Minneapolis Halloween 10k Recap

Spoiler: Sometimes things turn out better than you expect.

I’d signed up for the Minneapolis Halloween 10k for one purpose: to get a documented proof-of-finishing time that *might* get me more favorable placement for the “real” goal races I was planning for early 2020.

November 2nd is the last day to submit a proof of time, so racing on October 26th was pushing the envelope a bit.

Especially since it already snowed last weekend in Minneapolis.

My plan was simple: Finish.

Treat the race more or less like a regular weekend run, except with more people.

I was relieved when the forecast suggested low 40s but no precipitation at the start.

It’s the small things, People.

The reality: 41 degrees F. Sunny. Crisp.

Considering that my comfort zone is a limited 71-73 F, my teeth were chattering at the start.

I bought a coffee solely to warm my hands.

Ok, I had a few sips.

The race began.

The start of the race was pretty loose, meaning that there were no corrals and you could step off the curb and cross the timing mat at any point. All 5k, 10k and half-marathon runners started together.

I was fine with that.

Many, many faster people passed me in the first miles. This was not surprising since I started the race fairly early.

Their energy propelled me.

I’d concocted a killer playlist the night before and figured that I would divide the race into 15 songs, 5 for each third.

The race signage was limited, but after 5 songs I thought I would be about 2 miles in.

Turns out it was 3.

I kept running.

Then I noticed a sign that said 4 miles. I checked my watch for the first time.

It said 34 minutes.

This just got interesting.

All I had to do was stay upright and I could finish in under an hour, which would potentially put me in a very favorable position for my 2020 races.

I stayed upright.

Final tally: 147th place. 68th woman. 8th in my age group.

Great start to the day.

#running

#doctormomlife

#doctormom

#happiness

#minneapolishalloween10k

#running

#Minneapolis

Vegas, Baby – 2017

Last month my dear friends J., B. and I ran the 2017 Rock n’Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas.

This was my second year running in this series. The half marathon is really novel since the Las Vegas Strip gets shut down for the runners, and it’s run at night. We were planning to run two races over the course of the weekend, a 5k on Saturday and half marathon on Sunday.

We arrived Friday and checked into the Bellagio. The floral displays featured peacocks.

Housekeeping obliged by giving us extra amenities. There is something about the smell of these toiletries that I love. Ditto the floral displays, especially the fall-ish scent that must be pumped in.

Most of these tiny tubes came home in my suitcase.

Friday night featured a runners’ reception at Hyde, which is one of the clubs in the Bellagio. It’s eye level with the fountains and part of the club is open air, so the view is unbeatable. The top picture is one of the many displays that we saw. I never get sick of watching those fountains.

On Saturday morning, we hit up Giada for brunch. This was one of our favorite restaurants from prior trips, and it did not disappoint. I got my money’s worth of bottomless mimosas and we all went nuts for the fresh burrata, blue cheese and olives that we had as appetizers.

Saturday afternoon consisted of picking up our race packets at the expo, a bit of shopping and getting ready for Saturday night’s race, which is a 5k that takes place near the SLS Hotel. Security was tighter this year than last, but the race went smoothly. There was a Goo Goo Dolls concert afterwards that we could have stayed to watch, but none of us were really in the mood to stand around in the cold night air while sweaty.

Plus – we had 10 PM tickets to Absinthe, a funky circus-type show that combines feats of strength, burlesque, insult comedy, tap dancing and roller skating. We’d seen the show once before but decided it was worth a second trip since the first time was so wow-ing, and we also wanted to see if the political jokes sprinkled throughout by the MC were Trump-esque. Many were. The show did not disappoint the second time around, and we all agreed it was as good or better than ever.

The show finished so late that most restaurants were no longer serving dinner, which was a bummer since we were now all pretty hungry. We ended up in an Asian noodle bar in the Bellagio, which hit the spot.

One thing that was unusual for me on this trip was that I gambled. This was the first time I’d gambled in a few years, and once again I learned that while I love to spend money, I like to have something to show for it. Gambling doesn’t fit that bill. Nevertheless, I gave it a shot and put $20 into a National Lampoon’s Vacation slot machine. I promptly lost $1.10 and cashed out.

The next day, a Betty White machine caught my eye and I tried again. This time, success! I turned $20 into $22.65, so I called myself a winner and walked away.

Full disclosure: My friend B. and I stumbled upon the 10 cent voucher at the top, so I technically can’t count this as a money I won. Still, I made up for my $1.10 loss the day before and then some. I’m not quitting my day job yet, though.

Sunday’s brunch was at Bardot Brasserie, a restaurant in the Aria Resort. Given that the half marathon was scheduled for a few hours after brunch ended, I didn’t make the same mistake I did last year when I went whole hog at the Bellagio’s buffet.

We did, however, spend $5 to buy a small serving (large pat?) of what was described on the menu as “The World’s Best Butter.”

Carb loading at its finest.

Sunday’s race had a new starting line this year due to the recent mass shooting. I have to admit I was nervous at the start, when approximately 40,000 runners were corralled into a small area. The security was tight and police presence was everywhere. My predominant thought was that this was one of the first major events since the shooting and the need to get it right was strong, so I felt that every reasonable measure had (probably) been taken by the Las Vegas PD. I also knew that once the race started, everyone would be stretched out along the course so much that the crowd would no longer be concentrated.

Another thing about this race: I was totally, completely under-trained. This is embarrassing to admit, but I had some serious magical thinking leading up to the race and I couldn’t seem to do what I needed to do to prepare. The longest run that I had done in the two months before the race was about 7 miles, which is a far cry from 13.1.

As I stood at the starting line, I told myself that I would divide the race into thirds and run the first third, run/walk the second and walk the final third if needed. I wasn’t exactly happy that I needed to make this plan, but that’s where I found myself.

Once I started, it took more than the first mile to settle in to a comfortable rhythm. That worried me. I thought I might not even be able to continuously run the first 4 miles, but once I completed miles 2 and 3, I started to get into the groove.

Mile 4 then passed and I told myself that I would go to mile 5 and then take a running gel for some energy. That milestone came pretty quickly and about that time I settled into a pack of runners for the next mile or so, and I decided that I would go to mile 6.5 so that I could say I ran halfway.

At mile 6.5, I felt really good so I kept going through miles 7, 8 and 9. Shortly after mile 10, I felt like I was not going to be able to run all the way to the end, so I took a walk break and picked up running again. I alternated running and walking for the last 3 miles and finished the course with one of my worst half marathon times, but an overall sense that I did waaaaaaay better than I thought I would.

Weirdly, it was motivating to see how well I’d done under sub-par circumstances and it inspired me to set a new goal and train appropriately for it. This was the best case scenario; if the race had been a disaster I think I would have been completely defeated.

By the time the three of us had finished the race and showered, it was already 10 PM and we were hungry. We had dinner at Yellowtail, which is a sushi restaurant in the Bellagio. B. called it an early night since she had a flight an the ungodly hour of 7 AM. J. and I finished dinner and then had a nightcap (or two).

Monday was our scheduled day of departure, but not before J. and I hit the Bellagio spa. For a hotel spa, it’s really good. My only quibbles would be that they tend to try to upcharge with service add-ons and there is a communal waiting area for men and women. While I’m a first order feminist and all about equality, there is something about seeing a hairy guy in a too-short robe that just does not jive with the Zen spa vibe. Give me a women’s only area any day.

The trip home was uneventful. Too boring to write much else about it.

Overall, this was a perfect getaway with friends. I can’t wait to go back next year and hopefully set a PR on the course.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First Snow of the Year

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It snowed last Friday.

I’m not sure why it always takes me by surprise, but winter’s on its way.

I’d planned to go for a medium-ish long run that morning but after peeking out the window, I reconsidered that decision.

Coffee seemed appealing.

Howling winds and blowing snow did not.

I surprised myself by going, particularly since my comfort zone is approximately 71-73 degrees Fahrenheit (Spouse corrected me when I told him this, saying it’s not a zone when it’s really more of a singular point, specifically 72 degrees F).

Not every moment of this run was pleasant, but I ticked past one, two and then three miles. Four and five came next, and by mile six I had turned a corner into a tailwind that took me the last half mile home.

As part of my running group, Fellow Flowers, I had planned to use this run to complete a virtual challenge called the Joy Run.

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Mission accomplished.

 

 

Tucker Dress Inspiration

Did you see this photo last week?

The title from Mashable says it all:

Insane wildfire photo perfectly sums up America in 2017

Golfing at the country club while the forest burns behind you. Yep.

And this is exactly how I felt about myself yesterday as I sat on the sofa shoveling ice cream into my mouth while remotely tracking two of my friends who were competing in the Ironman Wisconsin.

She just completed mile 62 of the bike portion? Wow! Slurp. Slurp.

Her half marathon time is better than mine, even after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112. Wow! She’s so amazing! Slurp. Slurp.

I was so impressed that two of my friends had done the work required for an Ironman and were now fearlessly competing. That was awesome. 

The correct thing to do here would have been to become insanely motivated and head out for a sweat session of my own, running in solidarity, but I did none of that.

I stayed on the couch.

Argh.

Earlier this year, I set a personal goal to train for and set a PR in a fall marathon. I had my sights set on the Twin Cities Marathon (October 8th), with the secret dream to stay in good enough shape to consider tacking on the 25th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Marathon in January. These are both races I’ve done before and love.

Through the end of July, I kept up with my training fairly well. At that point I was commuting up to three hours a day, but I still found time to get in the weeknight runs as well as the longer ones on the weekends. In the week before we moved, I completed a 15 miler. It wasn’t pretty, but I did it.

And then came the move.

The first week, I missed three training runs during the weekdays but was able to complete my longer run (13.1 miles, it was a drop-back week) on Saturday.

The second week, I missed the weekday runs and the long run. I started to panic. I didn’t know routes, directions or water stops in my new neighborhood. I doubted the safety of running alone. It was hot.

I fell apart.

I made the lame excuse-ridden decision that this was not my year, and called it quits on the marathon plans, but I really let myself down.

Compounding that is the fact that while I changed my exercise patterns, I sure as heck didn’t change my eating. Frankly, the move has opened up a Pandora’s Box of great new restaurants to try in person or via delivery. There is even a liquor store that delivers through Amazon Prime’s two hour service to my house, which just sounds like the most dangerous thing ever. (I haven’t sunk quite that far).

Which brings me to the title of this post: Tucker Dress Inspiration.

Tucker is a NYC-based company that makes feminine, pretty clothes.

They are also very expensive.

While I love to spend money, it is hard even for me to justify buying a blouse that is almost $300.

Except – I have a work conference coming up next month, and the combination of my lifestyle factors (M&Ms, I’m looking at you) and job switch (moving from all suits/all the time to more business casual or even – yikes! – scrubs) has left me with limited wardrobe options.

And of course I want to look good.

These dresses from Tucker caught my eye:

The top one is called The Market Dress in Black Tire Track.

It’s silk and retails for $375.

The bottom is a fun Russian Dolls print.

The style is called “Abigail’s Party Dress” and it retails for $355. Tucker’s website styled it well for fall with black tights and boots. It looks adorable.

The real kicker? Both of these look like they *may* be forgiving of my recent indulgences.

I might have to find out.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day Off

I had an unexpected day off yesterday, which was absolutely fabulous. 

I’ve been doing much more driving back and forth between my current home and new(-ish) job, which is easily a three hour plus commute most days.

[Side note: If you want podcast recommendations, give me a shout! I’ve listened to a lot.]

Even one day without the drive was simply heaven.

The end is in sight: we rented a place that is less than two miles from my primary office and can move in mid-July. I kept the commute up until school let out (two weeks ago; our kids went very late). Given that our house still hasn’t sold, we also haven’t been in a rush to move, nor been in a position to buy another place.

The in between is killing me, though. Three hours per day of driving also gives you waaaaay too much time in your head to worry about your un-sold house, perseverate on patient situations, ruminate on family problems, pine for vacations untaken and generally feel trapped within your own life as you slowly crawl through endless stretches of road construction.

So that’s going on.

Which leads me to yesterday.

I woke up and remembered I did not have to work. Felt happy. Made coffee. I told our nanny not to come until 10 AM, and then I went for a 10 mile run once she arrived.

This was sorely needed. 

Up until a few months ago, I ran at least one 10 mile+ run every week and have done so for years. Usually, I’ve got a race on the calendar to train for, making those long runs a necessity. In May, though, I made the tough decision to skip the 2017 RunDisney Tinkerbell Half-Marathon and with that, I suddenly didn’t have a reason to cover those distances.

Yesterday went better than I expected and I felt great. This gives me hope for a fall marathon, and even possibly doing an early 2018 one.

The rest of the day was full of leisurely errands, like a Trader Joe’s run (perfectly ripe nectarines, avocados, baked ranch chickpeas and two kinds of cheese), getting shorts on sale for my son (who’s now 10! Sigh), and finishing up the packing list for Trixie’s upcoming three week stint at Camp Ogichi-Kaa-Dwe.

I also prepped for dinner: Home Chef’s Grilled Honey Mustard Steelhead Trout with Fresh Tomato Relish. 

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This pan is only for grilling. I know, it looks gross.

And I went through my new Evereve haul.

Last weekend I was at my friend P’s house and she received a Trendsend box. If you’re not familiar with this, it’s basically Evereve’s version of Stitch Fix.

Unfortunately, the person who loved almost everything in her box was me, not her.

This blouse was the first item she pulled out of the box and it had my name all over it:

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This is a silky Lovestitch top with fluttery short sleeves and a soft blue floral print on a blush background. I snapped this pic right in her kitchen so I could get my own, which is why the photography is worse than usual. (Note: I couldn’t find this on the site for Lovestitch nor on Evereve.com, but I was able to locate it in store).

Trendsend paired the blouse with this Braeve (housebrand at Evereve) open cardigan.

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The color didn’t translate well in the photo, but it’s a denim blue and looks great with the blouse.

P. wasn’t feeling either of those items, but I was falling hard. I would have bought them directly from her, but the sizes were off. There are about 4 inches and 40 pounds that separate us, with 5’9″ me on the big end of that equation, so a simple swap wasn’t in order.

Another item in the box was a ruffle sleeve striped black and white top from Peyton Jensen. This may also be an Evereve housebrand? I can’t tell, but I’ve only seen it there.

P. also wasn’t digging this top, but I loved it.

She also received a printed skirt, sleeveless black top and a cute fringed dress. These were more up her alley than mine.

On Tuesday afternoon I had a bit of time to kill between work and a haircut, so I went to Evereve (less than a mile from our rental house. Danger! Danger!) to do some sourcing.

One sales associate saw me hunting and asked what I was looking for. She knew the printed blouse immediately and brought it to me. She had an armful of clothes to return to the racks and the denim colored open cardigan was magically in the pile, so I snagged it to try on. Both were winners. Sold, although in the end I decided to get a different size in the blouse (L, not M) to make it more flowy and they have to send it to me).

The salesperson also brought a pair of navy Level 99 cargo-ish pants and I was pleasantly surprised by the fit. Mine. I also spied the perfect long oatmeal cardigan.

They had the striped ruffle sleeve top in my size (M), but in the end, I liked it better in a blush pink color.

Here’s the haul, minus the blouse:

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A closer look at the ruffle sleeve detail on the top:

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I would describe the fabric as a soft sweatshirt material. It is extremely comfortable.

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Like everyone else in Summer 2017, I am all about blush pink.

The long cardigan, in a perfect oatmeal color:

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I’m super happy with Evereve right now.

While every day can’t be an unexpected day off, yesterday was pretty darn awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Orangetheory Fitness and Me

I recently started attending classes at Orangetheory Fitness.

Here’s a description of the workout from the Orangetheory website:

Our heart-rate monitored, high-intensity workout is scientifically designed to keep heart rates in a target zone that spikes metabolism and increases energy.

Here’s my take: This is a killer workout that uses heart rate monitors to force you to your breaking point.

The ostensible goal is to get 12-20 minutes per workout in the “Orange Zone,” where you are working at 84-91% of your maximum heart rate.

Ok, this is really hard to do.

The hour-ish long workouts combine running (or walking) on a treadmill, rowing and calisthenic exercises, usually with hand held weights.

Participants spend about half of the workout on the treadmills and rowing machines, and the other half in the weight area. The cardio time consists of stints of working at Base Pace (which is what I would consider my normal running pace, maybe 6.3-6.5 MPH, or a 9:30-9:10 minute pace per mile), Push Pace (1-2 MPH over Base Pace), and All Out Intervals, where you just go nuts and run until you feel like your heart will explode.

Why I decided to try this:

  • I love running and have been working hard for the past six months or so to get faster. Speed work – which the Orangetheory workouts naturally include – are a necessary pain to achieve that goal.
  • I secretly have always wanted to be a rower. Spouse was on the crew team in college and later taught me to row. I regret not trying it earlier, especially in college because I think I would have been pretty damn good at it.
  • While I love to do cardio, I hate to lift weights. Without the pressure of a personal trainer or a group, I just won’t do it. And I know weight lifting is important to overall conditioning.

Here’s a dirty secret about Orangetheory: if you’re already in good cardiovascular shape when you join, it’s going to be really, really challenging to get 12-20 minutes in the magic Orange Zone during the class.

For me, getting to the Orange Zone requires running on the treadmill at a speed of at least 7.5-8 MPH, which is waaaaaaay faster than my normal pace.

And it is super uncomfortable to do so.

On the flip side, if you’re not in good cardiovascular shape, you could easily get to the Orange Zone just by briskly walking on the treadmill at a modest incline.

I routinely see people get 20+ minutes in the Orange Zone, whereas it is a struggle for me to reach 12. This is humbling. It is hard for me to wrap my brain around the fact that while I am working extremely hard, I need to work harder. Part of me always wants to throw in the towel and feel Good Enough with what I’m doing, which is often a lot more treadmill work than the person next to me.

But I guess that’s the whole point of Orangetheory. Push. Push. Push.

Yesterday was particularly humbling: I went to a class and got zero Orange Zone minutes.

My heart rate monitor read a steady 112 BPM even when I was running 8 MPH at a 5% incline.

Something was not right.

At the end of the class, I approached the (very fit) front desk worker and said that my heart rate monitor did not seem to be working. He asked me to show him how I was wearing it, which prompted lifting my shirt and providing an embarrassing display of my abdomen to the entire studio.

Turns out, I was wearing the heart rate monitor upside down, and it will definitely not work properly that way. Whoops.

Big sigh for my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Declare It Day 2017

Declare It Day 2017 is in the books!

Knock on wood, my running’s been going well lately and I’ve been kicking around the idea of a fall marathon, most likely the Twin Cities Medtronic Marathon given that the course is  going to be (practically) in our new neighborhood and it’s a course I’ve run four times already.

This will also be my tenth marathon, which seems like a cool milestone.

Putting something out there for everyone to see has usually been an effective motivator for me in the past, so here’s my Declare It Day goal for 2017:

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And yes, I want to go for a PR!