Google Drive

Where have you been all my life?

I remember using Google Docs occasionally when I was on the board for the Dockdogs club I belong to, but since I’ve been out of that for a while I haven’t messed with it too much. Consider me changed! I’ve been using the spreadsheets to create training plans, Christmas shopping lists, and an address book. I’m also going to look at using it as a training log/journal since I can access it from any device (hello being able to use my iPhone and tablet), even without internet. So sweet.

Enough geeking out about it though.

Last night we went out to dinner for my mom’s birthday. We went to a relatively new place called Bishop’s Post. It has a classic/comfort types of food. Instead of bread, you get a basket of homemade potato and sweet potato chips with onion dip. M and I polished off a basket of these by ourselves (I was starving!). We ordered several different appetizers since there were several of us at the dinner. We got: pistachio Encrusted Baked Brie (did not try it, but M said it was pretty good), Spinach & Artichoke Dip (my favorite), Pulled Pork Potato Skins (needed way more flavor), and Bacon Wrapped Shrimp (shockingly, I only thought these were ok). My parents split a spinach salad, and my dad didn’t care for it so he gave his half to me. I thought it was pretty good, though not as good as the one you can get at the Melting Pot. Both M and I got filet mignon for dinner, which came with mashed potatoes (fairly decent) and a vegetable medley (I think it was a stretch to call it a medley, since it was just broccoli and carrots, but it was pretty good). The filet was cooked perfectly and seasoned nicely and I devoured the whole thing. I was feeling moderately miserable by the end of dinner! Afterwards, we headed to mom and dad’s for cake and ice cream (which I did not partake in, because stuffed!).

I’m getting more excited to start running regularly again (of course right when it’s going to be dark when I get home-hello treadmill!) and getting on my bike and to yoga. I’ve decided to do the Chesterfield Turkey Trot this year, and then the Santa’s North Pole Dash again. I probably won’t be doing the Hot Chocolate 15k/5k this year, mostly because I don’t feel like trekking all the way down to the city twice in one weekend and I don’t know of anyone else attending who could pick up my stuff for me. As for next years running, I’ve already drawing up training plans for two half-marathons and I’m looking in to participating in my first triathlon (!!!). I’m super excited!

Lazy or Smart?

I’m super excited because I just finished placing my first order with Green Bean Delivery! I first found out about them through the MO’ Cowbell website, and then we got a code for $15 off our first order in our virtual race bag. So to use it before the end of the month (I think it expired then) I placed my order today for our first bin. I don’t know if having groceries delivered like this would be considered lazy or smart? I do still have to go to the store for some items, but having things delivered to me seems really nice as well.

What it is, is a delivery service for fresh, organic produce and other organic goods from their grocery store. Most of the items are local, and they show where they come from on the website while you are browsing the store. I picked out several vegetables and a couple of fruits, and then got two boxes of crunchy Clif Bars because we prefer those over the regular Clif Bars at our house. My bin gets delivered on Thursday, so I will be sure to let you know all about the goodies that come in it and the quality of everything.

My weekend went fairly well, with a few bumps here and there. Friday night, some friends of ours had a little Halloween party, complete with bonfire and hay ride. It was fun to sit around and chat with everyone. It feels so strange sometimes, because I graduated high school with all these people, but never hung out with them or even knew most of them in school (I transferred to a large school in the middle of my junior year). It was a pretty good time and the hay ride was nice. It was truly excellent party weather.

Saturday started off going nowhere close to how I had planned. M got up and went duck hunting, and I slept in and bummed around for another couple of hours when I noticed Kaycee’s eye looked weird. Upon closer inspection it appeared very similar to when she had pink eye several years ago. I took the off-chance that my vet would be open on Saturday to call and get her in. Luckily they were and we came away a little poorer and with some fun eye ointment to put in her eyes twice a day for the next seven days.

Then I headed out to Clarksville to see the trapper-guy to get M’s birthday present. We are a pretty outdoorsy duo, even though I spend most of my time cooped up in an office, so hunting and fishing are things we enjoy. M recently is getting back into trapping, so it will be interesting to see all that first hand this year. After picking up the traps, I stopped by my grandparents and visited for a little while before heading home and resting because I could feel a headache coming on. We wrapped up the evening with dinner with my parents for M’s birthday, and a little outdoorsy shopping at Cabela’s.

Sunday I got up early to make breakfast for the boys while they were duck hunting, and then tried to go back to sleep but mostly just watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer Halloween reruns on TV. After a bit, I got up and headed over to my in-laws to grab some stuff to take my grandparents 65th wedding anniversary portrait. They got all dressed up and looked so adorable! They’ve been together for forever (obviously) and are a pretty great example of a good marriage.

After that I headed back to my in-laws and registered for some tax classes I need to take and then picked up lunch for everyone out on the farm. I firmly solidified my best wife ever status and rode in the combine for a bit before heading back home to do laundry. Where the second crappy part of the weekend happened.

We live in an old house. Which means there are a few places for bugs to get in. I was down in the basement putting in a load of jeans and I went to put in those little Downy scent things and I stepped on something sharp. At first I thought I stepped on a splinter of wood, but then the pain intensified a whole bunch and I picked my foot up to shake it out and a wasp fell down in the floor. It stung me right underneath my second toe! And holy shit did it hurt! I have not been stung by a wasp in over 20 years, I’m sure, since I was a little kid and I’ve never stepped on one. My second toe and my big toe hurt like crazy and then the toe I got stung on puffed up really big. I put an ice pack on it and that definitely helped and it hurt a little bit this morning, but thankfully I have not developed an allergy to stings. From here on out though, it’s some kind of shoe at all times in the basement!

Holy Update, Batman!

I have done zero running since the half-marathon at the beginning of the month. Zero anything really. No yoga, no biking, nada! For shame!

I did, however take myself and my little handgun to the indoor shooting range, Ultimate Defense, and went shooting for the first time (at an indoor range). I had a really good time, even though I was by myself, and did a lot better than I thought I would. So I am very much looking forward to going back and killing some more paper targets!

I really haven’t been doing all that much exciting stuff here recently. However, all my friends are doing exciting things like getting engaged and starting to plan weddings!

Two of my friends got engaged this month. So that means I have at least two weddings upcoming that I have to attend and it’s time to buckle down. I know I’ve said it repeatedly on here that I need to buckle down and get my shit together and get rid of this excess weight. Which I think anyone who has ever lost weight knows, it’s so much easier said than done.

My sister is talking about getting married to her current boyfriend, and I know for a fact that I will most likely be in that wedding and I do NOT want to be a fat bridesmaid! Plus I’m just really getting tired of feeling blah and crappy 99% of the time and having to stuff my legs into all my cute boots. I actually broke the zipper carriage off a pair and now I have to get those repaired! So yeah, I want to wear cute boots, and feeling good in clothes again, which might seem a little superficial but I also know that I have to do something NOW or else I’m going to be living a life with tons of medications and problems in my future. I’ve been relatively lucky this far in that I haven’t had any issues with cholesterol or my blood sugar. But it won’t stay like that unless I make some changes.

Ideally, I would like to be down 20 pounds by the end of the year. I think this is a fairly doable number, considering there are nearly 10 weeks left in the year (holy shit-I can’t believe that is all there is left!). And if I lose about 2 pounds a week, I should make it. But that means actually exercising regularly and eating better than what I’ve been doing. Thankfully, I got my thyroid medication adjusted again and have been feeling so much better. Having this thyroid issue working against me is not fun at all, but I really don’t want to constantly be falling back on it as an excuse.

So here’s to next year’s wedding season!

Mo’ Cowbell Half-Marathon Race Review

As you know, Sunday I ran the Mo’ Cowbell half-marathon for the first time. This is my review of the race events.

The Expo/Packet Pickup

One thing that was nice was the virtual race bags so you didn’t have to deal with ALL the extra flyers. You simply sorted through the information and if there was something that struck your fancy, you saved it. And there were a few things in there that interested me, and I thought that there was a nice variety to the offers.

The actual expo itself wasn’t the greatest at the layout. I went about an hour before it ended and there were a few booths of vendors who had already left for the day it appeared. Then the selection of vendors wasn’t really the greatest. Which keep in mind this is a local race put on by a community, so it isn’t going to have the draw that a Competitor or RAM Racing event will have for vendors. But I felt like there were only a couple of vendors there that I would actually have liked to visit with, and of those couple, one had already left.

The layout was not very exciting to me. It really only frustrated me and made me feel crowded at a few points. First you walked in a got a race bag from a (not very enthusiastic) volunteer. Then you headed over to the bib pick up. They were all pretty friendly and seemed happy to be there. Then you had to walk through all the vendors in a crowded hallway to get to the stairs, which you had to go up to get your shirt. If you followed the signs you then had to weave through racks of merchandise from a running store to get to the t-shirt table. After you got your shirt, you then had to go down the steps and walk through a few more crowded spots to pickup a sticker, your cowbell, and some extra race information.

*I understand that the point is to get you to see all the booths that vendors have set up, but if I had been in a hurry I would have probably just gotten my bib and left everything else behind because it was a little excessive to have to wander around to several different places to pick things up.*

I also know that they had to change spaces I believe a little last-minute, so I will cut them a little bit of a break.

There were several emails that were sent out, but I still had to visit the website several times to get all the information I needed for the race and packet pickup. I felt like pre-race communications could have been a little more organized.

All in all the expo was decent, for a relatively small, local race. I would rate it a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10. (1=worst 10=best)

Race Morning/Parking/Start

One thing I liked in the pre-race information was the parking info. They did let you know all the available places to park and the place where you shouldn’t park because you would get towed. So that was a plus. And there was plenty of FREE parking within walking distance of the start line. I was able to park on the street and felt plenty safe to leave my car and not have to worry about vandalism.

The start area was clearly marked and had plenty of pace signs up. I never did see any actual pace group leaders, so I don’t know if they actually had any. The race started a few minutes late, but not by much.

The Course

The course started in St. Charles and headed out through the Frenchtown area before turning to the river bottoms. Running through Frenchtown was nice and you only encountered a hill in the first mile. After that the course was fairly flat. View-wise, the course did lend several nice views over the fields, but for the most part it wasn’t very exciting. There were very few houses, and it was mostly fields and any businesses were closed until you reach mile 5, which went through a small pumpkin patch/farm type area known as the high-five zone. There were still some folks there when I went through and they had a band which was nice. If I recall correctly it is the only part of the half-marathon that is not ran on a paved surface (with the except of two bridge crossings).

Miles 7-8 are in the New Town area. This is where there are two bridge crossings. These bridges aren’t paved, although there are concrete sidewalks on both sides. The bridges are a grated metal material, which can seem a little sketchy, if you decide to run across them. Once in New Town, the scenery picks up a bit because there are lots of houses and little shops to see. Think Mayberry/French Quarter/San Antonio River Walk. I was a little disappointed at the lack of crowd support running through this particular area, considering it is residential, but at this is no fault of the race organizers. This was the only part of the course that was “twisty” and it felt a little like you were changing directions every 10 feet (not a reality, but that is what it felt like). This is also where the had a medical station, as well as a Gu station.

Once out of New Town, you continued on through the backside of some residential areas, and entered the only real hill part of the course. Miles 11 & 12 had some incline to them, but they weren’t too bad. These miles also put you out onto a service road, which was a little bland.

Honestly, the big “downhill” section was almost murderous feeling on my legs, especially since it came at the near end of the race. It was a little on the steep side, and definitely required some much-needed control to go down safely. Here is where the half also split from the full marathon and they continued onto the Katy Trail to finish their miles.

You finish up the race going through Frenchtown again, and then making a turn to head back through St. Charles. Shortly before the finish the full marathoners join back up with the half runners and the stretch to the finish is pretty straight. There was a very nice crowd involvement around the finish area.

I would give the course a 9 out 10. It seems simple, and could be an easy PR, but does throw a few challenges your way mentally.

The Finish/Post Race Area

Immediately after the finish, you receive your finisher’s medal and then there were giant tubs with bottled water in them. There were several places to get food, including a food truck, as well as beer and other refreshments. There were places to get massage and post-race stretching as well. I didn’t go through the finisher’s area so I can’t comment too much on it.

 

Overview

All in all I thought this was a pretty excellent race. I thought the cost of the race was pretty decent compared to what you got (I believe early registration was $60). I enjoyed the course even though it totally kicked my ass, and I thought for the most part the volunteers and everyone did a very good job.

A few things of note:

  • Towards the end of the race the final aid station for the half was deserted. It had cups of water and Gatorade set out, but it was also supposed to be a medical station and there were still participants out on the course. This is NOT really excusable in my opinion, because someone could have really needed medical aid, and there was no one there to help them.
  • Several of the course marshalls were teenagers who didn’t seem all that thrilled with being there. I understand it’s a volunteer position, but if you are going to volunteer, you need to keep a positive attitude and actually do what task you’ve been assigned.
  • A ton of the other runners were beyond encouraging. At one point, you pass by the faster runners on their way back from New Town. So many of them were telling me good job and keep it going. It was fantastic, and it helped to show what kind of community the area runners have.

I would rate this race 8 out of 10. I definitely plan on coming back next year and running the half-marathon again!

Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon Race Recap

So Sunday I ran the Mo’ Cowbell Half Marathon. This by far was my worst ever performance at a half-marathon. I will type my Race Review tomorrow.

Saturday I went and picked up my bib and shirt. They did virtual race bags so all my other stuff was online. I came home and set out the outfit I was going to wear. I chose my lululemon Inspire Crops, a lululemon tank top, and a Run Swiftly long sleeve shirt.

Saturday night to Sunday morning I got very little sleep. A certain four-legged someone got into the trash and was waking me up every couple of hours to go outside. Couple that with my nervousness about the race and it made for a very sleepless night.

Sunday my alarm went off at 5:30. I chilled for a bit, then started getting ready and was out the door a little after 6. Without my headphones, house keys, or wallet. Nothing like an epic fail like that to start off your morning! I figured I’d be fine and headed off towards St. Charles.

Once I got to St. Charles and found some parking on Main Street, I put on some Body Glide and headed to the start line. I of course forgot my sunglasses in the car, and was simply too lazy to go back and get them. Plus by the time I remembered I was worried about missing the start of the race.

Finally, it was time for the race to start. It took me about 6 minutes to get across the starting mat, and on my way. I had create a pace calculate based on a 3:40 finish (I’m slow remember?) and knew what pace I needed to be at for the first mile. However, it seemed that my Garmin and Frenchtown did not want to play nicely together, and for whatever reason, I lost satellite connection. So I spent a while trying to figure out what was wrong, and stopped and started my Garmin several times. So I have no mile splits or anything like that to share with you.

Everything went along pretty well, and I managed to maintain a fairly steady pace through the first half of the race. The course was kind of boring for the first half, mostly just being corn and bean fields. I managed the entire first half with no walk breaks. Once we got into New Town, that all changed.

It felt like we were changing directions every 10 feet and that was a little hard on me. I took my first few walk breaks in miles 7 & 8. Once out of New Town, things continued to deteriorate pretty quickly. My Garmin was off, and I couldn’t quite get my head into the race. The sun was out and I didn’t have my sunglasses so I was squinting quite a bit and my feet starting to feel it. Especially the small rocks that were apparently in my shoe. Mile 9 was spent running and walking and 10-12 were strictly walking. I took a salted caramel Gu gel, but didn’t eat much of it and tried some pretty sweet Gatorade (not sweet in a good sense). I finally reached the 13 mile marker and was able to run in to the finish, but that was about it.

I got my medal, a bottle of water, and managed to make my way back to my car.

My official stats are:

  • Finish time 4:10:45
  • Average pace 19:08/mile (16:50 prior to the half way mark)
  • Overall Place 2863/2872
  • Female 1889/1896
  • Females 30-34 356/358

This was definitely my worst race performance by far I think. A fact my worst half-marathon performance. And it was simply a combination of being not quite as prepared as I would have liked to be and let my head get out of the race.

I honestly would have gotten in my car and ditched the race if I would have passed it. I also thought about dropping out a few times. But I stuck through and finished and while I’ve been sore it’s already starting to fade and I am already looking at other races and looking forward to coming back to this course next year!

 

What the What

So yesterday I had typed up this really fabulous post about a bunch of different things and then when I went to post it, WordPress shut me down and it was GONE! Much like all the posts I had scheduled. So yeah, not please. I will get the scheduled posts sorted out, so don’t fear on that end. And now I have to try to cobble together what I vaguely remember posting about yesterday.

Tomorrow I go pick up my stuff for my half-marathon on Sunday (!!!). I remember thinking in July when I started training that it was so far away and now it is here! This will be my first half since the terrible debut of the RNR St. Louis half-marathon a couple years ago. I was going to run it last year but I got hurt in yoga class, so I had to post-pone my entry to this year. I’ve read through the course turn-by-turn and I feel mostly prepared for it. I did some hill training and while the course is largely flat, a miles 11 & 12 there are some hills. I also made a pace band (which I won’t be using as a band, I will probably just scribble the numbers on my hand) so I hope that helps.

I’m nervous and excited.

I’ve also been thinking about what races I want to do for the remainder of the year, and into the next year as well. I will of course be doing a turkey trot on Thanksgiving, but I’m not 100% certain that I will be doing the local one that I’ve done for the past several years. I didn’t particulary care for the course change that they had last year, and I would have to say that it will probably be similar to that this year. And I don’t know that I want to deal with that again. There are a couple that I have my eye on, so I will most definitely be looking into those a bit more as the time gets closer.

I’m also thinking of doing my first 15k. The Hot Chocolate race series is coming back to St. Louis this year and they have medals for the 15k participants this time around. I wouldn’t be opposed to adding it to my race bling collection! The only issue I have that is causing hesitation it that it is in December and the weather last year got a little on the nasty side. So nasty that they cancelled one of the races for that weekend, and cut the 15k course short on the Hot Chocolate run. But hopefully the weather stay decent this winter and doesn’t get the nasty ice crap that was going on last year.

Hopefully next week I can give you a full review and recap of a successful race from Sunday! Wish me luck and keep your fingers crossed for me!