip is just "meh"
...and scene.  Love that Paco is going the wrong direction while chasing the bird. (clicking on the pics will make them easier to see)

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I've been making progress on my latest baby blanket:
I have to say, it gets a little hot knitting this, so I tend to work on it for a while, then set it aside for a smaller project.  No worries, though - the baby isn't due for a couple more months and it's simple pattern, so I'm sure I'll get it finished in time.  I kind of wish I'd used larger needles for this...with such a big piece, it would have gone quicker.  Oh well, live and learn.

Here's a couple of scarves that I'm working on - with all of my windmill bag enthusiasm, the scarves haven't gotten the attention that they deserve:
This one is also a challenge because the yarn is fuzzy and the pattern is a bit boring.  I do love how it looks, but if I make something like this again, I might use larger needles and heavier yarn to make it go quicker.  (Hmmm, I'm seeing a trend between repetitive patterns and wishing they would be finished faster!)
This crazy scarf is getting even crazier - see how it's shaping itself?  I guess that's due to the different weights/textures of the yarn.  Definitely a one-of-a-kind scarf, that's for sure!

I'm also working on another windmill bag, and a sweater - and in case you're wondering, my hands are a little achy and I have a tender spot on my index finger...knitting injuries?  Who knew!?!

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OK, this is cool...my friends Terry and John happened to be out on their boat at the exact time that the space shuttle replica was being transported to the Johnson Space Center - look at the awesome shot they got:
   Now that's not something you see everyday!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Wednesday Workout Update

First up, May stats:  I ran 41.5 miles for the month!  A small increase from last month, which is just fine with me because I'm really, really trying to take it easy and not overdo anything.  That said, I pretty much run pain-free (a little twinge of the ankle occasionally) but I am still walking like Lurch (Addam's Family...anybody remember that show?) a lot of the time.  I'm NOT getting old (Dad!), but I'm definitely not as spry as I used to be, and I don't understand how that happens as in my head, I'm still an 18-year-old!

My birthday run on Saturday was great fun - we started off with seven running club peeps and ended with eight - it felt like old times, with a group to start and finish with!  Like I mentioned in Monday's post, I'd planned on running 4.5 miles, but upped that to 4.9 for my 49th birthday.  The run went much better than last week, although about mile 1.25, when we turned into the fancy-schmancy subdivision, the combination of all the sprinklers putting extra humidity into the air along with zero breeze made for a hellishly hot mile, until we got to the back of the subdivision where the land is undeveloped - no houses, no sprinklers, and a breeze - what a relief!  I think we are going to do a different route next week - that area, while beautiful, is just too hot this time of year.

Oh - one nice thing about the back of the subdivision is the wildlife - as we were running, I remembered how I used to see lots of deer back when I was training for my first half marathon, and I swear, just as I thought of that, two deer crossed the road just ahead of us!  Cool!  About 30 seconds later, a third deer came blasting out, trying to catch up to his friends...obviously he was lollygagging and didn't see them leave.

Jeff and I got to the park, where most of our group was waiting for us - as we got closer, Jeff called out to them that we were going to run to 4.9 (which was another four-tenths of a mile)...Kim and Carrie jumped back in to run behind me, chanting "Go Shelley, it's your birthday, go Shelley!" - which made me laugh and put a big smile on my face - thanks, ladies!

We had a good time afterward, standing around, eating the watermelon that we'd brought, rehashing races and discussing which halfs to run in the future.  I still think it's hilarious that I, who spent so many years overweight and sedentary, would be so excited to wake up EARLY on my birthday, go for a long run, and then commit to more running!  Crazy and wonderful and I wouldn't have it any other way!
  Deshonda, Carrie, me, Will, Kim (missing are Mike and John, who left before pictures)...and in runner humor, Will posted on my Facebook wall that I don't look a day over 4.5, ha!
Laughing and having a good time!
 
Slow and steady - right now, I'm just going for distance...speed will catch up eventually.

With Jeff, Jenny and Julia out of town this week, I begged Erica to step in and run with me both Tuesday and Thursday - while she's not ready to get back into running like she was, luckily she was willing - thanks, Erica!  We ran 2 miles yesterday and will do another 2 on Thursday - nice, relaxing runs that make me feel like I could go on for miles...I'm sure the sweet company has a lot to do with it, too.
 Nothing like getting your sweat on with a good friend!


**If you missed it, go HERE for my review/giveaway of CalNaturale Svelte protein drink - winner will be posted on Friday!**

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

CalNaturale Svelte Protein Shake Review and Giveaway!

You all know that I've been hooked on Athlete's Honey Milk...excuse me, Core Power (and yes, I'm still rolling my eyes at the name change) for quite a while now, and was dismayed when they decided to discontinue their Coffee Light flavor, so I jumped at the chance to try out CalNaturale Svelte's protein drinks, especially when I saw that one of their flavors was cappuccino...could this be the replacement I've been looking for?
 
Well, yes and no.  It's not the same, but it is good.  Just a little sweeter than I'd like, but then, I don't *do* a lot of super-sweet drinks.  I think maybe it's the stevia that makes it a little too sweet for me; I was tempted to "cut" the drink with some skim milk, if that makes sense.  Also, the main ingredient is organic soy milk, so if you have to watch soy intake due to certain health issues, then this wouldn't be the protein drink for you...I don't have an issue with soy, so it was fine for me.

What I liked about the Svelte protein drinks:
  • they are rich and creamy;
  • for a protein drink, they do not have that "protein-y" taste that a lot of other brands do;
  • the large size and reclosable cap, which makes it easy to drink half and store the remainder in the fridge;
  • the packaging - it's bright and cheery, and who wouldn't like a nice affirmation like they've printed on the front of the bottle?
What I'm not so fond of:
  • the large size - if I wanted to bring this with me to drink after a workout and didn't have access to a fridge, I'd have to toss what I didn't finish;
  • the reason I might not drink the entire 15.9 oz container is because of the calorie count - 260.  That's quite a bit, and way more than the 150 calories I used to get from the other protein drink - of course, that container was only 11.5 oz.
  • not as much protein bang for the calories as I'd like - these come in at 16g per container, while the other was 20g per bottle.
  • a little too sweet for my taste.
I was surprised that out of all the flavors - chocolate, french vanilla, cappuccino and spiced chai, the one I liked the best was the spiced chai...and I don't drink chai tea or lattes, either.  But it was really good, and my assistant taster (Jeff) also liked that one the best - who knew?

Would I buy these if I found them in my local store?  Yes, but only to split with Jeff, say, after a long run.  I'm too stingy with my calories, otherwise.  Thanks to the kind folks at CalNaturale Svelte, one lucky reader will get the opportunity to try a sample pack of their protein drinks - all you have to do is leave me a comment telling me which flavor you'd like to try - although the winner will receive all four flavors.  This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents (although the product is not yet available in Canada, you can order it from their website).  I'll let random.org draw a winner and announce it in Friday's Mishmash - good luck!

FCC alert!  I was given a sample pack of four flavors of Svelte protein drink to sample; review is all my own opinion.  CalNaturale Svelte will provide giveaway winner with a sample pack.

Monday, June 4, 2012

49! Or, One More Year Until I Need to Change My Blog Sub-Header!

First, let me thank you for all the nice birthday wishes on Friday's post - between that and Facebook, I felt very spoiled!  Which was especially nice since our cell phone carrier (Sprint) went down on Friday, stayed down over the weekend, and I didn't get to actually talk to my kids or my parents. ::shakes fist at Sprint::

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I started my 49th birthday with a bang on Saturday by going for a long run - but the planned 4.5 miles turned into 4.9 after Julia made that suggestion in the comments of Friday's post.  Great idea, right?  More on that run in the WWU, but here's a picture of me holding Jeff's Garmin (I'd paused mine when we hit a long stoplight just after mile 4 and apparently didn't get it restarted - argh!):
 4.9 on my 49th - love it!

After hanging around for a while, visiting and snacking on watermelon, Jeff and I headed out to Blue Baker for our traditional "after the long run" breakfast - with a twist:
A cinnamon twist, that is!  What can I say - it was my birthday and it looked good.  I was nice and split it with Jeff, though.

By the way?  Watermelon, coffee, coconut water, an egg bagel sammie and half a cinnamon twist?  Bit much...I'm just sayin'.

The rest of the day was relaxing - we had a nice dinner out planned, so I hoped I could hold out and not really have lunch, but around 1:00 I was starving.  So we zipped out for a little lunch and a lot of iced tea, and then I opened my presents - yay!  Jeff gave me some cool packing cubes for travel (my mom and Sam have these and love them), and my parents gave me jewelry - a gorgeous necklace AND some beautiful aquamarine earrings!  Plus a nice check, which will be great mad money for when I go to California next month.
 
 Suitcase organization and nicely folded shirts, here I come!
Pretty earrings, pretty necklace - love them!

Oh, and this card that my parents sent just cracked me up:
(I wonder if it's easier to fix your mistakes in Wii Knitting?)

Jeff and I got dressed up and went out to a nice dinner - I was so excited to be able to finally wear these shoes, as I couldn't wear them at all last year because my ankle hurt with any kind of heel:
Along with the thrill of wearing the platform wedges came the additional fun of being tall...I swear, it's a totally different world, going from 5'1" to about 5'4"!

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You know, some people might feel apprehensive about getting so close to the age of 50, but not me.  I made some major life changes in my forties - not ready to go into details on one, but age 40 held a significant change, and then another at age 45, when I started my last diet.  It's been a pretty amazing decade, and I just want to put it out there that it's never too late to make some positive changes in your life.  Quite honestly, on my 40th birthday, I was not a happy person...about six months later, I took a chance on making a change, and while it wasn't easy, it was absolutely worth every tear, every bit of angst, all the money, and all the daily challenges...which later on made losing over 100 pounds not seem quite as difficult.  For my last year of this fabulous decade, I plan on enjoying the benefits of all the work I put into these major changes - taking the time to appreciate everything that I can do now, and having a blast along the way!