Sperly’s first GIVEAWAY..!!

Aright kiddos.. here we go!

This is my first ever giveaway.. and while it might seem like everybody and their mom is having a giveaway right now, one more definitely can’t hurt! I intended to do a giveaway on my 100th post (mmm yeah, that says something about my posting frequency) but that day came and went, and here I am, a giveaway virgin. I am really excited though – I constantly see incoming links to my blog that I don’t know, and it makes me really happy to think I’m getting new readers! I hope this opens up my blog to a larger community, as well as showing ME some sweet blogs that I have yet to discover!!

So what are we playin’ for?

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Healthy Cooking mag – it’s not just for the Britains
Organic food coupons and raisins not bitten
Agave Nectar – like liquid gold with wings
These are a few of my favorite things…

(OK tell me you guys are picking up on this song and I don’t just sound like an idiot…)

Advice from the Mayo on choosing your noodles,
Plus “Disease Fighting Foods” – the whole kit n caboodle
Goodies from Quaker – a key chain on a ring
Plus a pen and you have some of my favorite things…!

WOW….

that was a stretch. Please excuse the lameness.

Contents of the giveaway:

  • The last issue of Healthy Cooking magazine – I browsed through it – lots of fall pumpkin infused goodies!
  • 4 $1.00 off coupons for any Cascadian Farm product. I recommend either cereal or frozen b.nut squash!
  • 4 booklets of coupons for lots of good organic goodies… yogurt, cereal, soup, natural cleaning products, etc.
  • Mentos!! Haha I love em. They’re not breath mints.. they’re movie candy. Clearly.
  • To-go packets of organic agave nectar. Seeing as how this is apparently a popular thing among bloggers…
  • Two booklets from the Mayo Clinic on healthy eating out, and some super disease fighting foods
  • Some little goodies I got from Quaker for all you oatmeal fanatics – a pen and a key chain ๐Ÿ™‚
  • A bigazz bag of dark chocolate Raisinettes!! Soooo good.

Alright, so the majority of these are not necessarily “favorite things,” (except the Raisinettes and Mentos) but they are definitely all good stuff. And the COUPONS! Alright let me tell you a story my friends. I ventured to the land of the Food Hole (otherwise known as Whole Paycheck) with several coupons. Rare is the occasion that you will find me there, unless I am accompanied by a generous credit card other than my own. Come to think of it, I think about 90% of the times I have been in that store have been just for lunch off of the salad bar, not actual grocery shopping of my own. That place is such a trap – the had SO MANY good things! Brands and producs that I had never even seen or heard of before! You will be seeing something related in a future post. ANYWAYS, the point of this story – with my coupons in hand and a wee bit of restraint, I got to the checkout counter and saved $15. That’s nothing compared to what I’ve done at Target before ($41!!), but that was $15 off of a $35 total!! That’s aย 42% savings!! You too can save %42 my friends. All you have to do issss….

Rules to enter:

Each one of these steps counts as a separate entry – upping your chances of winning!

  1. Submit a photo of your favorite food/snack/drink/meal/whathaveyou that makes you think FALL!!! You have to SEND the photo to me ( RunDogMpls at gmail dot com ) and before I (randomly) select the winner, I’ll have a photo post of all of your favorite fantastic fall favorites!! (How’s that for alliteration?) Since the winner is picked based off of the number of your comment, leave a comment saying what it was you sent a picture of. This is NOT OPTIONAL.. to enter the giveaway you need to send a picture!
  2. Follow me on Twitter, and post a comment saying you did so. My Twitter screen name is SperlyTriRunner.
  3. Leave a comment with a recipe for your favorite fall [blank] that you sent me a photo for. If you have a blog and you’ve already posted about it.. you can just leave a comment with the link to your post.
  4. Post about my giveaway on YOUR blog including a link to this page, and then leave a comment with the link to your post!

Alright so #1 is mandatory – everyone get that? If I draw your number and you haven’t sent in a photo, I gotta pick someone else. Capiche?

So you have FOUR chances to enter. I don’t like even numbers.. but I can’t think of one more thing that would be a good entry. Just a side note – there are a couple things being added into the loot bag, but I already took the picture, so those are just gonna increase the suspense! I know already that there is a larger item that has been added in to the winnings, and also a little item that I threw in this morning. If I get stuff between now and when I pick the winner there might be more! And so when I pick the winner – you have between right now and Saturday October 24th at midnight to make your submissions. I will draw on Sunday, and then that week I will be posting all of your lovely photos! If you sent link to the recipe for the photo that you submitted (hahah that worried the cat that killed the rat that ate the malt that lay in the house that Jack built) and you don’t mind me SHARING that recipe, I’ll also include the link for that!

I’m playing by the rules here (but no, I won’t be sending off this package to myself). Here is my submission for a favorite snack that instantly says leaves are a changin’, pumpkin pie is in the oven.. it’s falllll baby!

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Ingredients:
– One serving of Caramel corn
– Those burntdelicous tasting caramel coated peanuts (think Cracker Jacks) that come with the caramel corn
–ย A crappy paper prize A big ol handful of candy corn.

Yummmm!

OK.. I think this post has taken me close to an hour to write. Hence why I don’t post so often. What do you all do to make it easier? Wait.. don’t answer that.. at least not on this post. That doesn’t count as an entry to the giveaway! Listo muchachos? Ready… set… GO!

E Sperly – signin off from the coffee shop. Byeeee

Photo 23 copy

St. Croix Valley Triathlon Race Report!

Goooood lord. It is only like 3:45 and I swear it feels like 8:00! It’s not that I really feel tired, but it has definitely been a long day! Here we go.. start to finish! The St. Croix Valley Triathon:

I decided not to go out to Hudson last night. For some reason I had in my mind that it took like an hour and a half to get there.. but then I put it in googleMaps and it said it only took 40 minutes. So I nixed the plans with my mom’s friend (where I was planning on staying overnight) and decided I’d just drive out in the morning. It was a early morning! I haven’t seen 4:30am in a looong time. But it was well worth it – my mom’s friend has a dog, and I have allergies, and that wouldn’t have been a good idea the night before a race!

So I was out the door by 5:15, stopped for coffee (I had my coffee pot all set up to brew this morning.. but I set it for 5PM instead of 5am! doh!!) and was on my way! It was pitch black when I left, but I got to watch the sun rise as I was driving east to Hudson! SO PRETTY! Hhaha annnnd.. I swear the only people out on the roads at that time were people going to the tri! Every ย car I saw had a racing bike on the back or a TriHarder bumper sticker… it made me smile every time!

ย Got there, got my transition area all set up, got my packet, my “small” shirt (which goes down to my knees… who makes these!?) and got tatted…

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and then had a while to wait for the start. I was nervous because my feet and hands were COLD. I’ve always had bad circulation.. but i was thinking if they’re cold now and I haven’t even touched the water yet.. then I’m in trouble! The water even lookedย cold!

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The race started at 7:30, but since I was in wave 5 (women 29 and under) I didn’t start until like 7:45. There were some competitive looking girls out there.. but at this race they didn’t mark your age on your calf like they usually do, so I couldn’t tell who I was up against! Maybe a good thing…ย 

The gun went off and so did we. The water was actually not badย – I think it was probably about 70ยฐ.. so the water temperature was not the problem. Especially because I did this in more clothes than I did Green Lake… I was wearing a full length tri top and shorts. Little teeny shorts.. but shorts none the less. ๐Ÿ™‚ Honestly though.. I think I panicked a bit in the lake. Open water swimming is really different than swimming in a pool.. and the sighting thing just wasn’t working for me today. I had to breast stroke a bit in the beginning just to calm myself down, and by the time I reached the turn around bouey I was pretty much fine. It definitely slowed my swim time down though!

Thennnn the bike. I have two conflicting factors here when I try to compare to my last tri: 1. I was on a much better/faster bike. 2. I. was. FREEZING. I said the water temperature wasn’t a problem.. but the air temperature was. It was still too early for the sun to shine on the road, so the air temp was still like 55ยฐ. Take that, plus being soaking wet, plus going 22 mph = froze my ass off. Hahha I can’t wait to see the pictures from the professional photographer.. my face was like locked in one position that I’m sure was disgusting very attractive… I’ll have to wait and see.ย 

And then, my love – the run. This was a 4 mile run.. where as Green Lake was just a 5K. I actually like this run way better though. And finally my face and arms and core warmed up because the sun was finally peaking through! My legs from the knees down though were just numb.. it was ridiculous! But I knew they were still attached, and damnit, they had a job to do, so I got to it. I definitely started out slower than usual, but ended up picking it up a lot at the 2 mile turn around. My time out was 15:42 (!!! wtf) and coming back it was 13:44. All for a grand average pace of 7:21 (according to Gomer). Which for me.. is still ridiculously slow for a 4 mile run. But with frozen feet and being a newbie up and coming triathlete, I’ll take it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ My friend Cyndi is the only other person I knew up there… she is from the Splashers team I train with (hard core name.. no?) and she is a great athlete! She says she is not a runner.. but I told her that is the great amazing thing about individual sports. You can be whatever you want to be. You can improve, and it’s easy to forget that sometimes! I love this lady’s attitude. She is definitely kick ass and will help remind you that you are too!

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My total time was something along the lines of 1:20:xx… PickleEvents does the chip timing and they haven’t posted the results online yet. What I can say is that despite feeling like it wasn’t my best race.. it definitely wasn’t.. I took 2nd in my age group (and contradictory to my age-group-upgrade-fears, would have taken 2nd in the 20-25 devision too). I came home with an amazing medal engraved with St. Croix Valley Tri a .. stop watch? Mmm yep. Not kidding. Note to Race Director.. hopefully you’ll see this somehow – I LOVED your race. Everything. But a stop watch? Even Green Lake did medals.. they were just dog tags engraved but actually I like that the best! Then you can actually wearย it without looking like you’re trying to be a show off. I can promise you that I wont be wearing my St. Croix Valley stop watch out to dinner tonight. My mom actually said she needs one for school, so…. !!ย 

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The after celebration was nice – it was a Luau theme so they had leis and pineapple and what not.. but the main “event” for the food was pulled pork. I am not one of those PITA vegetarians, but I would have appreciated sommmme sort of meat-free option! I wasn’t kidding about the shirt being huge.. and I hate that because half the point of doing a race is to get free shirts.. and I like to be able to WEAR them! Here is me, trying to jump up on my couch before Photo Booth counts down…

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Please ignore the crazed look on my face.. and I promise. I am completely G rated in posting this.. there are shorts on under there! And Chad.. this is all for you buddy – theย shorts:

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I was actually looking for racing buns.. but no where keeps them in stock! They’re mostly for team orders.. so this was the closest I could get. And I LOVE them. And bought two pairs. ๐Ÿ™‚

I met my mom and some family friends at Dunn Bros on my way home. It was really nice to see them all.. and MAN was I ready for a cup of coffee!! That brings me to here.. all done with a triathlon before 9:30am and saying now what? for the rest of the day! I think I am meeting up with someone to buy the calc book I need for this year (craigslist – in case I go missing) (Kidding!! Sorta… =/ ) and then I think I am going to go spend the rest of the day helping my mom set up for our YARD SALE we are having in two weeks. So this my friends concludes my St Croix Valley Tri race report, and overall I’d say it was a success. If I’m in town, I’ll be back there next year!

I’m out!

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See you soon love bugs. Race on Monday.. school starts Tuesday! YIKES! Live it up while you can!

fan. freaking. tastic.

Not gonna lie.. today was like the most lazy amazing fantastic day I’ve had in a LONG TIME. It reminded me how thankful I am to be DONE with school!! A lot of my friends are still in school right now.. and my mom is still in school (she’s a teacher.. hi mom!! (she reads..)) so today was a solo adventure. Which was FINE with me because I didn’t really have a plan, and didn’t really want one! After the gym this morning.. it just sort of hit me: I could do ANYTHING I WANTED! So let me take you on an adventure ๐Ÿ˜€

After the gym I came home and showered. Then I decided I wanted to make a smoothie, but we were out of yogurt. SO I biked on over to Lund’s, and proceeded to buy enough to make my backpack as big as I was. It was rather precarious biking home.

Got home, made smoothie.. remembered I need to sell this iPod! (BTW, if any of YOU want to buy it.. you better lemme know asap!) So I made up a flier and biked on over to..

Dunn Bros to post it on their bulletin board! This is actually an old picture.. I didn’t have my camera with me. But I did get an iced soy chai that was pretty fanfreakingtastic. I also walked across the street to the Co-Op and put a flier up on their board too.

Then I went to the Library because I couldn’t bike with my chai.. so I needed to waste some time. I checked out the latest two issues of Runners World.. but not before having to pay an effing $34 fee for overdue items.. HALF OF WHICH WEREN’T EVEN MINE (cough*MOM*cough.. we’ll be talking). Went home, made up some food, put on tanning lotion/sunscreen.. and WENT TO THE BEACH!!

OK.. not the beach.. but I laid (layed? nope.. Hmm it still looks wrong though) out at the lake. Calhoun of course ๐Ÿ˜‰ And yikes.. not the most attractive picture, but LOOK AT THAT SUN! LOOK AT THE BLUE SKY!! Ahh-mazing.

Here’s my little sunny heaven: got the phone.. the literature.. the drinks.. and the music. Which I didn’t need or end up listening to because..

this chick brought the beats. Mmm actually she wasn’t that good. Like really.. not that good. But hey, can’t blame her for trying right?! Gotta practice somewhere! This is looking over towards the volleyball courts.. and it’s like my favorite place to lay out – between the courts and the beach! WHAT? Be amazed. Minnesota does have beaches.

This is looking the other direction (east?). There are always people here playing frisbee or football and whatnot. The guys in this picture were fine.. but like 5 minutes later 2 other guys came and thought they were a little too cool with all their big boy swear words. Seriously? Man.. I hope I act like that when I’m like 28.

This guy’s my favorite. I run this lake all the time.. but I’ve gotta say – I’ve never just decided to stop midrun and plop down in the sun and chill for like 20 minutes. I might have to try it some time..

And time to pack up and head home. I was sorta sad to leave, sorta thankful. It was actually NOT really bikini weather.. it was pretty damn windy and I was kinda cold. But I’m stubborn determined to work off my shorts/sportsbra tan. Its a constant struggle to get rid of those, since I run a lot more than I lay out in my swim suit. SWIM SUIT!! Ahh my ex boyfriend still has my swimsuit at his house! And nooo, don’t let your mind wander to the gutter. He has a hot tub. I had to shower. Everything was kept PG.

Well kiddos.. time to head off to RunClub. Afterwards, we’re all going to my work (Tin Fish!!) for drinks!! SOOO.. I hope everyone can find one day this week to just relax and enjoy. I’m definitely thinking there will be more of these days in my near future.

Next post.. FOUR DAYS TILL MED CITY!

7 toenails to go.

How gross is that? I can’t remember the last time I had all 10 toenails.. there are always a few that have gone black and fallen off, or are halfway grown back. Right now I have one that is just hanging on for dear life.. it’s completely black and I’m definitely feeling it after TODAY’S RACE ๐Ÿ˜€ I wish it would hurry up and fall off already!

So, here goes Erika’s Little Big Race Report:

I woke up at 6:20 with the sun, but then, remembering that I went to bed just six hours ago, I tried to get a little more sleep before I had to get going. Got back up at 7:04, did the usual contacts in/brush teeth/wash face thing, and checked the temp quick before getting dressed. 40 and sunny, light breeze, high of 60 by 3:00. PERFECT racing weather. Got the mug of coffee (very important) poured and breakfast going. I’m not usually a breakfast-before-run person, but racing is different than running, plus I knew it would be a while before I’d get a chance to have real food. I heated up about 6 Chik’n Nuggets.. which you might be like “WHAT? For breakfast?!” but seriously.. these are like my favorite pre-run fuel. They don’t really fit the carb/protein/fat ratio that’s supposedly “ideal“.. but I’ve been running for a long ass time and I just do what works for me.

My dad and I got to Minehaha Park by 8:15.. got my bib, met up with Bobby (see below pictures..) and his girlfriend, and we (Bobby, myself, and GOMER) headed out for a warm up. OK so keep in mind my total mileage for today was supposed to be around 12 as my last “long run” before Med City (NEXT SUNDAY!!).. so anyways did 1 mile easy with B and 1 more easy on my own.. made my last bathroom stop.. went back to grab my dad.. and then we headed up to the street where the starting line was. At that point it was 8:56 so we had good time.. until suddenly the damn horn went off! I whipped my sweatshirt off as my dad was like “Drop and Go Erika.. Drop and Go!!” and GO I did.. Here’s me coming in the last 100 meters.

Unfortunately I didn’t hit Gomer until like half a mile in. I thought I did, but guess not. And I apologize in advance if I come off as bragging, but I had way too much fun, so I’m gonna brag away.

I passed the 2nd leading woman at mile one, and the 1st woman at 1.5.. and after that I was right at home hangin in with the guys ๐Ÿ˜‰ Chatted with several people along the way, but after 3.5 I was on my own for the rest of the race. That’s one crappy thing about small races – if you’re not with a pack, there’s no one there to compete with (outta sight, outta mind), do you really are responsible for pushing yourself. I passed one last person with about .75 to go, and came in strong at 44:00 even. Unfortunately, I had too much left at the end, but that’s what happens when you’re not used to racing that distance.

This picture would have been SO GREAT if it was like a quarter of a second earlier! The finish line was about 25 feet ahead of me.

Me and Mr. Bobby. I was the first woman finisher, and 6th overall. Bobby was 4th!! And for finishing first, I won an iPod!

A tried and true TURC pose. (TURC stands for The University Running Club.. I met Bobby on one of the first trail runs of the year.)

Here are my race freebies (that made it home, as opposed to in my mouth) The two shirts are basically the same – the red one shows what the back looks like.

Up close: two vanilla Boosts.. a Power Walker hat (sorry.. this will be donated. I’m not a walker).. my iPod (not donated.. but I’m selling this one. I don’t really want/have a need for an iPod).. a big delicious apple.. a whole foods granola bar.. and a target knockoff of a Zone bar (strawberry yogurt flavored).

Overall, the race was really fun – fun being my key word because by no means is it a PR for me for 6.2 miles, but since it was so small I got to enjoy being the first female finisher. After I collected all my freebies, I sent them off with my dad, and he drove down to Dunn Bros where I was going to meet him. I got in 5 more miles easy, and ended my run at the coffee shop! It worked out perfectly!

After Dunn Bros, my dad and I decided to stop at the Farmers Market before he dropped me off at my mom’s.. but those pictures are for a different post ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m headed off to work right now, and I’ll be there till close.. so hopefully it’ll be super busy since it’s so nice out! It’s a little cool.. but not too bad. Hope everyone has a LOVELY Sunday! (my absolute favorite day of the week btw!)

8 servings? psh..

Fear not my blogging buddies – I’m still alive! But HOLEY SMOKES! It’s been a busy day! Let me start with the run..

So yep – 18 miles indeed. The rest of the group did 16, but since I’m running Med City too (which is one month earlier than Grandma’s) I should be at 18 by now. For those that didn’t/don’t know, I’m running Grandma’s Marathon (June 21st), and Med City Marathon (May 25th). Med City is sort of just for kicks.. and the crowd is no where near as great as at G-ma’s.. but I’m still looking forward to it. Except for the whole first half is hills.. that I could do without!

The route we did today is one I never want to do again. Seriously. Running the lakes, you can do 18 miles in no time, and you’re like – What? I’m done? This route was on paths that are meant for bikers for the most part + it was early + cold = pretty damn secluded. I love solidarity at times, but on an 18 miler I want people! ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh. And there were NO bathroom stops along pretty much the whole thing. I can go to the bathroom three times before I leave, but my bladder cares about [—] this much. I still have to go. That picture (above) is The Depot coffee shop ~mile 7 that saved my bladder life. Good thing I stopped because that was my last chance till ~15.

One thing I need to work on is hydration while running + my sports bean/gu/supplement usage. I’ve done about a bajillion halfs, and I don’t use anything for those, but a marathon is a different story, and I know I should be drinking gatorade and doing energy replacement during the run. I’ve long ago found that Gu and I are not friends. Sports beans are OK.. but I have trouble using them because it’s just something you should do vs. something you need to do. Does anyone else run into this problem? Any advice?

Anywho, enough about that. I finally bought a lunch bag! And you’ll probably look at this thinking – Sperly! That’s a purse! But dangit I DON’T CARE because it suits my needs and I love it and it’s what I want ๐Ÿ˜€ I gotta shorten the strap, and then I’m good to go.

So post long run, my mom and I drove around Minneapolis for FOUR hours (and bless my mom’s heart for doing the driving!) for a field study I have to do for one of my classes. We still have four more hours of driving. And then I get to write a 12 page paper about it. Shoot me now. Sweet. First half of the semester we did St. Paul and it took ELEVEN hours. :O

Rest of the day I walked to Dunn Bros (above drink!)/worked/met my pops/stopped at co-op on walk home. Then I went to McDonalds with my madre ๐Ÿ˜€ Hah I feel so counter productive. Co-Op -> McDonalds. Whatever dog.. I’m a happy camper!

Just a little heads up, and I really hope this doesn’t come across as rude: If you leave me a question, and you’re like a name I’ve never seen before or you don’t have a link.. I’m much more apt to answer it if you say a little something about yourself. Even if it’s just like “hey! I’m a runner too. I was just wondering …” vs. like “do you ever rest”. I hate internet and texts because there is no tone of voice, so sometimes I take things personally when it should really just be a simple question. Again – really hope this doesn’t come off the wrong way! I really am a nice person! Just a little sensitive..

Haha I just consumed an entire 8 serving container of hummus while writing this post. (Not plain of course. With veggies!) How’d that happen? ๐Ÿ™‚ I clearly don’t write the title till the end!