Final days of the giveaway. Gym’n it. Boss..?

This is just gonna be a quickie (TWSS) but I needed to stop in and say

LAST DAY TO ENTER MY GIVEAWAY

so if you haven’t yet done it, step ya game up and send me a photo already! Yes folks, it is really that easy.

I also needed to say that I just bought 48 bags of popcorn for $1.89 because I love Costco and I also happen to love coupons and I’m a boss (warning – mucho profanity ahead with that one). Really though… I am.

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(excuse the blurries.. la madre doesn’t have practice taking photos on a cell phone)

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Whhoooo does that? I felt like I was holding a child. A child stuffed with three types of meat, cheddar, swiss, and tomato slices. Beast. Or I guess I should say “Big. Overloaded. Sub. Sandwich.”

So basically, you really should go enter the giveaway. And then my friends, life will be complete. πŸ˜‰

Innn other news – so I told you about the bone growth stimulator. Well, turns out with insurance and the whole the 80/20 deal, my “20%” is $700. Somehow I don’t think that fits in my college budget. BUT!!! Silver lining here.. maybe. Hopefully! As an independent and a student, I qualify for financial assistance. So if everything works out (go find some wood – knock on it!!) then I wouldn’t have to pay anything out of pocket. I’m prayin!!

I may not be eating any BOSS sammies, but I definitely am still getting good solid training in, and the appetite is high, in true Sperly fashion. My mom and I made our mother-daughter-tradition venture over to Costco today to get some goodies. As mentioned above, BOSS Orville Redenbacher popcorn – my favorite!! – had a coupon in the biweekly Costco Coupon book. $4 off an already low price of $5.97, making my 48 bags of salty goodness only $1.97. Also included in the purchases were many a produce: broccoli slaw, tomatoes, asparagus, mushroooms, and sugar snap peas, as well as my staple of all staples: egggg beaters a la Kirkland. I really do love Costco.

Wait wasn’t I talking about training? Right. So Tuesday/Thursday/Saturday is SPIN on my schedule, and this morning SPIN I did. It is not running, but at least it makes me sweat and I feel like I’m working. NTM, my Thursday/Saturday instructor is also a BOSS (how convenient) and he makes it that much more appealing to go to class. He had a sub todayΒ (as in substitute teacher, not SUB sandwich. I’ve moved on), and she is ALSO really great. My list of I-Like-You-Spin-Instructors is short and selective, but these two are both on the top. If you’re ever venturing into the world of Lifetime Spinning.. lemme know and I’ll hook you up. πŸ˜‰

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I took this photo a long time ago, and have been meaning to post it, because really, I do love my gym. BOSS? Hahha yeah I think so. This is over the railing, going down into the world of cardio/weights. I especially love my gym when I’m injured, as in now. They have so many options, and so many classes! In place of our run workouts on my practice schedule, I have “RSC” – otherwise known as Running Simulating Cardio. My favorite machine isn’t included in that picture, and it’s definitely NOT running (I don’t count it as “x miles” or any of that b.s. business…) but it is good. Good indeed.

Alright kids, that’s about as much random goodness I have time for today. If I didn’t mention it before, I got a research position at school through my kinesiology department and am a co-investigator on an awesome study we are about to start! I have to finish my IRB training, which if you’ve had to do it before, is loooooong, tedious, and did I say long? Β I think I need to go pop some popcorn…

Love,
-E

magnificent Monday and POPCHIPS perspectives…

Not too late to enter Sperly’sFirstGiveaway!!

Go. Do. It. Now!

Helllooo blog buddies. Apparently I’m all about alliteration today… so sorry if it gets overkill! It’s only noon, so it may be a little too early to determine this Monday as “magnificent”.. but so far it’s off to a muy bueno beginning. πŸ˜‰ Here has been my day thus far:

  • 7:20 – wake up call
  • 8:10 – leave hose to catch bus to school
  • 9:00 – practice: 4,000 meter swim
  • 11:15 – ROCK my anatomy exam!!!!!

Clearly this last one is makin my day. The occipital protuberance.. serous fluid.. and synovial joints aint got nothin on me baby!! The test was on 11 chapters (half of our book!) so it was a lot of material. We were aloud to make a “cheat sheet” – 8×11, front and back, whatever you can fit on it.. mine sheet took me about five hours to make! I think I only used it for like three or four questions though.. it feels so good to go into a test actually excited about it because you’re PREPARED and your brain is so effing saturated that you know everything you can possibly know!

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Well now that I got that out…! Just a heads up, this is a pretty NRR (non-running-related) post… so if you’re waiting for that one about injury prevention – this isn’t it! (Still Β coming though.. promise! Going to the Underwater Treadmill dealio soon!)

Time to move on to other important matters:

Snack like no one’s watching!

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while.. you know that I luuurve my popchips. Love as in I could buy a bag at 2:00, and it might very well be gone by 10:00. I’ve made all sorts of crazy creations with my pleasurable little poppers… nachos, chili dippers, taco salads, you name it. They’re also the perfect snack to bring when you’re going to a potluck.. a MOVIE.. a team dinner πŸ˜‰

[This is supposed to be a photo of the awesome package.. but apparently it’s still on my camera at home!! I’ll upload when I get there!]

Not too long ago, Shana, part of my snackfamily over at popchips was awesome enough to send me a sample pack! What I really had wanted to get was a racing jersey to sport the popchips logo.. but they don’t have those. Yet. πŸ˜‰ I got an awesome t-shirt to sport in the mean time!! I just feel like Popchips is such a fun, upbeat company, but they also work so well with my athletic lifestyle! They’re “love, without the handles” and they’re a healthy (delicious) snack I can plain take on-the-go, eat em’ at home, or make them into a more elaborate meal. Here’s my official rundown on the flavors that were included in the box, in order of my favorite to least favorite. And by “least favorite”, I mean that in a liked it a lot, but SOMEONE had to come last! kind of way! Here we go:

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1. Cheddar Potato – I. Love. Cheddar. Pretty much cheddar anything. Don’t even get me started on cheezy popcorn because I’ll never get to the end of this post! I feel like the cheddar popchips have juuust the right amount of cheezygoodness to satisfy that craving, but it’s not overkill. Actually, my VERY FAVORITE POPCHIPS EVER are the Golden Cheddar MULTIGRAIN flavor. There is absolutely nothing they could do to make those better in my opinion. Pure goodness on a plate napkin? straight out of the bag? You know how I do πŸ˜‰

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2. Salt & Pepper Potato – These are soooo good! Aside from the little kick you get from the pepper, I think these are also one of my favorites for their versatility! I mentioned popchip nachos.. and these are BOMB just for that reason. These make fantastic soup dippers/cruncher topping. My favorite is with thick creamy tomato basil bisque (a la French Meadow if possible!!). Heaaaven!

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3. Sour Cream & Onion Potato – Alright. Who doesn’t like sour cream & onion chips? Haha for some reason I feel like that is such a guilty flavor! Maybe because I’m remembering regular Ruffles potato chips with the sour cream & onion DIP.. the dip being the guilty factor! Honestly guys, if you like sour cream & onion, these are for you!

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4. Barbeque Potato – favorite #4. These have a reallly strong barbeque flavor, so if you want mild, then pick a different flavor. But I definitely don’t want mild, so I think these are great! The only reason these aren’t higher up on my list is because the only way I have figured out how to eat them thus far is just plain. Nothing wrong with that, but sometimes I like to get creative! What are other ways you do up your BBQ chips? I’m open for suggestions!

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5. Original Potato – Really, these last three were all so hard to rank. They’re ALLLL good! The original flavor is great because you can dip it, top it, crunch it, and really get crafty here. These were my very favorite for making nachos until I found the Salt & Pepper flavor. Salty crunchy good!

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6. Sea Salt & Vinegar Potato – Alright.. here’s my explanation. I have some weird thing with acidity. Or maybe it’s like a brine flavor that I can’t do? I don’t know.. but it prohibits me from eating olives, ketchup, really anything with that briney flavor. Sea Salt & Vinegar chips have always fallen under that same taste-category for me. I don’t know how to explain it.. it hurts my tongue? The problem is though, I still LOVE these chips!! Hahah so I eat them anyways.. and then my tongue is like swollen! It’s not a popchip problem – I promise you that. It happened when I bought a bag of Sea Salt & Vinegar soy crisps too… bummer! These are my mom’s favorite flavor though!

So those were the 6 that were in the box. How awesome is Shana! Like I said though.. they now make MULTIGRAIN flavors, and the Golden Harvest Cheddar is by farrrr my very favorite. I have also tried the Multigrain Sea Salt, and those are great too! There is a Parmesan Garlic Potato flavor which I have yet to find at any of my local grocery stores… but I am dying to try it! I said I love cheese. Parmesan = cheese. Something tells me those chips are golden. πŸ˜€

If you can find popchips near you, I think they definitely outshine any of the other chips out there on the market. And if I need to include a disclaimer.. (yeah.. enough with you new blogging protocol rules…) I can tell you that obviously popchips sent these to me, but in no way was it dependent on a review by me, much less a positive one. Trust me.. if there’s something I don’t like, I’ll be the first to let you know!

Well how’s THAT for a good start to the week! The rest of my day is pretty scheduled, just the way I like it, and it looks a little somethin’ like this:

  • 3:30 – practice/PT exercies
  • 5:30 – WORK! Just a couple hours tonight. I’m liking makin $$
  • 8:00 – hopefully earlier? Hit the grocery store on my way home. My fridge looks naked.
  • 11:00 – again, hopefully earlier! SLEEEEEP

I’m trying to implement a new 11:00 rule – must be IN BED by 11:00. I have been trying to work on getting more sleep for howww long? I set the alarm on my phone to go off at 10:30, so it’s my little reminder that if I’m not already getting ready for bed, I need to start makin’ my way to it. Yesterday I FAILED and wasn’t in bed until 12:15.. which for me, is pretty ridiculous for a Sunday night! I had just spend the last like 6 hours at the coffee shop though making that study guide, so when I got home at 8:45 I felt like I had barely been home all day. Because I hadn’t! Anyways.. I’m going to try and work really hard on this new 11:00 thing, because SLEEP* is an important component of recovery! Not to mention.. I’m a bltch when I don’t get my 8 hours of Zzzs. (* OMG. For this reason alone I am so happy I decided to keep blogging. That post was from my freshman year in college when I used to nap every day in Coffman. And that hummus!!! I haven’t had that in SOOO long but will definitely be picking some up at the store tonight!)

Well, I’m off to catch the bus! I’m uh.. not attending my math class today. My 2nd class of the day was canceled, and I have math last, so I’d just be hangin around all day. Plus I talked to the professor and the material we’re covering today is stuff I’m solid on. No biggie! Plus, that lets me get practice done early, which lets me get to work tonight, which makes me a Money Maker. Yessir!

Seeee ya.
-E

p.s. meals & moves is 6 months old and is hosting a giveaway! check outΒ cookware.comfor your favorite brands like cuisineart, emile henry,Β rachael ray cookware and more! giveaway ends 10/23!

My definitely-NOT-Twin-Cities-Marathon-pre-race-report. Dang…

Hey kids. Well.. this is a post that no one wants to write (maybe no one wants to read?! Haha.. sorry), but I figured I better write it beforeΒ the marathon. Not like you guys are hanging on my every move here, but maybe someone wants to know.

After my last post, I was still undecided about what I was going to do about the Marathon. For anyone who just stumbled onto this blog or for new readers to the blog.. quick run down: Twin Cities Marathon is this Sunday (Oct. 4th).. I’m registered to run, trained to run, and wanting to run. And I’m not running. I found out last Friday that I re-fractured my femoral neck.. a fracture that I was dealing with almost exactly a year ago from today. Actually.. it’s sort of scary – everything is happening basically a year in parallel. I had surgery last December, and healed/rehabbed, or so I thought, started training for TC in July.. and found out about the fracture 9 days before the marathon. Sweet.

So now we should all be on the same page here I think..

SO. As you can imagine, I was pretty distraught after the phone call from my doctor. Clearly the fracture was a big deal, but honestly, I was most concerned about what I was going to do about the marathon. I had tons of questions for my doctor.. questions for myself.. my mind was just jumping all over the board. At the time I was writing my last post, I think my mindset was something like this:

No running until race day, runΒ the marathon but don’t race it, don’t run after the marathon until the fracture heals.Β 

And yes – every time I wrote that or told somebody that was what I was planning, I realized how ridiculous it sounded. Here are the main flaws I see now with that problem:

  1. I trained to race, not run. Would I really be happy just running a marathon when I knew I wasn’t giving it my best?
  2. Would I even enjoy the race? My mind would be pretty much consumed about what was going on in my body.. would my hip be worse? What if it broke through the pins? Why am I doing this?
  3. I am already a week into healing. If I run the marathon.. it’s just that much longer until I heal. And probably extra because a marathon isn’t exactly the same as just going for a 5 mile run.Β 
  4. I would be knowingly going against the advice of all my doctors, PTs, and surgeons. What makes me think I know better than them?Β 
  5. Just say I ran, and my hip did fracture through the pins. We’re talking total hip replacement. I don’t think you see too many competitive 20something runners with a hip replacement. (This thought brought up an interesting point about athletes with prosthesis.. but then I realized where my mind was really headed.. is running THIS marathon really so important to me that I’d rather lose my leg? Um…)

I know there are other factors that went into deciding against that plan.. but these are the major issues I found. After talking more with my medical team about the real risks.. I realized that I’m too smart for that.Β 

So then, my game plan as of now:

Go to expo (check), go to marathon to cheer on all friends running it, go to PT (check) and continue it weekly, see new young-adult hip specialist.

The hip specialist that I’m trying to get in with is apparently just that.. pretty dang “special”. He was wayyy booked out, and I can’t get in to see him until sometime in NOVEMBER. I took the appointment, but asked to be put on a cancellations list so that hopefully I can get in sooner. Going to the expo today was fun, because hello – marathon expos are always fun, but it was also HARD. To be honest, I definitely had my mind made up at one point that, eff it, I was just going to run. But I was able to talk myself down from that and get my feet grounded again. The marathon is on Sunday, and I’m going to spend the morning with my mom going to a couple points on the course to go cheer.Β 

e

I. Will. Get. Through. This.

On a brighter note.. I have been doing some fun stuff to keep my mind occupied. Like school doesn’t do enough of that! And I got to see my dad yesterday – he had a layover in Minneapolis (that turned into an overnight in Minneapolis.. lovely weather!) and it was SO nice to get to see him, even if it was only for such a short time. Training wise, I have had some really good rides.. at least my biking can only get stronger during this time. That goes the same for swimming too. We had our first team dinner of the season last week.. and that was a ton of fun! It was a potluck deal.. and I brought.. POPCHIPS!

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They were definitely a hit. Two other people brought tortilla chips or regular potato chips, and those bags weren’t even opened! Haha I was nervous people wouldn’t like them because they’re “healthy”.. but there weren’t even crumbs left in the bags at the end of the night, so I take that as a sign that they were thoroughly enjoyed! πŸ˜‰

Oh.. p.s. This is clearly not that timeline post I was talking about. I have like half of it written.. and then I guess life got in the way and I never came back to it. Sorry! I will probably still post it just for my own sake. And for now my friends, I have to say goodnight. I am going out for ice cream, and then getting back home EARLY for Spinnergy tomorrow morning. Sorry for a mostly-downer post, but it is part of life, and there’s no way around it!

Hope everyone has a good night and a great weekend.

-E

Returning to Reality

I want to get the rest of my Philly trip posted, because I literally have like FIVE posts that I want to do (some of them I already have written!) but they’re all backing up! Plus, I have some special events coming up this weekend (St. Croix Valley Tri, Victory Memorial 10K) that I’m sure are going to get some photo action…

So without further delay, here is the wrap up post to my Philadelphia trip – written on the air plain to Minneapolis! I did it in iWeb when I still had hopes of a iWeb/Wordpress marriage. No such luck. Thank you who ever invented Copy -> Paste.

Well my friends, my trip to the City of Brotherly Love has come to an end. I currently sitting on one of the smallest planes I have ever ridden on [edit edit] and I am ready to be home.Β 

Β 

Highlights of my trip:

DAD! I don’t need to say much more than that

Getting to see my sister and her husband on Saturday

A 15 mile run on Sunday along the Schulkyll River, el padre en tow on bike

A trip to REI where I got a nice tri top and some wind proof biking gloves (on sale!!)

Picnic dinners/lunches out on the river

A 6 mile run in the monsoon rain on Saturday

Getting to see where my dad lives, works, and has his new life in Philly

Β 

Here are some photos of our [way too short] trip:

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el padre y yo after my/our 15 miler on the Schuylkill River

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downtown Philly skyline – pretty!Β 

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Dinner at Marathon Grill (v. good!) followed by a reallly good Gelato place!Β 

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It was a good food night. I was happy! πŸ™‚

What’s in store when I get back:

Work – jobs #1 & #2

Getting books

St. Croix Valley tri on Saturday

Victory Memorial 10K on Monday

School starts Tuesday

Sleep?! Please!?

Β 

More to come later peeps. Seeeya.

“this year’s medals were harvested from the forests of…”

URBAN WILDLAND!

A semi race/chill report and a guarantee for years to come:

I believe in my last post, I wasn’t thinking I’d be racing the Urban Wildland Half Marathon. I think I did a pretty good job staying true to my words, but as every runner knows, it’s really hard to just “run” a race. The environment just gets you going, and that “pick em off one at a time” mentality sinks in. πŸ˜€ On a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being just the same as any old easy run.. and 10 being an all-out, red lined at the finish race.. I would say I ran about a 6. I know what it feels like to red line.. and I definitely didn’t. But it wasn’t just a loop around Harriet either. That being the case – I came in at 1:36:31 (yes – STILL STUCK in that 1:35 – 1:36 rut!!), 15th woman overall, and 1st in my age group.

(My dad was kind of in an unfortunate spot for photo taking.. and this is the only one I have! Forgot to take others..)

This 1:35 – 1:36 thing is kind of irritating. In every single half I’ve ever done I have finished within those two minutes. Whaaat? Based on all those lovely pace calculators, that’s right on. Going by my marathon time they project me at a 1:35:34 for a half. But I can judge me effort and my level of exertion, and I know I can go faster. Oh well – plenty of racing years ahead of me for that, right? πŸ˜€

The biggest factor that made the race so amazing for me was the fact that it was a Green race. I don’t know if I’ve talked about this before, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be double majoring in Environmental Studies. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m the environmentally friendly/tree hugger/co-op kid in the crew.. and throughout my passion for architecture, sustainability and environmental design has always been at the core. SO… I thought seeing the compost bins and recycling bins at the race were way cool. Even the cups that they used at the water stops were biodegradable! (The only downside of that was the cups didn’t “squish” like the regular ones – they cracked when you tried to pinch the top closed.) When the race director was explaining the whole “green race” concept at the awards ceremony, she said the medals were “harvested” which made me crack up. Don’t get me wrong – they’re made out of wood and carved and cooler than any medal I’ve gotten so far – but I had this image in my mind of picking medals out of trees in like an apple orchard. Please see dramatization below.

Also.. the shirts. I’m definitely a fan.

In other things all running related – I went on a midnight run last night! Every night biking home from work I’m just continuously blown away by how amazing a still, calm night at the lake is. From the south end I look across Calhoun at the downtown skyline and can’t get over how much I love Minneapolis. I know I’ve been complaining about not getting enough sleep, but this one was well worth it. I went with a buddy from run club (which most definitely topped my company from the last midnight run.. won’t go into details..!) and we had a great time just talking about everything.. from Disney movies to the race (he ran too).. it’s always a good time! (Speaking of which.. has anyone seen the movie My Neighbor Totoro? BEST THING EVER. Still my favorite.)

(Downtown skyline across Calhoun. Thank you Flickr and Y Entonces!)

I just got back from dinner with my dad before he heads out to Boston for a week.. we went to Applebee’s!! The one close to my house CLOSED – I’m so bummed! It’s funny.. they actually don’t have that great of food. But it’s just a comforting place for me – when my family was still “the 4” and I was probably like 7 or 8, there was a period of time that we would go there almost every Friday night. We’d pick up my dad from the airport and head to dinner.. and probably all got the same thing every time. It brings back good memories. πŸ™‚

I feel like summer is slipping away from me and there are so many things I’m going to run out of time for! 😦 That’s life though, so for now I better enjoy what I have in the moment. Night!

Grandma’s non-race race report!

Honestly, I don’t feel like I need to say anything more than

Grandma’s Marathon was a BLAST!

But of course I will. πŸ˜‰ Not a race report.. but I will take you through the my Grandma’s experience from start to finish!

My mom has run Grandma’s Marathon 7 or 8 times. It always used to be over Father’s Day weekend, so we would pack up practically the day after school was out, and head up to Breezy Point Resort in Two Harbors for the whole week. The entire trip was full of flashbacks from past year’s Grandma’s adventures.

This time though started a whole new chapter in my book of Grandma’s memories. This time, the trip was for ME. πŸ˜€ No Breezy Point resort (although I do hope to continue that tradition in the future..), and no week long vacation (that one would be nice too), and this time, I wasn’t a super fan – I was a runner!

And I say runner – not racer. If you don’t remember me talking about it back at Med City time.. my plan was that if I BQed at Med City, then I would just take Grandma’s easy and have fun. If I didn’t, well I didn’t really want to consider that, but there was always as a backup! Luckily, I took care of qualifying early on, and so for Grandma’s I decided to pace two of my favorite buddies from my Running Club! These two lucky guys would be D and M, together forming team MED. πŸ™‚ D’s previous PR was a 4:30something at Twin Cities last year, but that was his first marathon, and for those who don’t know, Twin Cities (the same day as last year’s Chicago) was KILLER HOT. D has improved so much since then! M on the other hand had run Fargo back in mid May, and Med City at the end of May.. so this was marathon #3 within about six weeks! M’s previous PR was like a 3:45 I believe (over in Fargo).

pre-race

D and I drove up on Friday afternoon. After getting through some annoying traffic on 280 (can’t wait till the 35W bridge is open again!) the ride was pretty smooth the whole way up. We had fun looking over at other cars and guessing which contained runners on their way up too. The 26.2 bumper stickers were a dead give away, but so were the vans that had grocery bags in back with bananas peaking over the top! We went to the expo right away to get our packets, and we were in and out in no time!

Dinner was FABULOUS and at Pizza Luce in downtown Duluth. During race weekend, most restaurants wont take reservations, so we weren’t sure if we’d get in. We planned that we’d all meet at 6:00 at the restaurant, and we were probably seated by 7:00! That’s really not that bad considering the amount of people that were there.. and especially not bad because we had a table of about 20! That included about 13 runners and some family members who tagged along. I think the majority of us runners got spaghetti, myself included! It was delicious as always. I ❀ Pizza Luce. We also got ice cream on the way back to the hotel, because that’s just what you do and it’s my standard night-before-a-race (actually night before.. every day) deal. It was also delicious. As always. I ❀ ice cream. πŸ˜€

We stayed at a hotel about 10 minutes outside of downtown Duluth. Almost every hotel has a 2-day-minimum kinda deal.. which is sort of ridiculous. Along with ridiculous are the RATES! $216 a night.. for a hotel that any other time would typically be like under $100. I don’t really care though.. the room was comfortable, there was good water pressure in the shower, we were across the street from a shuttle to the race start, and they had coffee. We clearly know what matters.. πŸ˜‰ Along with D and I were four other people in our room – N (another girl from our running club), Big Bryce (the BF of a girl from our RC), and two guys who were the acquaintances of a friend of an ex girl friend (‘s dog sitter’s neighbor from Tennessee. Or something along those lines.) There were only two queen beds.. so the acquaintances got sleeping bags on the floor. Plus, they were only running the half.. sleep doesn’t really matter if you’re only doing 13. πŸ˜‰ (Haha kidding. Sorta.)

Saturday morning started at 5:00 am. There were shuttles from the mall across the street at 5:30 and 6:00.. and we opted for the 6:00 because unless you’re really concerned for some reason that you wouldn’t get there in time.. why go stand around outside for an extra half hour when you could have that extra time to sleep? The hotel had continental breakfast open at like 4 already.. so I headed down there after I got dressed. Of course, most the runners down there brought their own trusty breakfast along.. we just all wanted the coffee.. to “clear things out”. It was hilarious.. everyone has their own little tricks for getting things goin in the morning. There were people standing there doing toe raises as they watched the morning weather, and one chick was running up and down the hall.

We walked across the street to the mall at 5:45. It was weird to have it be so sunny already! I’d say it was about 60 degrees already? Not bad. While we were waiting, I had my trusty breakfast of soy nuggets and coffee. I also grabbed an english muffin from the breakfast room.. and decided to eat that on the bus. The ride was quick, and before we knew it, we were in Two Harbors at the start!

This is when you know.. you’re in for a good time. πŸ˜€ There’s music playing, people laughing, the whole atmosphere is just FUN! We jumped in line for the porta-potties right away, made it through the line, went to go find M, and drop off our sweat bags. M was getting nervous because he came on the 5:30 bus.. and he was probably thinking “WHERE ARE THEY!?” I’d be thinking the same thing if I was waiting around and my team wasn’t there yet!

(Left to Right: N, ME, M, D)

We jumped over the fence for the chute so we could make it up to the 3:30 group. That’s what both M and D had in mind for a goal time.. although I say “had in mind” very loosely. Both of them just really wanted to run and do their best, and if that meant taking it back, then that meant taking it back! I know D is capable of running a 3:30 marathon, but he just doesn’t race enough to know how much he has improved. M was shooting for a 3:30 because that’s his qualifying time for Boston!

do work!

The race started right on time at 7:30, and off we went! We stayed on pace (actually ahead of pace.. because M and D both walked through the water stops) up until mile 16. At that point, I could feel that both of them had been fading – I was in that always-one-step-ahead-of-ya position.. but I didn’t want to ask them if they wanted to tone it down because this was their race.. and I wanted them calling the shots. Both of them decided to take it back a notch at that point, and shortly after, M told D and I to go head. We continued on.. but still slowing down.

I was having so much fun.. the crowds at Grandma’s are AMAZING! Such a different experience than Med City. For the first ~18 of the course, they are spread out along the county road, mostly at or around the aid stations. Once you get into Duluth though, they’re pretty much constant! Oh – my dad!! I forgot to say that my dad drove up, at 3:00 in the morning! Trooper. I wasn’t sure where he would pop out, and I only saw him twice on the course, it it was great to hear his voice! Around mile 22 I saw him the 2nd time, and ran up and jumped in his arms and gave him a big hug, and then took off again. I thought I had a right to be tired.. but man-o-man, this guy deserved a nap! (Which luckily he got..!)

The last 10K was definitely the hardest for D. He didn’t hit “the wall”.. but maybe more like a fence. He was just sorta losing steam. It didn’t help that there were now water stops at every mile between 19 and 26, because that meant more walk breaks, which meant more times where it’s harder to get going. I kept tellin him, “The faster you run, the faster you’ll be finished!” Lemon Drop “Hill” was at like 22.. and I could tell D wasn’t thrilled about that one. He did a really good job though on the way down – dropping his arms and opening up his stride. OH MAN I said some ridiculous things along those last six miles trying to encourage him on! Something along the lines of..

“Dominate that hill D! It’s yours!”

“This is the strongest mile of your life! Make it yours!”

“Find your Kenyan! Dig deep.. it’s in there!”

At which point he probably just wanted to say “Shut up Erika! I’m trying!” but he didn’t and he just took it all.. haha now we get to look back on it and laugh. Afterwards, he said it was helpful, even though he couldn’t talk and say anything back, so YAY for good effort and not stopping even though I sounded like an idiot. πŸ˜€

In between 25 and 26, I was turned back yelling something [good and encouraging] at D, when all of the sudden, M came outta nowhere! I was like “Mighty M! Where’d you come from!” (We all have nicknames by the way.. Mighty M, Dashing D, Extreme Erika, Namaste N.. etc. I don’t know if they want their names online, so I’m sticking with letters here.) I wanted to all finish as Team MED!! But D told us to go ahead.. he was still truckin though! M and I pulled up a little, and crossed the line together. He was hilarious, and amazing! He kept saying “Stop speeding up! My legs can’t go any faster!” and I was like “I’m not going faster! You’re going faster! C’mon – you can do this!!”

M and I both finished in 3:42:xx, and D came in at 3:43:xx. D PRed by over 45 minutes! And while M didn’t qualify for Boston this time, he’s just that much closer! They’re both running TC (yes – I’m jealous!) in October, and I know they’ll both do stellar!

post-race

Post race was fabulous (as it always is at Grandma’s!) We got our medals, shirts, drink tickets, (and I got a carnation! I guess this was only for the ladies.. a nice gesture but I ended up thrown it away.. :/ I’m not gonna carry around a flower for the entire time afterwards.) We took a Team MED picture (see above!) in front of the Grandma’s backdrop.. knowing that none of us would get it since they’re like $$$! Then we went to grab our sweat bags, get water, stretch, (lie down in D’s case), find family, and relax!! For the runners, there was ice cream, yogurt, fruit, bagels, sandwiches, water, bottled dirty bath water Ultima, and MASSAGES (with a killer long line). We didn’t end up getting a massage.. but I really wanted one!!

We also met up with N, who finished around 3:48:xx!! My dad found me, and after many hugs and laughter, he went off to sit, enjoy a beer, and actually go back to the car and nap. He had only gotten like 3 hours of sleep!! I also ran into Mary – the woman I ran the majority of Med City with! She finished in 3:05, and did AMAZING! It’s funny how when you’re trying to find someone, you can’t for the life of you, but when you’re not looking you seem to run into everyone you know!

After we all rested up a bit and got rehydrated/refueled, we went down to the water front with M’s son (who also happens to be named M in this case) to wade into the chilly waters of Lake Superior. Chilly is an understatement – it’s freaking FREEZING. But it felt sooooo good. I wish I had been smart like N and brought along my SOCKS (I gave them to my dad in a second bag once I switched into my flip flops), because then I could have stayed in much longer! The water felt AMAZING on my legs, but it HURT your feet. Like, BAD.

D, N, and I wandered around/through all the post-race festivities, used up are drink tickets, and then decided it was time to head back to the hotel. I had gotten 2nd in my age group, and was told I was going to be getting an award. Sooo I wanted to rush back to the hotel, take a speed shower, pack up my stuff, and make it back in time for the awards ceremony at 3:15. We did just that, but it turned out then that the HALF awards started at 3:30, the MARATHON awards weren’t until 4:15. And then, after sitting through all of that, I realized that they were only giving out an award to the first place winner in the 19 and under age group, though they were giving an award to the top three in every other category. Lame. I felt like an idiot sitting through that whole thing.. and then not getting an award. I don’t get the reason behind that.. but whatever though – good to support all the other runners. Plus I saw so many familiar people/heard so many familiar names of people my mom used to run with! It turns out, the girl who took 1st in my age group was less than 30 seconds ahead of me. Not like I would have left Team MED to get her had I known.. but c’mon. Oh well, I can be happy to know that my Med City time smoked her! To give you an idea what the field is like.. Lamech Mokono, the top male finisher came in at 2:13:39, and the top female finisher, Mary Akor, ran a 2:38:50. 10 of the 12 top males were from Kenya πŸ˜€

( Mathew Chesang, winner of the half, came in at 1:04:48!!)

My dad and I headed home after the awards. We didn’t even get on the road till like 5:00, and with a stop for dinner along the way we didn’t get home till after 8:00. I drove half way home because my dad was still sleepy, but it was actually really nice to be behind the wheel – kind of relaxing. If I could have gotten into the Big Tent, I for sure would have stayed on Saturday night. I think it’s dumb that they can’t just X people who are under age. I’m clearly not the only one under 21 who ran! I can go to clubs and bars here in the cities, I just can’t drink! It seams pretty common sense to me.. I think that’s something Grandma’s should reconsider for next year.

Somethings they don’t need to reconsider are the cups of ICE, and the COLD WET SPONGES. Those were amazing. Someone needs to tell Twin Cities to get their rear in gear and do that too! Overall, the whole experience was a blast! It was worth every single thing, and certain people reading can go ahead and take the hint. I can’t wait to race Grandma’s in 2009! I’ll be countin down the days!

The next day (Sunday) was a big open house at my home.. something we’ve been preparing for for WEEKS! It definitely added to the stress that I wasn’t around on Friday night/Saturday day to help out. I was fabulous though – everything went smoothly and tons of people came! My mom worked her but off and I appreciate everything she did so much! The food was great, and the weather held out. Both D and M came too! We went for a short run once everything died down, and there were only a few people left. Team Med, reunited πŸ˜€

defeated to sky high.. and everything in between.

Holy smokes.. this last week has been flippin ridiculous. Good and bad. I’m in serious sleep debt, but that’s life. I got a lot to cover, and a little time, so lemme get down to business.

First things first: I decided. I’ll be transferring to NORTHEASTERN! I seriously didn’t make my decision until about half an hour before I had to make the phone call.. I was that on the fence about it. Just trying to process all the options was really draining on me (and on my mom too). There were nights when I couldn’t sleep, and my mom would come down at like 3 in the morning saying “Well what if we did this_____.” But really – I’m happy with my decision. (Except for the part where I’m drowning in debt until I’m 85.. that still blows.) To add some icing to the cake, I got a voicemail Wednesday morning “extending me an invitation” to the Honors program! SO EXCITED! Aside from smaller classes and amazing professors.. you also get to live in the Honors LLC which is suite style dorms πŸ˜€ We get our own little kitchen, bathroom, and lounge room!! I. Can’t. Wait.

Secondly.. prom was great. I had a really fun time with James and all my old high school friends. We all took pictures at the Sculpture Gardens, went to Buca for dinner (huh?? Yeah.. that clearly wasn’t my planning), and then Grand March.. dance.. after party.

There were TWENTY TWO people in our group!! That made dinner super fun πŸ˜‰ And some good dancing..

Hahha.. I definitely felt very high school.. but hey – that’s what prom is for! Dancing definitely passed the time. The last prom I went to.. my date was LAME and didn’t dance AT ALL. Oop.. no, I lied. He’d dance the slow songs.

So after the dance we went back to my house to change quick before the after party. When we came up to the door.. it was wide open. Which was weird because we never leave our door open. Much less unlocked. James joked “like it even matters.. you live in such a safe neighborhood!” but I know it doesn’t matter WHERE you live. Our house was broken into once before like 10 years ago.

We walked through the porch and into the house (porch door open too..) and right on the rug in front of us was my purse and my moms purse.. everything strewn on the floor. It took a second for me to realize what happened.. credit cards – gone. Cash – gone. Both my mom’s cameras – gone. The scariest part is that my mom had been home when it happened.. asleep on the futon upstairs. The TV was on and there’s no way the person could have not heard it. Aside from me just being super pissed.. I’m SO thankful she was OK.

We canceled all our cards and stuff.. but the lame ass still used mine to fill up with gas in St. Paul.. then make a stop at Cosetta’s (an Italian grocery store.. wtf?).. and go on a little shopping spree at Walmart in ST. FREAKING CLOUD! Gotta say.. the guy works fast.

I was supposed to run the Minnetonka Half Sunday morning, but by the time the police left and I got back from the after “party” (which I only went to for like an hour).. my car pool would have been coming in like 2 hours. PASS! My friend biked with me while I did 14 Sunday afternoon.

I made a teeny bouquet of flowers (yes.. that’s a shot glass) for my madre. We’ve both had a rough week. Speaking of rough – today was my last class for the semester. I have this big project for my Arch Studio due today at 4:00. I’ve literally been working on it all day, every day, for over a week. Around 1:00 today when I was in the studio, I had to accept to myself that the amount of work I had left to get done would take more than 3 hours.. no way around it. Our teacher said he’d rather we turn in a stellar, 100% best effort project on Monday, and be marked down half a grade, than turn in a shitty/unfinished project on Friday and probably get more than half a grade off anyways. I’m trying to be OK with the fact that I’ll be turning in on Monday, but it’s hard. I feel super defeated.. especially since I’ve been working SO HARD and SO LONG on this. It’s not like I procrastinated or something, and now I’m stuck dealing with the consequences. The fact is – there is just more detail than 3 hours worth of work. So I left the studio, and drove home.

I’m about to go for a quick run to clear my head. Today is my first day back at work for the summer (psh.. it’s only like 62 degrees here..) and I’m working 5 till close. I’m really excited to be back! Just kinda down about the project..

I’ll leave you guys with some good eats. Ignore the fact that this looks florescent.. it’s freaking amazing. It’s vegan stuffed cabbage rolls smothered in sweet & sour sauce and it’s freaking fantastic. I don’t get time to make this often.. but when I do I make a lot so I can freeze and have it for like a week straight πŸ˜€

And last but not least, this GINORMOUS box of splenda. 1,000 effing packets!!!! This will last me until I’m about 25.. going with me off to Boston next year. I have no idea why we bought it at COSTCO.. but hey.. fake sugar doesn’t expire. We’re good to go for a lifetime.

I apologize for the novel.. but that’s what happens when you can’t post for forever! I can assure that my posts will be more frequent now that school’s over. (Well.. not quite. I guess I have to turn in my arch project on Monday, and then SATURDAY the 17th I have one last final. Who does that?!) Ahhh. Time to run. Thanks to everyone for all the support in making my decision and the rough last week!