January 28, 2013

Music Monday

Trea and I ran 4 miles yesterday -- the farthest I've run in quite some time. I was nervous about the distance and expected to have a rough experience. It was a gray day, super windy and spitting rain.

But even through the yucky weather, my legs and my lungs felt strong the whole time. Is there anything better than finishing a run with the feeling that you want to keep going? I felt great!

Having a new playlist didn't hurt either. As soon as I signed up for the Bentonville half, I bought a bunch of new running songs. My fav right now? Change by Churchill.

Never heard of em but this song was Single of the Week a few weeks ago on iTunes and I am loving it! (Thanks for the tip, Jodi!) It's peppy and fun and has a perfect beat for running.

What's on your playlist this week?

January 24, 2013

Garmin Forerunner 10 Review

What's the best part about getting back into running? Getting new gear! Just before I ran the Bentonville Half in 2011, I got a Garmin Forefunner 405. It has more bells and whistles than I know what to do with, and a touch bezel -- an invention dumber than this.

At the time, it was near the top of the line for GPS watches, but the touch bezel was so weird that I could barely use it. My sweaty fingers would accidentally select almost everything except what I wanted to select, and the battery life was pathetic. It's also huge and ugly. And huge.

So imagine my delight when Trea surprised me with a new Garmin Forerunner 10 for Christmas! In PINK! 

Pink was this year's theme for my gifts. Can't go wrong there!

The Forerunner 10 has just four buttons -- no touch bezel or touch screen -- and it's a very basic GPS watch. It only displays pace, distance, time and calories, but it shows me elevation and everything else I was used to seeing from the 405 after I upload my runs to Garmin Connect. It doesn't display average pace, and that's the only thing I miss about the 405. It also doesn't sync wirelessly with my computer; I have to plug it in. But it's so worth it to have a watch that actually fits my arm and does what I tell it to do with a simple push of a button. 

And it's adorable. (Focus on how adorable it is, not on how sad the numbers are.)

Here they are side by side. I let the 405 battery die a slow and painful death. It probably took all of two hours.

The Forerunner 10's skinny strap breathes so much better than the giant, wide 405 strap. And it's adorable. Did I mention it's pink? 

I'm going to hang onto the 405 because Pinky isn't multisport, and I plan to still use the 405 for bike rides. But for running, the Forerunner 10 is my new favorite thing. And it's not important to me at all that it just happens to match my pink iPod shuffle and pink shoes. The most important thing is that it fits my wrist, tracks my runs accurately and is super easy to use. (And it's pink!) 

January 21, 2013

I think I can

Last week, I learned I can run at work over my lunch break, and that little revelation has changed my running life. Running in the sunshine! On a Monday! I discovered showers in my building (no clue how long they've been there), so I can put in a couple of sunny miles, get cleaned up and be back at my desk in no time. Because of my midday workouts, I was able to exercise 6 out of 7 days last week! That never happens -- ever. But I'm determined to get back into an active routine because... I have a half marathon to run

I signed up for the Bentonville Half Marathon in April, and training starts today! I'm following Hal's novice plan, same as last time I ran this race, because even though I'm an experienced runner, I haven't been running very often or very long since my injury. So, better safe than sorry because I don't want to overtrain again.

Trea is planning to race with me, and Saturday we went for our first run together since the Turkey Trot 5K. Our performance wasn't pretty. In fact, it was pretty awful. But the day was gorgeous, and we had a fantastic time for the first 10 minutes before things started to hurt. When it's 62 degrees and sunny in January, I won't complain about a terrible run.

We ran around Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art on some new trails we hadn't explored before, and we found a sculpture crafted in my likeness.

And one for Trea.

I have 11 weeks to whip myself into shape, and I'm already a little bit behind because I'm starting the training plan a week late. But my runs have felt pretty good lately (with the exception of Saturday's), so I'm hopeful I can catch up and be ready by April. 

I think I can!

January 3, 2013

White Christmas in Steamboat

I have Colorado fever. Trea and I spent an extra long Christmas week in Steamboat Springs, and it was hands down the best Christmas I've ever had. I'm usually a beach girl and like to go where there's sunshine. I've never actually gone toward snow on purpose before. But I'm so glad I did this year! I think Christmas ski trips will become an annual tradition!

I've never skied before, but I completely fell in love with it. Steamboat is the cutest little town, and they've gotten a TON of snow this year. We skied 8 days straight (whew!), and almost every day was a powder day. The conditions couldn't have been better. Once, Trea actually got stuck in waist-deep powder and had to go fishing for a lost ski. It was beautiful! 

We got to Steamboat the weekend before Christmas, and there weren't any crowds yet, so we had the slopes practically all to ourselves. We stayed at the Trailhead Lodge, and loved every minute of it. We had reserved a studio condo, but they upgraded us to a one bedroom condo when we got there. It felt just like home -- but better! We had a fireplace, balcony, full kitchen and washer/dryer, so we were able to continue being homebodies just like in Arkansas. We ate dinner most evenings at the condo and watched Christmas movies. Trea was so happy to be there that he sat through Love Actually without complaining one single time.  

The Trailhead also had its own private gondola right outside the front door, so even though we weren't at the base of the mountain, we could hop on the gondola and be taken right where we needed to go every morning without getting into the car. Cruising over town to get up the mountain was one of my favorite things!

We rented all our ski equipment (skis, poles, boots and helmets) from Black Tie Ski Rentals, run by the nicest guys in the world. Since I had never skied before, I had no clue what boots should feel like, so it took skiing in three different pairs before I finally found ones that I didn't want to hurl off the mountain.  {The Salomon Divine 550 in size 24.5 would make an excellent birthday present. Ahem.}

Skiing was a lot harder than I expected it to be. I'm fairly fit, I've been running 2-3 times a week and going to a personal trainer twice a week for the last month or two, so I felt like I was in pretty good shape. Um, NO. The first day out, we took a full day of ski school. Trea knows how to ski, so he was just there to hang out with me, but I needed to be taught all the basics. And it was our ski instructor's first time to ever teach a class. Boy, did he learn a lot with me!

Guess who was the first person to fall down in ski school? {*Raises hand*} Guess who got mad and took off her skis and marched in boots down the bunny slope? {*Raises hand*} The first few hours did not go well. Also, since new skiers are so new that they can't handle the ski lift, you have to side-step your way up the bunny slope every time you ski down. From 10 a.m. until 3 p.m., THAT'S A LOT OF SIDE STEPPING. It was about 9 degrees outside, and I was burning up. Trea actually soaked through a base layer and two jackets. Ick. We worked super hard, and the next day, I swear I felt worse than the day after a marathon. I hurt in places that I didn't know could hurt. Thumb muscles! Who knew?!

I had trouble keeping up with the class because everyone else was catching on faster than me, so I was sent over to the Magic Carpet with Trea to practice with the little kids. Yes, I was reduced to skiing with first graders, but I learned so much with them! Adult ski classes are not taught the same as kid ski classes, and even though I wasn't actually involved in the kid classes, I was listening and paying close attention to the instructors around me. Just hearing the kids' instruction was so helpful, and I learned to pizza like a pro!

After a few days of pizza-ing my way all over the green trails, we moved up to blue runs the last couple of days we were there. It was amazing.


After several hours of shredding the powder, we were always starving, so we hit up the apres ski scene every afternoon at either Slopeside, Bear River Grill or The Snowbird at the Ptarmigan -- our favorite.

I was surprised at how much fuel skiing requires. Luckily, restaurants take this into account when serving up portions. This was breakfast at The Paramount, another fav. Because who doesn't need chicken fried steak and biscuits covered in elk sausage gravy and eggs right before hitting the slopes?

I think we only went out for dinner one night -- Christmas Eve. We took a sleigh ride up the mountain to Ragnar's for some fine mountaintop dining and live music. Unfortunately, the sleigh ride was during a bit of a blizzard, so it wasn't the postcard moment I had anticipated. It was more like a hunker-down-in-your-coat, emerge-as-a-lump-of-snow type of evening. Oh well. The music was really good.

We literally spent as much time as possible on the mountain because we both became completely addicted. But we had to take time for recovery. After our apres ski drinks and snacks, we would moan and groan our way back to the hotel where we kept a buffet of Advil, Salonpas patches, Icy Hot and Aspercreme. Trea's favorite thing was to soak in one of the three hot tubs at the hotel...which were outside...where the snow is. It was nice while you were in, but slightly less fun on the way out. Minus-2 is super cold.

Yes, that's a pile of snow behind my head.
We had tons of fun in the Tetons and Yellowstone, but I think this might be the best vacation yet. I have never been so sad to leave a place. I got sick almost as soon as we got home and have been stuck in bed all week with an actual fever, not of the Colorado variety. I think it's because I need more fresh mountain air! I cannot wait until next year!


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